Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Foreign Intake 'Oversimplify Ethical Dilemmas'

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Foreign Intake 'Oversimplify Ethical Dilemmas'

Article excerpt

International graduate students are more likely than their US peers to oversimplify ethical dilemmas, a study of postgraduates at "a large, public university in the southwestern United States" has found.

The study, "A comparison of the effects of ethics training on international and US students", published in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, notes that "differences between how international and US students approach ethical decision-making, biases, and compensatory strategies may be a reason why some US academics have concerns about the ethical research conduct of international students".

It finds that the international students, most of whom were Asian, had a lower level of ethical decision-making skills, possibly due to a tendency to oversimplify dilemmas.

However, the paper's first author, Logan Steele, a PhD student in industrial and organisational psychology at the University of Oklahoma, told Times Higher Education that oversimplification was an inevitable consequence of international students' typical unfamiliarity with "American academic ethics and interpersonal norms".

This is because they rely more heavily on "rules, guidelines and principles" that provide a resolution that is "less ambiguous in an equivocal environment". …

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