Fiction movies for RCR education – project now online

Last modified: May 29, 2017

From the March till November 2016 three MA students, Isabella Vos, Bob Hoogenes and Christiaan Grigoleit, did their research internship under the supervision of prof. dr. Lex Bouter (current professor of methodology and integrity) and dr. Fenneke Blom (coordinator Netherlands Research Integrity Network) at the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of VU University Medical Center. The primary goal of our research project was the improvement of education on research integrity. We wanted to accomplish this by making a start with the creation of an online database of audio-visual material on research integrity that is easily accessible and can be used for education.The underlying thought was that although much effort is put into teaching students and researchers about the rules and norms that come with conducting proper research, a fictional narrative has the potential of contributing, in an accessible way, to the empowerment of students and researchers to deal with the challenges of moral dilemmas that one inevitably faces when conducting research.

During our project we investigated the usefulness and applicability of a selection of fiction movies for rescuing responsible conduct of research (RCR) education. A variety of movies was analysed, ranging from Silkwood, produced in 1983, to The Dallas Buyers Club (2013). A format for structured description of (fragments of) movies was developed and after pilot testing of the format, consensus was achieved on what the final format should look like. Subsequently the format was applied to 31 movies. Legal and practical aspects of using (fragments of) movies for educational purposes and of sharing the teaching materials online (creative commons) were explored, as not all movies can be used without consent of the original owner. All though all movies where selected carefully, not all were deemed useful for RCR education. Of the 31 movies we considered, 20 movies remained in the final selection. The main RCR topics addressed in these movies where: conflicts of interest, selective reporting and citation, scientific writing, authorship, research waste and data collection and study design issues.

The final product of our internship: a structured format, an annotated list of useful fiction movie fragments for RCR education, and descriptions of the legal aspects and practicalities, are now available on the website of the Netherlands Research Integrity Network ( Later this will be complemented by first experiences with the use of the selected movie fragments in RCR education.

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