Developing a Framework for Assessing Responsible Conduct of Research Education Programs
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Education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) in the United States has evolved over the past decade from targeting trainees to including educational efforts aimed at faculty and staff. In addition RCR education has become more focused as federal agencies have moved to recommend specific content and to mandate education in certain areas. RCR education has therefore become a research-compliance issue necessitating the development of policies and the commitment of resources to develop or expand systems for educating faculty and staff and for assuring compliance. These changes implied the need to develop a program evaluation model that could be applied to institutional RCR education programs, which were expected to differ from traditional academic credit-bearing courses targeting trainees. Information gleaned from the examination of corporate compliance models was analyzed in order to create a program evaluation module that could be used to document and assess educational programs focused on teaching RCR. A programmed series of questions for each of the nine RCR content areas identified by the United States Office of Research Integrity was created based on a performance-monitoring evaluation model. The questions focus on educational goals, resources provided to support the educational efforts, educational content, content delivery, educational outcomes, compliance requirements and feedback. Answers collected in response to the questions could be used to both document and continually improve the quality of RCR educational programs through on-going formative assessment and feedback.