Factors Affecting Science Instructors', Science Undergraduate Students', and Non-Science Undergraduate Students' Perceptions of Bioethical Decision-Making

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashley Lytle (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library
Rebecca Bullard-Dillard

Abstract: Bioethics is important for a variety of fields and for a variety of reasons. There is renewedinterest in bioethics and bioethical decision-making, especially in bioscience with the advent of new discoveries such as genetic engineering. By examining the possible factors and the participants’ reasoning behind their ethical decisions, bioethics educational courses or training can be customized to fill in knowledge gaps of both students and professors. This knowledge will also provide a more well-rounded thought process that includes understanding other viewpoints when making important bioethical decisions. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors and ethical approaches that affect bioethical decision-making in undergraduate students and science professors (physics, geology, geography, biology, chemistry) at a regional comprehensive university in the Southeastern U.S. A bioethical survey based on an international survey on bioethics by Macer was administered online to undergraduate students with a return rate of approximately 2%. Additionally, this survey was administered to science professors with a return rate of approximately 28%. Interviews were conducted from volunteers on the survey to determine possible ethical approaches to specific answers. The survey data was analyzed first using a series of two-way ANOVAS comparing participant type, gender, religion, ethnicity, and age. These findings were further explored through an analysis of the interviews. Adjustments were made as necessary based on the interview data. It was found that participant type and gender were significant when making bioethical decisions. Ethical approaches yielded patterns with specific answers by revealing the common and uncommon reasoning processes. Additionally, experience with bioethics and bioscience topics positively correlated with acceptance or approval of bioethical scenarios such as genetic modification. These results revealed that experiences and demographics such as gender did affect attitudes and could be used to possibly predict decisions of certain populations, so awareness of these factors and alternative viewpoints are important to consider when discussing or teaching about bioethics. These findings validate that bioethics and bioethical decision-making needs to be included across the educational spectrum.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Bioethics, Ethics, University, Undergraduate, Science ,

Email this document to