Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 237–250 | Cite as

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
Original Paper


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 .


Responsible conduct of research Research ethics education Games Pedagogy 



This study was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1252692, “EAGER: Prototyping a Virtue Ethics Game” and Grant No. 1338739 “Graduate Virtue Ethics Education in Science and Engineering.” Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Briggle
    • 1
  • J. Britt Holbrook
    • 2
  • Joseph Oppong
    • 3
  • Joesph Hoffmann
    • 4
  • Elizabeth K. Larsen
    • 4
  • Patrick Pluscht
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Toulouse Graduate SchoolUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment, and RedesignUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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