Research Ethics Education in the STEM Disciplines: The Promises and Challenges of a Gaming Approach

Adam Briggle, J. Britt Holbrook, Joseph Oppong, Joesph Hoffmann, Elizabeth K. Larsen, Patrick Pluscht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • Games
  • Pedagogy
  • Research ethics education
  • Responsible conduct of research


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