Research Ethics Education in the STEM Disciplines: The Promises and Challenges of a Gaming Approach
Holbrook, J. Britt
Larsen, Elizabeth K.
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While education in ethics and the responsible conduct of research (RCR) is widely acknowledged as an essential component of graduate education, particularly in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math), little consensus exists on how best to accomplish this goal. Recent years have witnessed a turn toward the use of games in this context. Drawing from two NSF-funded grants (one completed and one on-going), this paper takes a critical look at the use of games in ethics and RCR education. It does so by: (a) setting the development of research and engineering ethics games in wider historical and theoretical contexts, which highlights their promise to solve important pedagogical problems; (b) reporting on some initial results from our own efforts to develop a game; and (c) reflecting on the challenges that arise in using games for ethics education. In our discussion of the challenges, we draw out lessons to improve this nascent approach to ethics education in the STEM disciplines .