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Ethics Training for Translational Team Science

Studies in Symbolic Interaction

ISBN: 978-1-80117-781-8, eISBN: 978-1-80117-780-1

Publication date: 10 November 2021


The purpose of the Ethics Support Office, funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and administered by the Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), is to provide research ethics support to faculty, fellows, and students. This chapter reports on an ongoing qualitative study to understand scientists' views on ethical issues in team science and their suggestions for advancing ethical policy and activities in order to improve ethics training. We originally conducted face-to-face, semistructured, qualitative interviews with a convenience sample of 20 key ITS researchers, representing the majority of researchers. The scientists' most general approach to ethics – in perceiving them, understanding them, and applying them – is to appreciate ethics in terms of their relevance to particular research situations and problems. They prefer to deal with ethics as a common feature and value incorporated into their work. Respondents suggested that those teaching ethics in multidisciplinary translational research must develop strategies that help scientists see and understand the relevance of ethics education to their work. Strategies include improving communication skills, providing shared opportunities for learning, sensitizing researchers to the demands on others on the team who are expected to contribute data and knowledge to the success of the project, and imbedding ethicists on research teams. In tune with the key finding of the study, ethics instructors and coaches need to become well acquainted with the nuances of their scientists' work. This approach will respond to the scientists' desire to conduct ethical research, but in practical terms of the specialized nature of their work.




The research for and preparation of this chapter was supported by the Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch and funded in part by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL1TR000071) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this chapter.


McKinney, E.B. (2021), "Ethics Training for Translational Team Science", Denzin, N.K. and Sarina Chen, S.-L. (Ed.) Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 53), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 23-31.



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