Ethical Conduct

The Graduate School in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Research has developed the Purdue University Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program. The purpose of this program is to inculcate, promote and sustain an environment of research integrity in all graduate students, staff and faculty at Purdue University. A summary of these issues is provided in the Graduate School Manual, Section VIII.

The Graduate School recommends a multi-pronged approach to promote Responsible Conduct of Research:

  • Attending workshops
  • Online training/tutorial modules
  • Meeting departmental or college expectations in Responsible Conduct of Research

There are two elements of RCR central to the School of Engineering Education:

  • Standards of ethical and academic conduct
  • Certification necessary for conducting research involving human subjects.

Standards of Ethical and Academic Conduct

The School of Engineering Education has, as its primary goals, the education and development of its students, faculty and staff, the discovery of new knowledge, and service to the university, state, and nation. These goals can only be attained when the members of the ENE community adhere to a high standard of ethical and academic conduct. Any activity which might unfairly improve a student's score on homework, quizzes, examinations or projects, or which might jeopardize the integrity of research programs or results, will be considered dishonest, and will not be tolerated. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the faculty may fail you on the assignment, award a failing grade for the course and/or refer the case to the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS). Such acts could result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

A few examples of dishonest behavior are:

  • Submitting homework that is not your own work;
  • Sharing results or notes during exams;
  • Bringing unauthorized notes, in hard copy or electronic form, into an examination;
  • Continuing work on your examination after the exam proctors has called for Papers;
  • Requesting a regrade on an exam or homework problem that has been altered;
  • Representing the ideas, results or written work of someone else as your own;
  • Misrepresenting research procedures or results.

Please note: The above is not a complete listing. Please consult your instructor or your advisor if you have any questions or concerns about ethical behavior. Student conduct also is addressed in detail in the “University Regulations” book published by Purdue University.

 

Conducting Research Involving Human Subjects - RCR Certification

All graduate students are required to complete the RCR online module (link) during the first semester of study at Purdue. In Engineering Education, students learn about and obtain RCR certification in the Seminar in Engineering Education and Engineering Education Inquiry courses.

Students must be certified for two RCR Courses:

  • Social, Education, Behavioral Research Focus
  • RCR for Engineers

Students may need to repeat their certification to keep it current, particularly when they are engaged in conducting research on human subjects. Copies of student’s certification must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator, who will place the copy in the student’s folder.

 

RCR Online Module Instructions

To access and complete the module:

  1. Go to the CITI website
  2. Click on "New Users Register Here"
  3. Under "Participating Institutions" use the drop-down menu to select Purdue University  -- This is really important.
  4. Fill out the rest of the registration page.
  5. After providing the required registration information, you will get a curriculum page.  At the top it says "Select Curriculum - Purdue University". Then you will see two sections: Question 1 and Question 2
    • Question 1 is about Human Subjects Research Training.  Check the box.
    • Question 2 is about RCR (responsible conduct of research).  Check the box for “Engineering”.
  6. Complete the module.  It will probably take 3-4 hours total.  You can do it in small chunks, leaving and re-entering the module as many times as you like to finish it.
  7. Print out the certificate of completion (or make an electronic copy).  You should keep a copy for your records and submit a copy to the ENE graduate office as evidence that the module has been completed.