The topic of Ethics in research was formally covered on two occasions and reinforced thoughout the program.

First, Dr. Beyond lectured about ethics in engineering.

He explained the difference between Codes, Cannons, Oaths, Creeds, Rules and Laws. He presented the hierarchy of ethical priorities:

  1. Society and Public
  2. Law
  3. Profession
  4. Client
  5. Firm
  6. Co-workers
  7. Self

He made the point strongly that YOU are the last priority.

He also made it clear that an engineer has a special ethical responsibility because they often are involved in large scale projects that effect many people in many ways.

Dr. Dunfee, from NSF, also presented information on ethics. He presented 9 case studies distributed by NSF that illustrated how difficult ethical dilemmas can be. Most of the case studies elicited heated discussions. It was clear that often "right" and "wrong" depend on many factors including the situation and the perspectives of the people involved.

Dr. Dunfee stressed the following ethics guidelines:

  1. Report all data collected. Do not remove data or add data.
  2. Acknowledge questionable results, methods, equipment, or anything that could affect the data results.
  3. Collect large samples.
  4. Respect copyright and ownership rights of other researchers, product makers, and designers, and funders.
  5. Acknowledge contributions of other researchers.
  6. Share results openly. Especially if you are publicly funded.

Dr. Dunfee also pointed out that NSF requires grant applications to address ethics education and sensitivity.