Self declaration approach, a reflection on the varieties of goodness in research

From The Embassy of Good Science

Self declaration approach, a reflection on the varieties of goodness in research

Instructions for:TraineeTrainer
Goal
This exercise fosters reflection on the concept of goodness and how it applies in the context of research.
Requirements

You need to have read the exercise's instructions before experiencing the exercise.

Moreover, you need to be acquainted with:

1) The concept of virtue and its importance for RI;

2) The content of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

You need to have a background in research (i.e. be employed as researchers) or be a trainer/educator/teacher who has had experience in research in the past.
Duration (hours)
1
Participants
20
Part of Icon-virt2ue 2.svgVIRT2UE

What is this about?

The Self-Declaration Approach (SDA) is an exercise designed to stimulate reflection on research integrity in a classroom setting which uses the question of “what is goodness and how may it be categorized” as a springboard. It makes use of participants’ responses specifically by gathering the participants’ thoughts and intuitions on goodness. For this purpose, a tool is used, the self-declaration sheet. This sheet gathers the trainees’ thoughts on the definition of goodness in research and on personal experiences on the topic.

Why is this important?

The study of research integrity can quickly become a rote process without knowing what goodness in research consists in. Knowing what goodness is and what a good research is are good foundations for the study of research integrity. This reflection brings focus on the very reason why we uphold integrity in research.

Practical Tips

You can use the following questions to stimulate reflection in subgroups:

1.   Share with the group your inputs in the self-declaration sheets on the types of goodness. Explain why you think your example exemplifies a certain type of goodness. Allow your group mates to ask questions.

2.   For each typology of goodness, discuss with your group what can happen if a type of goodness is not present.

3.   Are there varieties of goodness that are less relevant for research integrity?

4.   Are virtues necessary to achieve each typology of goodness?
1
Preparation

A few weeks before the session, you will be asked by your trainer to prepare for the session. For this you will need to  fill out the self-declaration sheet (which will be sent to you by your trainer) and send it to the trainer at least a week before the training session. The self-declaration sheet allows you to reflect on your intuitions on goodness and will be used by the trainer to include your intuitions in the discussion during the session.

2
Experiencing the exercise

During the session, you are guided by a trainer who facilitates a group reflection about the concept of goodness. For this purpose, you will:

  1. Learn about the varieties of goodness in research;
  2. Reflect on your self declaration sheet in small groups (please look at practical tips for a list of questions you can use to structure your reflection);
  3. Reflect on how the different typologies of goodness may be categorized;
  4. Reflect on the content of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ECoC) by identifying how the typologies of goodness are exemplified in the code.

The session will be based on the input you and the other participants gave in the self-reflection sheet you have filled in.

For an overview of the steps in this exercise please look at the instructions for trainers.

Remarks

List of contributors:

Jan Helge Solbakk, Rosemarie Bernabe, Panagiotis Kavouras, Signe Mezinska, Volkan Kavas, Franca Marino.

This training has been developed by the VIRT2UE project, which has received funding form the European Union’s H2020 research programme under grant agreement N 741782.

What is this about?

The exercise is designed to stimulate reflection on research integrity in a classroom setting by using the question “what is goodness and how may it be categorized” as a springboard. The focus of the exercise is to discuss the typologies of goodness and to reflect on the concept of goodness in research. This exercise is inspired by a broader and flexible approach, The Self-Declaration Approach (SDA)[1], which makes use of participants’ responses to a  self-declaration sheets to structure reflection on a specific research integrity (RI) topic. Including the participants’ intuitions in the discussion is the hallmark of this approach. This format is flexible in terms of its applicability and adaptability to different RI topics and different audiences.

  1. Solbakk, JH. (2015). What is it to do good medical ethics? One the concepts of “good” and “goodness” in medical ethics. J Med Ethics (41): 12-16

Why is this important?

The study of research integrity in research can quickly become a rote process without knowing what goodness in research consists in. This exercise is meant to aid reflection on the basics of what we mean by a “good research” anyway.  
1
Distribute assignments

A few weeks before the session, you get in contact with the participants in the session and ask them to prepare by filling out the self-declaration sheet.

Set a deadline for the assignment and ask participants to send you their self-declaration sheet at least one week before the session.

The self-declaration sheet allows participants to reflect on the typologies of goodness from their standpoint. This also provides you with content for discussion during the session.

When distributing the assignments be sure to mention that participants should not forget to bring a copy (either print or electronic) of their filled-out self-declaration sheets to the session and to be ready to discuss their responses with the rest of the group.


2
Protect confidentiality

Remind participants that responses provided in the self declaration sheet will be used for, and only for, class purposes, and that they should only share information that they are comfortable sharing with the class and that would not necessitate mandatory reporting. It is strongly recommended to ask participants to sign a confidentiality agreement.

3
Prepare for the session

Collect the sheets in due time and familiarize yourself with the responses given by participants. Participant’s input will be useful the content of the session. Prepare a Powerpoint presentation to facilitate the reflection during the session.

4
Introduce the concept of goodness in research

Give a short presentation of the varieties of goodness with a specific focus on goodness in research.

5
Foster reflection in subgroups

Divide participants into groups of 3 to 5 and ask them to discuss their inputs in their self-declaration sheets and to relate their inputs to virtues and research integrity .

Provide trainees with the following lists of questions which they can use to stimulate reflection:

1.   Share with the group your inputs in the self-declaration sheets on the types of goodness. Explain why you think your example exemplifies a certain type of goodness. Allow your group mates to ask questions.

2.   For each typology of goodness, discuss with your group what can happen if a type of goodness is not present.

3.   Are there varieties of goodness that are less relevant for research integrity?

4.   Are virtues necessary to achieve each typology of goodness?

Give the trainees 20 to 30 minutes to discuss and to decide among themselves who should be the rapporteur.

6
Discuss groups' results and close the session

After reflecting on the self-declaration sheet in small groups, invite participants to go back to the plenary session and ask them to  report on their responses to the questions. Note that during the reporting they don’t have to report on each example. Rather, ask them if there were difficulties in providing examples and if there were disagreements. Conclude the session by summarizing the group findings and by going through sections of the European Code Of Conduct For Research Integrity (ECoC) that exemplify the typologies of goodness.

Remarks

List of contributors:

Jan Helge Solbakk, Rosemarie Bernabe, Panagiotis Kavouras, Signe Mezinska, Volkan Kavas, Franca Marino.

This training has been developed by the VIRT2UE project, which has received funding form the European Union’s H2020 research programme under grant agreement N 741782.

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