ERIC Number: ED243023
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug-29
Reference Count: 0
Characteristics of Moral Problems Formulated by Students Aged 8-49.
Dettmann, David F.; Colangelo, Nicholas
Although the theory and research of Lawrence Kohlberg have been the dominant approach in the study of moral reasoning and moral development, his procedures have been criticized in three areas: (1) reliability and validity; (2) applicability to daily experience; and (3) inadequate sampling. To examine the characteristics of moral problems formulated by students of different ages, 546 students participated in a study comparing their responses to the dilemmas proferred by Kohlberg. The sample consisted of 304 students in grades 3-8, 108 students in grades 9-12, 53 college students, and 81 graduate students. Subjects wrote stories involving a moral problem, provided a solution, and discussed their reasoning. Results, based on ratings of the stories, showed that most had major characters who were same-sex peers of the writer, compared to Kohlberg's hypothetical stories, which are chiefly male, adult-oriented. The most common themes in the students' stories were interpersonally-based between the protagonist and subsidiary characters, while Kohlberg's stories emphasize conflicts between individuals and societal values. Kohlberg's moral vignettes are hypothetical and abstract, while the students' stories involved practical, everyday experiences. The findings suggest that the sex of the characters, and the type and variety of moral stories, should be considered in research on moral development. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Kohlberg (Lawrence)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).