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Activity Number: 340 - Teaching Statistics and Data Ethics in the Health Sciences
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 9, 2022 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Teaching of Statistics in the Health Sciences
Abstract #323678
Title: Facilitating the Integration of Ethical Reasoning into Quantitative Courses: Stakeholder Analysis, Ethical Practice Standards, and Case Studies
Author(s): Rochelle E. Tractenberg*
Companies: Georgetown University Medical Center
Keywords: teaching ethics; ASA Ethical Guidelines; stakeholder analysis; ethical reasoning; case analysis; ethical practice

Case studies are typically used to teach “ethics”, but emphasize narrative. When the content of a course is focused on formulae and proofs, it can seem divergent or distracting – for both instructor and learner - to introduce a case analysis. Moreover, case analyses are typically focused on issues relating to people: obtaining consent, dealing with research team members, and/or potential institutional policy violations. While relevant to some research, not all students in quantitative courses plan to become researchers, and ethical practice – of mathematics, statistics, data science, and computing – is an essential topic regardless of whether or not the learner intends to do research. It is a mistake to treat “training in ethical practice” and “training in responsible conduct of research” as the same thing, just as incorrect as it is to assume that “training in ethical practice” is the same irrespective of what the learner will actually be practicing. Ethical reasoning is a way of thinking that requires the individual to assess what they know about a potential ethical problem – their prerequisite knowledge, and in some cases, how behaviors they observe, are directed to perform, or have performed, diverge from what they know to be ethical behavior. Ethical reasoning is a learnable, improvable set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that enable learners to recognize what they do and do not know about what constitutes “ethical practice” of a discipline, and in some cases, to contemplate alternative decisions about how to first recognize, and then proceed past, or respond to, such divergences. A stakeholder analysis is part of prerequisite knowledge, and can be used whether there is or is not an actual case or behavior/situation to react to. When teaching courses with primarily quantitative content, a stakeholder analysis is a useful tool for instruction and assessment of learning. It can be used to both integrate authentic ethical content and encourage careful quantitative thought. This paper discusses how to introduce ethical reasoning, stakeholder analysis, and ethical practice standards authentically in quantitative courses.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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