A Critical Realist Investigation Into The Development Of Engineering Ethics Education in Ireland

Diana Adela Martin, Eddie Conlon, Brian Bowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The paper reflects on the use of critical realism as a theoretical lens for examining the provision of ethics in engineering programmes and putting forward recommendations for the development of engineering ethics education. It is based on a large scale 4-year mixed methods study in which 23 engineering programmes from 6 higher education institutions in Ireland participated. The methods used include documentary analysis of programme documents, course syllabus and accreditation reports, interviews with instructors and members of accreditation panels, participant observation at accreditation events and a descriptive statistical analysis of the numerical grade used by engineering programmes to self-assess their provision of ethics. The paper addresses two research questions: 1) what are the key challenges in the provision of engineering ethics education, considering the 23 programmes analysed? 2) what recommendations emerge to address these challenges? To respond to the research questions, given the stratified ontology presupposed by critical realism, the research study focused on 4 different levels of analysis: individuals (engineering ethics teachers), institutions (engineering programmes) and policy (national accreditation body). The main insight of the paper is that change strategies need to address all levels and treat them as intertwined in order to develop comprehensively the education for engineering ethics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 2023 - 51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
Subtitle of host publicationEngineering Education for Sustainability, Proceedings
EditorsGer Reilly, Mike Murphy, Balazs Vince Nagy, Hannu-Matti Jarvinen
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Pages883-891
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-287352026-7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2023: Engineering Education for Sustainability - TU Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Sept 202314 Sept 2023
https://www.sefi2023.eu/

Conference

Conference51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2023
Abbreviated titleSEFI-Conference 2023
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period11/09/2314/09/23
Internet address

Keywords

  • Change in engineering education
  • Critical realism
  • Engineering education research methodology
  • Engineering ethics

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