Friday, April 8, 2011

Princeton Offers PhD Students Serious Training in Historians' Ethics

Google alerted me to an innovative effort to train historians in the responsible conduct of research.

[Angela Creager and John Haldon, "Responsible Conduct of Research Workshop, June 14-15, 2010," Princeton University.]

Back in 2007, I argued that "Though oral historians will always face difficult ethical decisions, they have wrestled with them enough to produce appropriate, relevant, and applicable guidance to scholars new to the field." Princeton's faculty in history and the history of science, led by Professors Angela Creager and John Haldon, have taken this idea much further, building a two-day, 12 hour training program for PhD candidates that explores all manner of research ethics, from copyright and oral history to the duties of an expert witness and a mentor.

The program is discipline-specific, based on scholarly accounts of real controversies, and taught in person by expert faculty. If the workshop went as well as the syllabus promised, this could be a splendid model for other history departments.

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