While the National Institutes of Health provides specific guidelines for formal instruction in RCR (i.e., format, subject matter, faculty participation, duration and frequency), informal RCR instruction is less clearly defined. Informal RCR instruction is the unstructured learning that occurs in the course of daily laboratory or other scholarly interactions among faculty, research trainees and staff. Along with formal RCR instruction, this type of learning is recognized as an essential component of the research training experience.

The strategies listed below provide ideas for facilitating informal learning about RCR topics:

  • Integrate core RCR topics into lab, staff, and research team meetings, including: Authorship and Publication Practices, Collaborative Science, Conflicts of Interest, Data Responsibilities, Intellectual Property, Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities, Peer Review, Research Ethics, Research with Animals, Research with Human Subjects, Research Misconduct, Researcher and Society and Safe Laboratory Practices
  • Utilize informal educational methods, including question and answer sessions, case studies, individual conversations, and small group discussions of RCR issues
  • Facilitate discussions on research ethics issues that are discipline-specific
  • Encourage research trainees and staff to actively lead/participate in discussions on discipline-specific professional standards of practice
  • Encourage research trainees and staff to explore the CHOP Research Institute RCR Web site for access to self-study materials, policies, and other educational resources
  • Incorporate RCR education and activities into individual professional development plans