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ERIC Number: EJ1254180
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1069-4730
Enhancing Engineering Students' Ethical Reasoning: Situating Reflexive Principlism within the SIRA Framework
Hess, Justin L.; Beever, Jonathan; Zoltowski, Carla B.; Kisselburgh, Lorraine; Brightman, Andrew O.
Journal of Engineering Education, v108 n1 p82-102 Jan 2019
Background: Educating engineers to reason through the ethical decisions they encounter when developing or implementing new technologies is a critical challenge. However, engineering educators have not widely adopted a framework for preparing engineering students to analyze ethical issues. Purpose/Hypothesis: We developed and tested an approach for enhancing the ethical reasoning of engineering students. This approach integrates reflexive principlism, an ethical reasoning approach, within a structured learning framework, scaffolded, interactive, and reflective analysis, or SIRA. We hypothesized that students' ethical reasoning abilities and empathic perspective-taking tendencies would increase. Design/Method: We implemented and tested the integrated approach over five semesters with graduate-level engineering students through a quasi-experimental, controlled research design. We measured changes in ethical reasoning using the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI) and the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT2) and empathic tendencies using the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). We examined relationships among measures through correlation analysis. Results: The EERI instrumentation indicated that the approach significantly increased the ethical reasoning abilities of graduate-level engineering students. However, the DIT2 findings did not indicate change. The IRI indicated perspective-taking tendencies were enhanced and personal distress tendencies were reduced. Postcourse correlational data indicated moderate relationships between perspective-taking and ethical reasoning as measured by the IRI and the EERI indexes. Conclusions: This study provides a theoretical approach for developing ethical reasoning and empathic perspective-taking among graduate-level engineering students. It also provides a theoretical framework, a pedagogical approach, and evaluation methods that others may utilize.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Interpersonal Reactivity Index
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1237868