Discussion Tools: Textbooks for Teaching Research Ethics


Many textbooks are now available for courses in research ethics, or simply for supplemental reading. The list of books under Resources is not intended to be comprehensive, but any of the listed books would be a valuable adjunct for a course in the responsible conduct of biomedical or social sciences research.


What is Research Ethics

Why Teach Research Ethics




Animal Subjects




Conflicts of Interest

Data Management

Human Subjects


Peer Review


Research Misconduct

Social Responsibility

Stem Cell Research


Educational Settings

Descriptions of educational settings, including in the classroom, and in research contexts.

Discussion Tools

Case Studies





Other Discussion Tools

About the RCREC

Information about the history and authors of the Resources for Research Ethics Collection

Biomedical Research Ethics Texts

  • Bulger RE, Heitman E, Reiser SJ (2002):
    The Ethical Dimensions of the Biological Sciences. Second edition, Cambridge University Press, NY.
    Aimed at faculty and graduate students in the biomedical and health sciences, this book covers a range of topics appropriate to a course in the responsible conduct of biological research. Chapters typically include resource lists and questions for further discussion. The second edition provides an overview of each topic, new articles, and revised case studies.
  • Grinnell F (1992): The Scientific Attitude. Second edition, Guilford Press, New York.
    This book includes insightful perspectives on the methods of science, as well as relevant discussions on the topic of scientific misconduct.
  • Korenman SG, Shipp AC (1994): Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research through a Case Study Approach. A Handbook for Instructors. Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.
    This book of cases covers an extensive range of topics relevant to the teaching of responsible conduct of research. Although a number of the cases are now dated, for example, by advances in medical treatment, the numerous cases provide an excellent starting point to stimulate discussion in courses on integrity in biomedical research.
  • Macrina FL (2014):
    Scientific Integrity: An Introductory Text with Cases. 3rd edition, American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C.
    This text is designed as a book to be used by students in a course that covers a range of topics under the heading of scientific integrity, particularly in the biomedical sciences.
  • Shamoo AE, Resnick DB (2015): Responsible Conduct of Research. Oxford University Press, New York.
    Designed as an adjunct for short courses or educational seminars that train researchers to conduct biomedical research with animals or humans, the text parallels the recommendations of the Commission on Research Integrity. Each chapter includes questions to generate discussion as well as case studies. The appendices provide the ORI model for misconduct management, additional resources, references, and index.
  • Steneck NH (2004): ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Other Research Ethics Texts

  • Barnbaum DR, Byron M (2001): Research Ethics: Text and Readings. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
    This text is intended for research ethics courses in either the natural or social sciences. The scope of the book covers the core areas proposed under the PHS requirements for instruction in responsible conduct of research. [apparently out of print, 12/03]
  • Comstock G (2013): Research Ethics: A Philosophical Guide to the Responsible Conduct of Research. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
    "Education in the responsible conduct of research typically takes the form of online instructions about rules, regulations, and policies. Research Ethics takes a novel approach and emphasizes the art of philosophical decision-making."
  • Elliott D, Stern JE (1997): Research Ethics - A Reader. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH.
    This book is designed as a supplemental text for a course in research ethics. Cases studies are included. Topics covered include reporting research, conflict of interest, institutional responsibility, and animal and human use.
  • Hamilton, NW (2002): Academic Ethics. Problems and Materials on Professional Conduct and Shared Governance. American Council on Education/Praeger Series on Higher Education, Washington, D.C.
    This book provides a substantive analysis of both the ethical duties and the rights of academics, as individuals and as a collegial body. The author first establishes a framework for ethical academic behavior, followed by case-method chapters that pose ethical problems for discussion.
  • Harris CE, Pritchard M, Rabins M (2008): Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases 4e. Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont CA.
  • IAP - the Global Network of Science Academies. (2016): Doing Global Science : a guide to responsible conduct in the global resarch enterprise. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 
  • Institute of Medicine Committee on Assessing Integrity in Research Environments (2002): Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct. The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
    This report emphasizes institutional measures to promote scientific integrity including ensuring a responsible research environment, engaging in institutional self-assessment, and establishing educational programs for researchers, and evaluation. The appendices include information on outcomes measures and resources.
  • Israel, M and Hay, I (2006): Research Ethics for Social Scientists: Between Ethical Conduct and Regulatory Compliance. Thousand Oaks, CA; Sage Publications.
    This book provides both a historical and practical context for ethical conduct in the social sciences – a welcome contribution the field.
  • Kovac J (2003): The Ethical Chemist: Professionalism and Ethics in Science. Prentice Hall.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. (2017) Fostering Integrity in Research. 
    This report identifies best practices in research and recommends practical options for discouraging and addressing research misconduct and detrimental research practices.
  • National Academy of Sciences. National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine (2009): On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research.
  • Nicols-Casebolt, A. (2012): Research Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research. Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Oliver, Paul. The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics. 2003. Open University Press
  • Penslar RL (1995): Research Ethics: Cases and Materials. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.
    This book is a general resource on research ethics, including case studies and resource materials in life sciences and humanities. The case studies cover the areas of biology, psychology, and history.
  • Resnick DB (1998): The Ethics of Science: An Introduction (Philosophical Issues in Science). Routledge, New York.
    This text provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the derivation of and direct relevance of standards of ethical conduct in science. The text is supplemented by case studies, bibliography, and an index.
  • Sigma Xi (1984): Honor in Science. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Research Triangle Park, NC.
    First published in 1984, this 41 page booklet has proven effective in many graduate programs to encourage development of ethics and values in scientific research. Over 50,000 copies are now in circulation. A companion booklet, authored by John F. Ahearne, was published in 1999: The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls. This 64-page booklet includes information relevant to a broad spectrum of researchers with discussions of current issues including peer review, mentoring, and grant pressure on faculty.
  • Stern JE, Elliott D (1997): The Ethics of Scientific Research: A Guidebook for Course Development. University of New England Press, Hanover, NH.
    This book is intended as a resource for instructors who are developing ethics courses; however, the resource information would be of value to both teachers and students.

The Resources for Research Ethics Education was originally developed and maintained by Dr. Michael Kalichman, Director of the Research Ethics Program at the University of California San Diego.

The site was transferred to the Online Ethics Center in 2020 with permission of the author.

Michael Kalichman. . Discussion Tools: Textbooks for Teaching Research Ethics. Online Ethics Center. DOI:https://doi.org/10.18130/mbq6-eq41. https://onlineethics.org/cases/resources-research-ethics-education/discussion-tools-textbooks-teaching-research-ethics.