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Reflection Course: Scientific Conduct


Admission requirements

The student has to have practical research experience before the course.


Progress in scientific knowledge is based on results of research which are objective and unambiguous. This sounds obvious, but reality is much more complicated. Researchers, much the same as all other human beings, have to make difficult decisions all the time about their research methodologies, the treatment of data, the interpretation of data, the conclusions drawn as related to a hypothesis, the relevance of the results, authorship and publication strategies. This involves a continuous process of judgements, which may be of non-neutral value and may include prejudice and wishful thinking. In exceptional cases scientific misconduct may be the result and this has occasionally drawn major negative public attention to the research process. Awareness of subjectivity and temptations in scientific research is a first step in prevention and leads to written and unwritten rules of good scientific conduct.

Course objectives

The student:

  • will become aware of subjective judgements in scientific research based on several research case histories.

  • will be able to develop and define rules of good scientific conduct.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and work groups.

Assessment method

Assessment of presentation and participation during the discussions, as well as of two reports that the student has to write.

Reading list

Will be distributed and or assigned by the teachers during the course.