Modified Dilemma Game

From The Embassy of Good Science

Modified Dilemma Game

Instructions for:TraineeTrainer
Goal
This exercise supports participants in identifying research integrity (RI) principles, virtues and misconduct in a case and provides a framework to consider, choose and defend alternative courses of action regarding realistic dilemmas in research integrity.
Requirements

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

Moreover, you need to be familiar with:

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

b) The concept of norm;

c) The concept of moral dilemma;

d) Section 1 of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

In order to fruitfully take part in this exercise 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)
2
Participants
20
Part of Icon-virt2ue 2.svgVIRT2UE

What is this about?

The Rotterdam Dilemma Game (RDG) is a card game composed of dilemmas concerning a variety of research integrity (RI) issues. As the dilemmas are based on real cases, they are recognizable and relevant to those who take part in research activities. The game was developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam for the use of  researchers, coordinators, supervisors, administrators, reviewers, and all of those who are involved in research at different levels. The game covers 75 cases, each involving a short description of a dilemma, which are grouped in three main categories: researcher position, research strategy and research phase. Players can pick a case which corresponds to the issue they would like to discuss.

The game may be used as an exercise for exchanging experiences, opinions, perspectives and justifications. It could also be used to develop a shared understanding of formally defined principles and the moral content of our actions, as well as of roles of values and norms in decision-making. The original game kit developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam was adapted in the context of VIRT2UE project. The aim of this modification is to raise awareness about virtues and values in research processes and to bring attention to the principles adopted by the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ECoC). Concordantly, the modified RDG has several alterations, such as focusing on a dialogical approach while exchanging justifications for a moral choice and associating them with the virtues and values presented in the ECoC.   

Why is this important?

Reflecting on a variety of moral dilemmas with others in a fun way makes researchers gain awareness about the moral content of their day-to-day decisions and actions. That might lead them to consider and understand other stakeholders’ positions and justifications as well as their own in the light of RI values and ECoC principles when faced a specific moral dilemma.

Practical Tips

Playing the game

1.    The first participant reads the dilemma out loud.

2.    Each participant chooses one of the four alternative courses of action, which best reflects his/her preference.

3.    Each participant picks an option and places the relevant option card face down on the table. (Putting the option cards face down ensures participants make an independent choice first.)

4.    Depending on the size of the group, in a round each participant moves to the corner of the room that represents her/his each choice or turns the option card over and explains her/his preferred course of action.

5.    The participants have a dialogue on individual choices and avoid socially desirable answer.

6. Before the final decision the group seeks consensus. At this stage participants are allowed to propose alternative courses of action.

7. The participants fill in the tables (see below) in order to reflect on the principles and virtues articulated in ECoC in the context of the selected dilemma.

Table 1: Which virtues from ECoC can you identify in each dilemma?

VIRTUES DILEMMA NO _____
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources. 
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.
Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts

Table 2. What are the main research misconducts that you can identify in this dilemma?

RESEARCH MISCONDUCT DILEMMA Nº _____
Fabrication is making up results and recording them as if they were real.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment or processes or changing, omitting or suppressing data or results without justification.
Plagiarism is using other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs.
Manipulating authorship or denigrating the role of other researchers in publications.
Accusing a researcher of misconduct or other violations in a malicious way.
Misrepresenting research achievements.
Exaggerating the importance and practical applicability of findings.
Re-publishing substantive parts of one’s own earlier publications, including translations, without duly acknowledging or citing the original (‘self-plagiarism’).
Citing selectively to enhance own findings or to please editors, reviewers or colleagues.
Withholding research results.
Allowing funders/sponsors to jeopardise independence in the research process or reporting of results so as to introduce or promulgate bias.
Expanding unnecessarily the bibliography of a study.
Delaying or inappropriately hampering the work of other researchers.
Misusing seniority to encourage violations of research integrity.
Ignoring putative violations of research integrity by others or covering up inappropriate responses to misconduct or other violations by institutions.
Establishing or supporting journals that undermine the quality control of research (‘predatory journals’).

Table 3. What are the relevant virtues that the researcher must have in order to take the decision chosen by the group?

VIRTUES DILEMMA Nº _____
Resoluteness
Accountability
Availability
Competency
Patience
Perseverance
Reliability
Sincerity
Creativity
Honesty
Objectivity
Humility
Punctuality
Trustworthiness/truthfulness
Selflessness
Reflexivity
Clarity of purpose
Collaborative spirit
Fairness
Loyalty
Moderation
Positivity
Respectfulness
1
Introduction and confidentiality

At the beginning of the session you will be informed about the background, the aim and the description of the game. Moreover, you will be asked to keep the information shared during the game confidential.

2
Forming groups

You will be assigned to a group by the trainer who will divide participants into groups of four. The game can also be played plenary. If your trainer prefers to do so he/she will instruct you on how to proceed.

3
Playing the game

The trainer will explain you how the game is played and will ask you to download the dilemma game app.

4
Dialogue about the individual choices

You will be invited to the plenary. The trainer will ask you to reflect on your individual choices and engage in a dialogue with other participants.

5
Filling out the tables

You and your group will be asked fill out the tables delivered at the beginning of the session and to identify the issues of ECoC that are relevant to the dilemma at stake (Please see Tables 1, 2 and 3 – Practical Tips).

6
Short presentation of the group discussions

You, as a group, will be asked to present a brief summary of what has just been discussed in your group. You may assign a member as a spokesman to shortly present the results of your discussion.

7
Plenary debriefs

After the presentation, you may be invited to actively listen to what others have to say and share their views openly. While playing the game with several small groups, a plenary debrief may be useful to allow room for you to ask questions to each other and identify dilemmas, justifications for choices, and even more general themes.

8
Conclusions

You will be asked to reflect on the process, and to evaluate if the learning objectives were met. You will be invited to have a brief dialogue on what you might have just learned as a group. You may be asked to seek answers to questions such as the following: 

-      Was it easy or difficult to identify the relevant principles and virtues in the chosen dilemma?

-      Did this exercise help you with identifying and connecting to formally defined principles (ECoC)?

-      Did most of the players agree or disagree with the final choice?

-      What were the main points of contention?

-      How come people disagreed (e.g. differences in experience, training, background, values, norms…)?

-      Was any alternative option proposed?

-      Did anybody change her/his mind as a result of the discussion?

-      What is needed in order to do the moral good in your work setting? What were the most convincing arguments used in the discussion?

-      On which areas do you feel there is insufficient consensus?

-      How to best address such future dilemmas in your daily work?

Remarks

List of contributors:

Mustafa Volkan Kavas, Joana Araújo, Ana Sofia Carvalho, Giulia Inguaggiato and Margreet Stolper

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?

Rotterdam Dilemma Game (RDG) is a card game kit developed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam which includes 75 shortly described dilemmas touching upon various research integrity related issues. The game targets a diverse population of researchers and is designed to foster conversations about moral dilemmas that researchers might face during their career. RDG can be used for various purposes. For example, it can be used as education tool in a course setting with a group of young researches to increase awareness of research integrity (RI) issues or it can be played by team members working at the same lab or institution to gain insight in each other’s perspectives on RI dilemmas.

The modified RDG has been developed within the scope of the VIRT2UE project to provide a focus on the virtues and values which are important for researchers in day-to-day activities and to bring attention to the principles and content of the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ECoC).

Why is this important?

Reflecting on a variety of moral dilemmas in a fun way makes researchers gain awareness about the moral content of their day-to-day actions and decisions. This might lead them to consider other stakeholders’ positions and justifications as well as their own, when faced with day to day moral dilemma. Moreover, the modified version of the RDG helps participants to reflect on their preferred course of action in light of the participles and practices presented in the ECoC.

Practical Tips

Selection of the format: playing the game in small groups or plenary

The exercise is suitable to be used both in bigger groups or with several small groups. Bear in mind that it is usually fun to play a game in bigger groups. If you would like to use the game to build connections among participants that might be of a preference. Moreover, please consider whether to form homogeneous or heterogeneous groups before the actual training. The former would rule out communication problems arising from different cultural backgrounds, whereas the latter might create room for diverse viewpoints.

If you prefer to work with one big group and are experiencing the exercise face to face, consider using the corners of the room where you play the game representing the four choices of action (A, B, C and D). Then you can ask everybody to stand up and position themselves at the corner representing the option they have selected. In that case, as a trainer you need to be active in facilitating the group discussion. Using corners allows people to use their own bodies which might open up space for expressing emotions.

On the contrary, if you prefer to work with smaller groups please make sure that you assign the same dilemmas to all the groups. This will allow to discuss the results of each group plenary.

Paying the game

1.    The first participant reads the dilemma out loud.

2.    Each participant chooses one of the four alternative courses of action, which best reflects his/her preference.

3.    Each participant picks an option and places the relevant option card face down on the table. (Putting the option cards face down ensures participants make an independent choice first.)

4.    Depending on the size of the group, in a round each participant moves to the corner of the room that represents her/his each choice or turns the option card over and explains her/his preferred course of action.

5.    The participants have a dialogue on individual choices and avoid socially desirable answer.

6. Before the final decision the group seeks consensus. At this stage participants are allowed to propose alternative courses of action.

7. The participants fill in the tables (see below) in order to reflect on the principles and virtues articulated in ECoC in the context of the selected dilemma.

Table 1: Which virtues from ECoC can you identify in each dilemma?

VIRTUES DILEMMA Nº _____
Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources. 
Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way.
Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.
Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts

Table 2. What are the main research misconducts that you can identify in this dilemma?

RESEARCH MISCONDUCT DILEMMA Nº _____
Fabrication is making up results and recording them as if they were real.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment or processes or changing, omitting or suppressing data or results without justification.
Plagiarism is using other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs.
Manipulating authorship or denigrating the role of other researchers in publications.
Accusing a researcher of misconduct or other violations in a malicious way.
Misrepresenting research achievements.
Exaggerating the importance and practical applicability of findings.
Re-publishing substantive parts of one’s own earlier publications, including translations, without duly acknowledging or citing the original (‘self-plagiarism’).
Citing selectively to enhance own findings or to please editors, reviewers or colleagues.
Withholding research results.
Allowing funders/sponsors to jeopardise independence in the research process or reporting of results so as to introduce or promulgate bias.
Expanding unnecessarily the bibliography of a study.
Delaying or inappropriately hampering the work of other researchers.
Misusing seniority to encourage violations of research integrity.
Ignoring putative violations of research integrity by others or covering up inappropriate responses to misconduct or other violations by institutions.
Establishing or supporting journals that undermine the quality control of research (‘predatory journals’).
Table 3. What are the relevant virtues that the researcher must have in order to take the decision chosen by the group?
1
Preparation

Read the instructions. Please note that there are some differences between the original game kit and the modified RDG in terms of aims and applications. In the following steps the procedures for the use of the modified version are explained. This version requires participants not merely to play the game, but at the same time to reflect on their justifications, analyze their and others’ discussion processes, and work together to relate the case at hand with the elements of the ECoC and RI virtues. Thus, this version takes longer, and is more demanding.

Before the session:

- Print the option cards.

- Print of prepare a PPT presentation of the dilemma that will be used.

- Print the tables

2
Select the cases

Examine the cases in the original game kit and familiarize yourself with the classification criteria.[1]   Select the dilemmas you want to discuss. Please note that cases are grouped per topic. If the training is specifically aimed to reflect on issues such as research processes, roles of different parties or publication ethics, the trainer might pick cases which correspond to those topics. Besides, while selecting the cases, take the attributes of the trainee group into account as well. For example, if you are going to play the game with a group of PhD students, then you should pick the cases suitable for them.

Feel free to modify or adapt a case to make it more familiar to the audience.

3
Select a format for the case

The exercises is suitable to be used both in bigger groups or with several small groups. If you aim for more reflection in your training, go for small groups. If you would like to create awareness in participants first, then facilitate the exercise with bigger groups. Please make sure to decide on this beforehand (see Practical Tips for more instructions).

4
Introduction – 5 min

Introduce yourself. Briefly inform participants about the background, the aim, and the description of the game. Emphasize that the information shared during the exercise will be kept confidential. You can consider asking participants to sign a confidentiality agreement.

5
Forming groups – 5 min

Divide participants into groups of four. Keep in mind that the game can also be played plenary if this fits the groups’ aims (please see Practical Tips).

6
Explaining the rules and letting participants play the game – 15 min

Explain how the game is played by mentioning the rules, the materials to be used, and steps to be followed (See Practical Tips).

Deliver the options cards and tables. Each individual player receives four option cards (A, B, C and D). Deliver the printed dilemma sheet or project the PPT page that has it on the screen/wall. (Alternatively, you may ask participants to download the Dilemma Game app beforehand. In that case, you should study app's user instructions.) The participants of each group decide who will go first.

Emphasize that participants can ask technical questions to you any time, and let participants know how much time they will have to discuss the dilemma(s).

7
Dialogue about the individual choices - 10 min

Invite participants to the plenary and encourage them to reflect on their individual choices and engage in a conversation with each other using the dialogical attitude. Provide a framework to create awareness of the socially desirable answer. You can support this by introducing the following questions:

a. What would you do? Why?

b.    What would you ideally do? Why?

8
Filling out the tables – 15 min

Ask participants to work in groups to fill out the tables. You may suggest groups to assign a member as a spokesman to shortly present their discussions in the next step.

9
Plenary debriefs – 15 min

Ask a brief summary of what has just been discussed in the group(s). A plenary debrief may be useful to allow room for questions justifications or more general themes. Invite participants to actively listen to what others have to say and share their views openly.  

10
Conclusion - 15 min

Ask the group to reflect on the process, and to evaluate if the learning objectives were met. Foster a brief dialogue on what might have just been learned as a group.

In this step the facilitator may ask participants questions such as:

-      Was it easy or difficult to identify the relevant principles and virtues in the chosen dilemma?

-      Did this exercise help you with identifying and connecting to formally defined principles (ECoC)?

-      Did most of the players agree or disagree with the final choice?

-      What were the main points of contention?

-      How come people disagreed (e.g. differences in experience, training, background, values, norms…)?

-      What were the other options?

-      Was any alternative option proposed?

-      Did anybody change her/his mind as a result of the discussion?

-      Why would you NOT do the moral ideal?

-      What is needed in order to do the moral good in your work setting? What were the most convincing arguments used in the discussion?

-      On which areas do you feel there is insufficient consensus?

-      How to best address such future dilemmas in your daily work?

- How to achieve a more commonly shared set of values and principles?

11
Evaluation

Ask participants to shortly evaluate the session and your facilitation. In this step you may ask participants questions such as:

-      Were the instructions clear enough?

-      Do you think that the case was appropriate?

-      Would you have any suggestions to do the session differently?

-      What do you think the strong aspects of this session are?

Are there any points to improve?

Remarks

List of contributors:

Mustafa Volkan Kavas, Joana Araújo, Ana Sofia Carvalho, Giulia Inguaggiato and Margreet Stolper

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.

Other information