The overarching aim of PRISM is to gather evidence regarding how to
harmonize effective conduct of research with both personal integrity and key
principles of research integrity. To do so, it will aim:
1. To explore researchers’ concepts of integrity and establish how their own
sense of integrity developed.
2. To assess researchers’ awareness of and beliefs regarding the ethical
requirements of the new legislation, SAAS guidance and institutional integrity
policies, and any tensions between personal integrity and these rules.
3. To assess researchers’ views on research integrity education at Swiss
A systematic literature review of all relevant academic literature on research
integrity and personal integrity will be conducted to provide a strong
theoretical and empirical basis for the design of the study instruments.
Main study: Qualitative Interviews and focus groups
Interviews will be conducted with: junior and senior scientific and medical
researchers in academia and industry, in order to assess knowledge
concerning integrity and key attitudes. All interviews and focus groups will
include discussion of case studies of scientific misconduct (see below). A
total of 45 researchers will be interviewed, with the sample including junior
researchers (PhD students), mid-level researchers (postdocs) and team
leaders in both life sciences and medicine (see Table 1). This number of
interviews will be sufficient to enable identification of different attitudes to
integrity at different stages of career and key themes for content analysis.
Where possible, researchers of different ranks from the same team will be
interviewed. Post-doc and PhD-level researchers will be interviewed by two
PRISM postdocs (in English) and team leaders by the applicant.
Researchers will be recruited with the assistance of the Swiss Academy of
Medical Sciences (SAMW), the Swiss Clinical Trials Organisation (Swiss
CTO) and Life Sciences Switzerland (LS2). Junior and senior researchers will
be interviewed by experienced PRISM bioethics postdoctoral researchers
with backgrounds in the same discipline as participants (life sciences or
medicine), and team leaders will be interviewed by the principal investigator.
Because of the sensitivity of the topics, all participant identifiers will be
removed before publication. The data derived from the interviews and focus
groups will be transcribed immediately after the interviews to ensure accurate
data capture, and subjected to coding and thematic content analysis by all
three members of the team.