Discussion Tools: Videos


A description of how to use videos to teach research ethics, and a list of potential videos to use.


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


One of the challenges for teachers is to fully engage their students. To meet that goal, research ethics dilemmas can be made more compelling if the scenarios are presented in the form of video. In this context, video is meant to include:

  • Full length movies
  • TV shows
  • Custom presentations designed to address research ethics topics (e.g., whistleblowing, mentoring, authorship disputes)*

With the ready availability of many movies on video, and the high interest in newly released movies, teachers of research ethics have many opportunities to raise issues such as the portrayal of scientists in popular media, the role of whistleblowers, or protections of the interests of human subjects.

Video can be used in many ways, for example:

  • Short video (5-10 mins) presented in class and followed by discussion.
  • 3-hour session devoted to showing a movie in its entirety followed by discussion.
  • In class discussion of selected parts of very well-known movies.
  • Students assigned to view a video or movie currently showing; hold discussion during following class meeting.
  • Student groups assigned to write scripts and create videos for presentation to the rest of the course; following showing of each video, group members responsible for leading a discussion of the case presented in the video.

* Because many videos specially made to address research ethics topics may fall short of the highest production standards, it is valuable to preface the discussion by pointing out the need to look past the flaws in production and to focus on ethical dilemmas and possible solutions.


Selected Movies

  • Arrowsmith
  • Awakenings 
  • Blade Runner
  • Brazil
  • Charlie
  • The China Syndrome
  • Coded Bias
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 
  • Extreme Measures
  • Ex Machina 
  • Frankenstein: The True Story
  • The Fugitive
  • Gattaca
  • The Lawnmower Man
  • Lorenzo's Oil
  • My Fair Lady
  • Picture a Scientist 
  • Silkwood
  • Three Identical Strangers
  • Wit

Selected Documentaries


Selected TV Movies and Episodes

  • Brave New World (90's made-for-Television version)
  • Dateline (9/20/02) film on Jessie Gelsinger
  • Nothing Human (Star Trek Voyager episode, analogy to Nazi Research)
  • NOVA and Frontline shows that highlight ethical issues (e.g., Making Babies and Sixteen ways to Make a Baby)


Selected Movies with General Ethics Themes

  • A Dangerous Woman
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Gentlemen's Agreement
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Insider
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • Mississippi Burning
  • Moonstruck
  • Our Mutual Friend
  • Paradise Road
  • Serpico
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The White Rose
  • The Winslow Boy
  • Twelve Angry Men

The Resources for Research Ethics Education site 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 2021 with the permission of the author.

Michael Kalichman, Dena Plemmons. . Discussion Tools: Videos. Online Ethics Center. DOI:https://doi.org/10.18130/xnzw-dr77. https://onlineethics.org/cases/resources-research-ethics-education/discussion-tools-videos.