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Journal of Moral Education, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2001 Case-based Approaches to

Summary: Journal of Moral Education, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2001
Case-based Approaches to
Professional Ethics: a systematic
comparison of students' and
ethicists' moral reasoning
University of Missouri­St Louis, USA
University of Pittsburgh, USA
ABSTRACT This article provides a systematic analysis of the cognitive processes required for
acquiring skill in practical ethical reasoning in a professional domain. We undertook this
NSF-supported research project in part to study relationships between case-based instruction in
professional ethics and cognitive analyses of ethical reasoning strategies. Using a web-based
experimental design, we report striking differences in the students' and ethicists' use of knowledge
and reasoning. Virtually all of the ethicists and some students' protocols made signi cant use
of specialized professional knowledge and also used role-speci c content in the ethical principles
applied in their responses. In contrast, other student protocols made signi cantly more use of
common knowledge and applied more general ethical principles or appealed to consequences in
the justi cation of their responses. Our analyses show how certain strategies were superior to
others in regard to identifying alternative moral issues, assessing the moral implications of


Source: Ashley, Kevin D. - Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences