Protecting Research Integrity in a Blended Learning Environment

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By Jack Brazel, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Necessity is the mother of invention, but researchers can argue that research is the father. Inquiry is the force that enables societies to discover new ways of doing things and cultivate new methods to better address complex issues and meet people’s most pressing needs. Research – with its iterative nature, plays a vital role in the refinement, analysis and evaluation of new findings. Thus, it is essential that research is conducted with the utmost honesty, accuracy and openness to effectively enrich the existing knowledge base and help formulate new theories, improve ideas and develop new products. Integrity in research ensures that each invention or breakthrough is a step towards solving the various problems facing societies today.

Jack Brazel, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Constrained by key challenges such as disparities in economic development and technology adoption, governments in the Asia-Pacific region recognize the value of establishing a strong research and innovation landscape.

In the Philippines, for example, to accelerate technology adoption and promote innovation, the government has created stronger ties linking the academic and research community with the business sector. To encourage innovative funding and facilitate the commercialization of research, the government has launched initiatives to build teaching capacity, create a vibrant intellectual property culture, and foster an ethical research environment. As of November 2021, more than 340 million pesos (pesos) of projects have been awarded to research institutes and industrial partners in 10 regions of the country. Under the government’s Research and Development (R&D) leadership program, 49 new R&D experts from 17 regions across the country have been selected to build the research capacity of various government agencies. By establishing strong university-industry partnerships, educational institutions are able to contribute to national economic agendas.

Role of educators in maintaining research integrity

The change in the learning landscape has raised questions about the evolution of research integrity in academic institutions. With hybrid learning modalities, undergraduate and postgraduate scholars have become more exposed to various methods of academic dishonesty or shortcuts, which highlights the role of educators in inculcating and developing the integrity in all learning environments.

Of course, research misconduct is not always willful and often results from other factors, including a lack of research orientation or insufficient skills in citing sources.

To promote original thinking and support integrity in research, educators and academic institutions can consider the following steps:

Establish a research culture that fosters engagement, collaboration and mentorship.

Students should be introduced to a culture of peer assessment early on by encouraging them to assess individual assignments in class. To ensure research integrity, a supervisor should be assigned to a researcher to provide continuous feedback and oversee research progress from developing the research proposal, defining the methodology, and submitting the research. for evaluation.

Follow resources and references to give scholars and researchers proper guidance on where to find relevant material and direct them to credible sources. Additionally, educational institutions should ensure that students and researchers are trained to spot predatory and cloned academic journals, hacked websites, and other fraudulent platforms.

Build skills on how to cite resources. The amount of information that can be referenced online has made it difficult to track resources used in research. Thus, it is important for research supervisors and instructors to help students develop citation skills by integrating them throughout the writing process.

Take advantage of technologies that detect cases of plagiarism. Thanks to recent developments in education technology, universities and colleges can utilize digital innovations that are backed by a verified database of journals, theses, and research papers. These tools can be used to screen manuscripts submitted by researchers to detect academic misconduct early on and allow them to avoid violations before submitting them to editors. In addition, these digital tools allow instant cross-checking with archived and current web pages, which becomes an essential tool for teachers and research supervisors in the fight against plagiarism.

Laying the Foundation for Nation Building with Research Integrity

Research integrity requires honesty, transparency, and thoroughness in all aspects of a study. It ensures that the research is true to the intent of shedding new light on a particular topic and that the methods used in data collection and management have been fully disclosed and meet the criteria for responsible conduct of research. Research integrity also confers respect on the research community through appropriate attribution and recognition of the work of other researchers. By embracing technology, institutions gain access to resources and capabilities that help them promote responsible behavior and protect student and institutional reputations.

Through investment in the integrity of research and its development, educational institutions can create an environment conducive to innovative thinking, which enables scholars and researchers to contribute to the scientific and academic community and participate in the nation building by inspiring real and real impact. .

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