Professional Decision-Making in Research (PDR)


This assessment measure is a 16-item vignette based measure of decision making in research contexts. The test examines the decision-making strategies professionals use when confronted with challenging research issues. It was developed by the Bioethics Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. The test comes in two parallel forms so it can be used for both pre and post-testing.


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Description: The Professional Decision-Making in Research (PDR) is a validated measure that explores the ability of researchers to use decision-making strategies when handling complex professional decisions in a research context. Based on the Ethical Decision-making Measure, the PDR presents respondents with a series of sixteen vignettes describing challenging professional situations and assesses whether they endorse response options that employ (or discount) several strategies, including seeking help, managing emotions, anticipating consequences, and testing assumptions. The test also looks explicitly at how respondents respond to U.S. research norms and regulations that set the standard for responsible conduct of research. It utilizes simple sentence structures to make the test more applicable to researchers for whom English might not be their native language. 

What it Measures: The PDR measures an individual's ability to utilize ethical decision-making strategies in the research context. It can be used as a pre-post assessment of educational interventions for researchers or can be used to study the integrity of research. 

Format: This assessment tool is usually delivered as a pre and post-test. It consists of a series of sixteen research scenarios followed by multiple-choice questions. The test usually takes about 20-25 minutes and can be administered using a scantron or bubble form. 

Disciplines it Assesses:

  • Life and Environmental Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Computer, Math and Physical Science 
  • Engineering
  • Research Ethics 

Audience: Graduate, post-doc, faculty, research staff

Access/For More Information: The PDR measure is intended for researchers with some level of experience in the research environment and has been tested with individuals working in the health sciences. Information about this assessment tool is available at The Bioethics Research Center includes a form on their website that allows you to supply information about which test would like to administer, the context you which to use the measure, and options for how you would like to collaborate with the BRC, including receiving a copy of the test and user manual at no cost, or working with BRC staff to score the test and help analyze the result for a fee to cover staff time.

Anonymous. . Professional Decision-Making in Research (PDR). Online Ethics Center. DOI:.