Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 343–366 | Cite as

Making Choices: Ethical Decisions in a Global Context

  • Sheila Bonde
  • Clyde BriantEmail author
  • Paul Firenze
  • Julianne Hanavan
  • Amy Huang
  • Min Li
  • N. C. Narayanan
  • D. Parthasarathy
  • Hongqin Zhao
Original Paper


The changing milieu of research—increasingly global, interdisciplinary and collaborative—prompts greater emphasis on cultural context and upon partnership with international scholars and diverse community groups. Ethics training, however, tends to ignore the cross-cultural challenges of making ethical choices. This paper confronts those challenges by presenting a new curricular model developed by an international team. It examines ethics across a very broad range of situations, using case studies and employing the perspectives of social science, humanities and the sciences. The course has been developed and taught in a highly collaborative way, involving researchers and students at Zhejiang University, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Brown University. The article presents the curricular modules of the course, learning outcomes, an assessment framework developed for the project, and a discussion of evaluation findings.


Ethics training Research ethics Cultural relativity Ethics across the curriculum Assessment Responsible conduct of research 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation. Our work was funded through the EESE program (Ethics Education in Science and Engineering), Proposal Number 0933509.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Bonde
    • 1
  • Clyde Briant
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul Firenze
    • 3
  • Julianne Hanavan
    • 4
  • Amy Huang
    • 1
  • Min Li
    • 5
  • N. C. Narayanan
    • 6
  • D. Parthasarathy
    • 7
  • Hongqin Zhao
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of History of Art and ArchitectureBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.School of EngineeringBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Humanities and Social SciencesWentworth Institute of TechnologyBostonUSA
  4. 4.Research Ethics and Education Policy, Office of the Vice President for ResearchBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  5. 5.Department of LinguisticsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  6. 6.Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural AreasIndian Institute of TechnologyBombayIndia
  7. 7.Department of Humanities and Social ScienceIndian Institute of TechnologyBombayIndia
  8. 8.School of International StudiesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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