Back to Home
Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research

According to Kuhn (1996), science has evolved due to paradigm shifts. These paradigm shifts occur over time as repeated research and experimentation based on a widely accepted theory result in failure and lack of evidential support. Given enough negative results, a little known, previously unaccepted theory begins to be acknowledged by the scientific community. Scientists then begin researching with the newly accepted theory until either it tends to be reinforced by evidence or research does not bear out expected effects. If the later, then a new theory takes over and the process keeps repeating and science evolves.

Kuhn’s paradigm shift theory tends to be supported when one considers how much more quickly science evolves today than in the past. Communication of a theory and research results took much longer in the days before the printing press. Today, with news at everyone’s fingertips, theories and research are virtually communicated instantly.

However, there are still practices that can slow down such evolution. Those practices that slow down the process of new developments involve research misconduct. Research misconduct can involve reporting false or fabricated results and plagiarism. It’s pretty obvious how false or fabricated results can impede scientific progress. However, many cannot see how plagiarism would slow scientific progress.

Plagiarism can slow progress in several ways. If caught, the researcher who plagiarizes could be sued by the scientist with the original idea. Court battles can delay the work of said scientists. Additionally, what is plagiarized may be incorrect. As such, the plagiarizer helps support a theory that should not be supported and the scientific evolution is once again hindered.

At this point, those of you graduate students reading this item may ask what any of this has to do with you. After all, you are in business, health, or technology and do not consider yourself a scientist. However, you are a researcher in these areas. As such, your research can speed- up change in intellectual knowledge in business, health, or technology. Thus, you do have a responsibility to conduct your research ethically. It is important for you to avoid even self-plagiarism.

At this point, those of you graduate students reading this item may ask what any of this has to do with you. After all, you are in business, health, or technology and do not consider yourself a scientist. However, you are a researcher in these areas. As such, your research can speed- up change in intellectual knowledge in business, health, or technology. Thus, you do have a responsibility to conduct your research ethically. It is important for you to avoid even self-plagiarism.

Finally, if research is intended to accelerate progress for all, research needs to be conducted so that no one is physically or psychologically harmed. Even what seems to be a harmless survey could possibly cause harm to someone if confidentiality is violated. It is important, then, that as a graduate student doing research you inform yourself regarding all types of plagiarism and exploitation. Use the resources provided on the links to this website and talk with a faculty member. Help accelerate the creation of knowledge, don’t slow it down.

Kuhn, T.S. (1996). The Structure of Scientific Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.