Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
This study examines student designers’ descriptions of ethical decision-making in design work, charting how their ethical reasoning shifts throughout the course of the design process. Additionally, this project extends the utility of reflexive principlism (Beever & Brightman, 2016) as a data analytical device. Reflexive principlism “is an approach to ethical decision-making that focuses on internalizing a reflective and iterative process of specification, balancing, and justification of four core ethical principles in the context of specific cases” (Beever & Brightman, 2016, p. 275). Rather than using reflexive principlism as a prescriptive device for developing ethical reasoning in engineer students, we apply the core tenets of reflexive principlism as an analytical tool to explicate ethical reasoning in design.
Participants for this study included students enrolled in a curricular, service-learning student design program. We conducted semi-structured interviews with students of four design classes across three semesters, resulting in 103 total interviews. In order to capture a range of respondents who participated for multiple semesters in one project, we sampled 13 students and their 30 interviews from this larger dataset.
Using reflexive principlism, we trace how students’ ethical reasoning shifts throughout the design stages of problem identification, specification development, conceptual design, detailed design, and delivery. The findings also indicate that students who engage more directly with end users also engage in more ethical reflexivity. Given engineering educators’ interest in developing ethically competent future engineers, this project provides description of how students engage in these processes as well as direction for engineering educators seeking to cultivate critical ethical reasoning skills among their undergraduate students.
Corple, D., & Torres, D. H., & Zoltowski, C. B., & Miller, K. E., & Kenny Feister, M., & Buzzanell, P. M. (2018, June), Understanding Ethical Reasoning in Design Through the Lens of Reflexive Principlism Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://www.jee.org/31175
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