Glossary

Substantive definitions of concepts and terms commonly used in engineering ethics are written to be accessible to a broad audience and accompanied by links to useful related topics, materials, and relevant professional societies and organizations. If you would like to submit or revise a term, please contact us at onlineethics@nae.edu.

  • American Association of Engineering Societies is an association of various engineering societies. It works to coordinate information and activities among these societies, and represents the interests of the engineering community to the government, to the general public, and to the media.

  • Academic honesty or integrity is the maintenance of truthfulness and proper crediting of sources of ideas and expressions. Behaviors such as cheating on examinations and lab reports, or plagiarism of course papers and homework assignments violate academic integrity. Violations of academic integrity ...

  • To be accountable is to be answerable or required to answer for one’s actions. Sometimes the term “accountable” is used with a moral connotation (“normatively”) meaning morally required to answer for one’s actions without specifying to whom one is accountable. ...

  • Administrative law is constituted by that body of regulations, rules, orders, decisions, and policies that carry out the regulatory powers created of administrative agencies. In ordinary use, as contrasted with technical legal use, people often speak of administrative law as "regulation." For ...

  • Positive steps to enhance the diversity of some group, often to remedy the cumulative effect of subtle as well as gross expressions of prejudice. In science and engineering affirmative actions often aim to enhance the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in these fields.

  • Applied research is the investigation of phenomena to discover whether their properties are appropriate to a particular need or want, usually a human need or want. In contrast, basic research investigates phenomena without reference to particular needs and wants. Applied research is more closely ...

  • Assent is a variation of the concept of Informed Consent specifically used in reference to research subjects such as children or other persons without the full competence to provide informed consent. For instance, because children under 18 are below the legal age of consent, the U.S. Department of ...

  • Authenticity is the character trait or virtue of authenticity is that of being genuine, honest with oneself as well as others. Therefore, "authenticity" connotes not only candor, but an absence of hypocrisy or self-deception.

  • An inclination that influences judgment is a bias. The term may be used in a merely descriptive way to mean an inclination, but more often it is used indicate an inclination that influences judgment but ought not to. "Prejudice" is a synonym for bias in this pejorative sense.

    However, the bias ...

  • As defined by the U.S. government, "biotechnology" refers to any technique that uses living organisms (or parts of organisms) to make or modify products, to improve plants and animals, or to develop microorganisms for specific use. Biotechnology focuses on the practical applications of science (as ...

  • A bribe is something given or offered to a person or organization in a position of trust to induce such a person to behave in a way inconsistent with that trust. As C.E. Harris (2000) points out, offering a bribe is not the same as capitulating to extortion (that is, capitulating to a demand under ...

  • Candor is the quality of being frank or open. The original, now obsolete sense of the term was of the virtue of purity or innocence. Although being open and unbiased is a positive quality, in some circumstances it is better to be discreet rather than candid with someone about a particular topic. ...

  • A challenge study is one in which researchers intentionally give subject/patients pharmacological agents in order to induce and study psychiatric symptomatology.

  • In general, anything that is done for the purpose of deceiving someone else for personal gain or advantage. It has three essential elements: 

    1. more than one person 
    2. intentional deception or dishonesty
    3. a goal of personal gain, whether money, property, or public image. 
    4. ...
  • Civil law is that body of law relating to contracts and suits, as contrasted with criminal law. Civil law covers suits of one party by another for such matters as breach of contract or negligence, and as such may have application in scientific and engineering contracts as well certain professional ...

Cite this page: "Glossary" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 1/31/2006 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 <www.onlineethics.org/glossary.aspx>