Project for Scholarly Integrity (Council of Graduate Schools)

Survey On Responsible Research Conduct

The Survey of Responsible Research Practices is a joint initiative by Michigan State University in cooperation with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to survey research universities about issues related to scholarly integrity. MSU is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is scholarly integrity?

Scholarly integrity (also called responsible research practices) broadly refers to the thoughtful and honest adherence to relevant ethical, disciplinary, and financial standards in the promotion, design, conduct, evaluation, and reporting of research in one’s field of study.

Who conducted the survey and who sponsored it?

The survey was conducted by a consortium of Big Ten schools: Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Pennsylvania State University. The three schools received a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). Other colleges and universities funded by the Council of Graduate schools also adopted the survey developed and tested by this project.

The Survey Center at Penn state University collected the survey data from all three universities.

What was the purpose of the survey?

The purpose of the study was to provide a baseline for scholarly and research integrity at MSU. Graduate programs and departments will receive feedback on their scholarly and research integrity results. The aim is to help these programs evaluate and develop policies or target interventions to make the university a better place to conduct research and other scholarly work.

Other aims of the CGS project are to promote use of mentor-graduate student compacts and integration of instruction in scholarly integrity in graduate student professional development programs.

What kinds of questions were asked on the survey and how were they selected?

The survey included questions about the climate of integrity in a person’s department or graduate program and the climate of integrity across the university as a whole. The survey also asked about the person’s role in research on campus.

What did the survey mean when it asked about research?

The survey was designed to assess a person’s perceptions of the organizational environment for scholarly integrity at the university and in a person’s department or graduate program. When answering the questions in this survey, each respondent was asked to keep in mind the following definitions:

RESEARCH, as used in this survey, refers to research and scholarship across all disciplinary fields from the Arts and Humanities to the Sciences.

The use of the term RESEARCH broadly includes the exploration, discovery, interpretation, revision, and sharing of knowledge of our world, including the creation of works for the enlightenment and intellectual stimulation of humans.

A RESEARCHER broadly includes anyone who contributes to the process of research according to the standards in a given field of study.

Who was asked to participate in the survey?

All faculty, scientists, research scientists, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students in departments with graduate programs or closely affiliated with graduate programs across the campus were invited to participate. In general, professional schools and clinical programs were excluded. Participation was voluntary.

What was the survey field period?

Data was collected from about April 1 to April 25, 2009.

Was the survey voluntary?

The survey was entirely voluntary. 

Was the survey confidential?

The survey was confidential. When a respondent completed and submitted the online survey, his or her responses were separated from any personal information (i.e., name and email address) and became completely anonymous. 

Was the survey approved by the MSU IRB?

The survey was reviewed by the MSU Institutional Review Board (Protocol # X09-158), as well as the IRBs at each of the participating universities, and approved on February 28, 2009. If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact the MSU IRB at 517-355-2180 or irb@msu.edu.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact the principal investigator, Karen Klomparens, Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Provost for Graduate Education at 517-353-3220 or kklompar@grd.msu.edu.