Part II: Ethical Responsibilities in Doctoral Research

Faculty and students in higher education must at all times enact ethical standards for conducting and reporting research. These standards are described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and in materials posted on the website of Seattle University’s Institutional Review Board. Key considerations are highlighted in the sections the follow.

  • Responsibility. Students ultimately are responsible for the content and quality of all TDiLP products—especially the Review of the Literature, Research Proposal, and TDiLP Dissertation. Students have access to support from the inquiry supervisor, committee members, Seattle University library services, etc. However, final responsibility for all aspects of TDiLP project rests with students, including financial responsibility for the costs of producing a high-quality document. TDiLP student participants are expected to maintain a high standard of scholarship and writing, must engage help with typing, editing, and copy production if needed to produce a document that fulfills the requirements outlined in this TDiLP guide.
  • Scholarly Conduct. Seattle University demands high standards of scholarly conduct and etiquette of doctoral students and treats academic misconduct as a serious offense. Academic offenses such as plagiarism, falsification or fabrication of data, and academic sabotage of the work of another are specifically prohibited. A student accused of committing such acts will be subject to the process outlined in Seattle University’s Academic Integrity Policy. A student who has been found to have committed such acts can receive penalties from the university, including probation and dismissal from the university. Plagiarism, academic sabotage, and other offenses against another individual can result in civil penalties as well. In the team-based TDiLP, the entire team is responsible for upholding scholarly conduct. Relevant Seattle University policies regarding appropriate student conduct include the following:

                (a) Academic Integrity Policy.

               (b) Student Code of Conduct.

               (c) Academic Probation and Dismissal GR Policy.

              (d) Professional Conduct Appeals Policy.

  •  Acknowledgement of Sources. Students must carefully observe the copyrights of others, crediting all sources quoted and paraphrased. In addition, amounts used of another person’s material without permission, even if acknowledged, must be limited. The Copyrights Act of 1976 allows for fair use of material belonging to others. Under fair use, it is usually considered permissible for a scholar to include a brief quotation from another scholar’s work for the purpose of argument, agreement, or review, if this quotation is proportionally a very small part of the original work, and if the purposes are educational. Fair use would probably not cover a use in which the quoting party stood to profit by the inclusion of the quoted material, or the quoted party stood to lose money through diminished sales of the original work due to the use of the material. Nor would it allow, for example, the quotation of six lines from an eight-line poem as that is a large proportion of the total work. Particularly, fair use does not apply to written tests, workbooks, and other consumable material. Never quote these without permission.
  • Obtaining Permission. To obtain permission to use a portion of a work, send a letter to the copyright holder, which often is the publishing company. Include the bibliographic information for the exact edition needed to quote and refer to the quoted material with a first and last line and a page number reference. Also state the nature of the rights being sought. For most cases in a dissertation, this would be nonexclusive rights in the English language for one edition. The publisher or copyright holder may charge a fee or make stipulations on the presentation of the material.
  •  Plagiarism. This occurs when someone presents the ideas of others as one’s own. Plagiarism covers a wide range of credited use of the material of another. It includes not only flagrant copying, but also paraphrasing and borrowing of ideas without giving credit. It also includes self-plagiarism, which entails not properly citing one’s own ideas that appear in other sources. Read the section on plagiarism and self-plagiarism carefully in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Never, never, never plagiarize!
  • Falsification and Fabrication of Data. Falsification of data consists of the deliberate misrepresentation of data analysis or the results/outcomes from data analysis. Fabrication is the creation of data when no data were collected/obtained.
  • Academic Sabotage. This refers to deliberate damage done to the academic work of another. Academic sabotage can range from actual theft or destruction of written or electronic materials or equipment to deliberate contamination of research designs and data collection.
  • Copyright. As the author and/or coauthor of a written work, doctoral students producing TDiLP products are entitled to certain rights under the law of copyrights. This law prevents others from taking credit for or profiting from work used without permission. Copyright applies only to the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. For a discussion of ideas, inventions, intellectual property, and patents, see the section of the copyright law that deals with intellectual property. Also, in the special case of written computer software, the program may in some cases be copyrighted by the university. Students do not have to make any notification of copyright to be protected under the law; however, doing so may afford additional protections.
  • Paid and Unpaid Assistance. All TDiLP products are, in fact, collaborative projects among participating teammates and committee members. Students will receive most assistance from the inquiry supervisor, and next from other committee members. The program recognizes that many doctoral candidates may wish to have their work scrutinized by third parties, including professional editors. Whether to use the services of a professional editor is at the discretion of each TDiLP group that must understand and adhere to the following responsibilities:
    • Candidate/Student Responsibilities:
      • Candidates must ensure that this assistance does not endanger the academic integrity and originality of the work. The university views cheating—including ‘submitting without acknowledgement work to which others have contributed’—as a serious academic offence.
      • It is the TDiLP group’s responsibility to convey the guidelines to third parties (including any professional editor) engaged in checking any version of the thesis or dissertation.
      • Candidates must acknowledge in their dissertation any contribution by a third party.
    • Supervisor Responsibilities:
      • The intervention of a third party, in particular a professional editor, does not absolve the supervisor(s) from the normal advisory duties connected with the production of the intellectual content and text of the thesis or dissertation.
    • Third Party Assistance Permitted:
      • Clarity:

        • Avoiding ambiguity, repetition, and verbosity.
        • Use of punctuation to ensure clarity of meaning and ease of reading.
        • Grammar and usage:
          • The conventions of grammar and syntax in written English.
          • The expression of numbers, dates, percentages, measurements and statistical data.
          • The use of italics, capitalization, hyphenation, symbols and shortened forms.
          • The display of lists and quotations.
          • Spelling and punctuation.
        • Illustrations and tables
          • The position of tables and illustrations in the thesis.
          • The clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation of the text in illustrations and tables.
      • Text:
        • Completeness and internal consistency in references (including citations, bibliography, list of references, endnotes or footnotes, and cross-references).
        • Consistency in page numbers, headers and footers Format.
        • Third parties may work on a printed or electronic version of the thesis or dissertation.
      • Restrictions on Third Party Editing:
        • Third parties must not write or rewrite any part of the thesis or dissertation, or perform numeric calculations included in the thesis or dissertation.
        • Third parties must make no contribution to the intellectual content of the thesis or dissertation; their role is confined to advice on changes, as specified in the section above on third party editing permitted.
        • Third parties may not advise on or make corrections to the structure of the thesis, though they may draw any such problems to the candidate’s attention

          NOTE: Anything that diminishes intellectual ownership of TDiLP team-based student work is much more than assistance and is not permissible. Check with the TDiLP inquiry supervisor if there are any questions about the nature of what is acceptable. All assistance received, paid and unpaid, must be disclosed and briefly described in the acknowledgment section of the TDiLP Dissertation.