School of Social Work Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Plan for Doctoral Students

Angie Kennedy, PhD Program Director

October, 2016

Before they engage in any research projects, doctoral students must obtain training related to the ethical conduct of research via the CITI modules available through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) website. These CITI modules offer foundational information on such topics as the informed consent process, working with vulnerable populations, and the history of the protection of human subjects. Recently, the Graduate School at MSU has emphasized that doctoral students’ education and training should seek to go beyond foundational information related to the responsible conduct of research: The goal is that faculty and students should be having ongoing dialogue about these issues, rather than students completing the CITI modules independently with no opportunity to discuss the issues raised by the modules, nor other issues that might arise as the students engage in research at MSU.

Units are now expected to develop a formalized plan for facilitating doctoral students’ training and knowledge-building in areas such as the ethical conduct of research, including the ethical management and storage of data; negotiating shared authorship of publications; and plagiarism/self-plagiarism. As of September, 2016, students are expected to complete four required CITI modules their first year, and three additional CITI modules their second year. During their third and subsequent years, students are expected to obtain at least three hours of RCR refresher training. Finally, upon graduation, students are expected to have at least six hours of discussion-based RCR training (e.g., RCR dialogue in courses, at SSW Brown Bags). What follows is a listing of the RCR opportunities available to PhD students, year-by-year; see the table, below, for further information about the requirements.

Note: Beyond these formalized opportunities for engaging in dialogue about the responsible conduct of research, students are encouraged to participate in the RCR workshops and trainings sponsored by the Graduate College and available throughout the year; students should plan to sign up quickly as they tend to fill up fast. Additionally, students are likewise encouraged to engage in ongoing discussion of these issues, as they meet and work with their advisor, guidance committee chair and members, and graduate assistantship supervisor (as applicable).

1st year: Fall

  • Required CITI modules via the IRB website
  • Introduction to these issues at the all-doc student orientation meeting
  • Doctoral proseminar coverage, including introduction to research ethics, working with your advisor, authorship issues, select Epigeum modules (approximately 3 hours of content)

1st year: Spring

  • Continuation of required CITI modules (required to have 4 in first year)
  • Brown Bag on topic related to the responsible conduct of research (1 hour)
  • End-of-year meeting with advisor, including discussion of RCR content
  • Methods class content, including research ethics and challenges for both quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g., power differences between researcher and participant, techniques to empower participants while retaining rigorous methods, and specific content on culturally competent and ethical research practices with oppressed and vulnerable minority groups, such as women, people of color, GLBT, and people living in poverty)

2nd year: Fall

  • Required CITI modules via the IRB website
  • Introduction to these issues at the all-doc student orientation meeting

2nd year: Spring

  • Continuation of required CITI modules (required to have 3 in second year)
  • Research sequence class I coverage of ethics of sampling, ethics of survey research including online surveys, ethics related to the IRB process
  • Brown Bag on topic related to the responsible conduct of research (1 hour)
  • End-of-year meeting with advisor, including discussion of RCR content
  • Evaluation class content, including ethical challenges related to conducting evaluation research (e.g., reconciling different priorities and negotiating the politics of the setting)

3rd year: Fall

  • Refresher training, including CITI modules you haven’t taken yet
  • Introduction to these issues at the all-doc student orientation meeting
  • Research sequence class II coverage of the ethics of authorship and publishing, data analysis-related ethics

3rd year: Spring

  • Continuation of refresher training, including CITI modules you haven’t taken yet
  • Brown Bag on topic related to the responsible conduct of research (1 hour)
  • End-of-year meeting with advisor, including discussion of RCR content

New RCR Requirements, as of October, 2016

Year 1Year 2Year 3 Forward
4 CITI Modules(https://ora.msu.edu/CITI-RCR-registration):
  • Introduction to the RCR
  • Authorship
  • Plagiarism
  • Research Misconduct
3 Additional CITI Modules from this list
  • Collaborative Research
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Data Management
  • Financial Responsibility
  • Mentoring
  • Peer Review
  • Human Protection/IRB Certification (http://Train.ORA.msu.edu)
  • Rigor and Reproducibility course (in development)
3 hours of Refresher Training, each year:
Tracked How?
  • Automatically via SABA, the system that tracks CITI module completion, then supposed to be shared with department (you should also keep track and obtain proof, which you will submit to AK)
Tracked How?
  • Automatically via SABA, the system that tracks CITI module completion, then supposed to be shared with department (you should also keep track and obtain proof, which you will submit to AK)
Tracked How?
  • CITI modules are automatically tracked via SABA
  • RCR workshops and Epigeum courses tracked by MSU (you should also keep track and obtain proof)
  • Discussion-based training tracked by you, then submitted to AK
Entered into GradPlan/GradInfo?
  • Yes, entered by grad secretary as initial training, beginning spring 2017
Entered into GradPlan/GradInfo?
  • Yes, entered by grad secretary as initial training, beginning spring 2017
Entered into GradPlan/GradInfo?
  • Yes, entered by grad secretary as initial training, beginning spring 2017

Note: You must have completed at least 6 hours of discussion-based RCR training by the time you graduate, which will be tracked by the grad secretary in GradInfo

Note: You should adopt these new RCR requirements based on what year you are in now (e.g., first-year students should start with Year 1 reqs, fourth-year students should start with Year 3 Forward reqs)