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Responsible Conduct of Research

Once you've become involved in research, you want to make sure that you are carrying out your research in an ethical and responsible manner.  We have some suggestions of how to do this and have compiled a checklist of steps you should take to ensure that you're completing your research responsibly.  This checklist includes resources that we think are most relevant to you as an undergraduate student.  Research Integrity, a unit of the KU Office of Research, has a more comprehensive list of resources on their website.

Checklist for Responsible Research:

1. Talk to your mentor about what professional standards your field has for conducting research in an ethical and responsible manner.  And review the steps below with your mentor to find out which training sessions or programs you may be required to complete.

2. We recommend that students complete the responsible conduct of research courses available from the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program:  These online modules are free for KU affiliated researchers; for directions on how to login to CITI with your KU Online ID, visit this webpage.  CITI provides courses designed for researchers in a variety of disciplines. Students being paid through a NSF-sponsored position or program should complete the “RCR Basics Course”; talk with your research mentors about other modules that might be helpful for you.

3. If you're working in a lab or art studio setting, we recommend that you learn about safety issues through the Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Blackboard courses

4. If your research will involve human subjects, you will need to :

  • Talk to your mentor to find out if your work is covered by your mentor's human subject's approval or if you will need to apply for your own approval.
  • Call the Office of Research's Human Subjects Committee of Lawrence (HSCL) 785-864-7429 (ext. #1) if you have any questions about your work or how to get approval to proceed.  The HSCL serves as the federally recognized Institutional Review Board (IRB) for KU. 
  • You will need to complete the Human Subjects Compliance Tutorial via the CITI Program. Details are available on this page:
  • If you need access to the eCompliance system and do not currently have it, contact the HSCL at 785-864-7429 with your 7-digit KU ID number to be added.

5. We recommend that all students and mentors fill out an Undergraduate Research Contract together.  Clear communication can prevent many missteps. 

6. Writing responsibly is a key part of responsible research.  Read the KU Writing Center's webpages; they are a great resource to help you learn how to cite and write responsibly:


Mentors: We hope you'll suggest these steps to your student researchers.  If there are resources you'd like us to include on this page, please contact us at

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