Assessing veterinary and animal science students' moral judgment development on animal ethics issues

Verrinder, Joy M. and Phillips, Clive J. C. (2015) Assessing veterinary and animal science students' moral judgment development on animal ethics issues. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 42 3: 206-216. doi:10.3138/jvme.0215-022R

Author Verrinder, Joy M.
Phillips, Clive J. C.
Title Assessing veterinary and animal science students' moral judgment development on animal ethics issues
Journal name Journal of Veterinary Medical Education   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0748-321X
Publication date 2015-09-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3138/jvme.0215-022R
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 42
Issue 3
Start page 206
End page 216
Total pages 11
Place of publication Toronto, ON Canada
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Language eng
Subject 3304 Education
3400 Veterinary
Abstract Little has been done to assess veterinarians' moral judgment in relation to animal ethics issues. Following development of the VetDIT, a new moral judgment measure for animal ethics issues, this study aimed to refine and further validate the VetDIT, and to identify effects of teaching interventions on moral judgment and changes in moral judgment over time. VetDIT-V1 was refined into VetDIT-V2, and V3 was developed as a post-intervention test to prevent repetition. To test these versions for comparability, veterinary and animal science students (n=271) were randomly assigned to complete different versions. The VetDIT discriminates between stages of moral judgment, condensed into three schemas: Personal Interest (PI), Maintaining Norms (MN), and Universal Principles (UP). There were no differences in the scores for MN and UP between the versions, and we equated PI scores to account for differences between versions. Veterinary science students (n=130) who completed a three-hour small-group workshop on moral development theory and ethical decision making increased their use of UP in moral reasoning, whereas students (n=271) who received similar information in a 50-minute lecture did not. A longitudinal comparison of matched first- and third-year students (n=39) revealed no moral judgment development toward greater use of UP. The VetDIT is therefore useful for assessing moral judgment of animal and human ethics issues in veterinary and other animal-related professions. Intensive small-group workshops using moral development knowledge and skills, rather than lectures, are conducive to developing veterinary students' moral judgment.
Keyword Ethics education
Ethics workshop
Moral judgment
Veterinary ethics
Animal ethics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 20 Sep 2015, 10:32:26 EST by System User on behalf of Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics