M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentDavid Arba
SubjectValues and Ethical Considerations among High School
Students: Comparison between Students Majoring in
Technological and Scientific Subjects
and Students Majoring in...
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisors Full Professors Waks Shlomo
Full Professors Hazzan Orit
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Scientific findings indicate that human's ethical world plays a significant part in decisions dealing with education and occupation. Contemporary studies of science and futurism show that we move towards an era in which the rate of scientific and technological updates will be so fast and far-reaching that human existence will change irreversibly. In view of the above, one cannot help but wonder how these enormous human achievements will contribute to human's moral decisions. The generation we are now educating is the future generation and therefore questions arise regarding the world of values that guides their academic and professional choices from an early age.

The objective of this study is to examine the value scale and ethical considerations among high-school students. Students who chose to major technological and scientific subjects were compared with those who chose to major in the humanities. Gender differences were examined as well.

218 high school students, 11th and 12th graders took part in the study. The study used mixed methods, combining quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study tools included: Schwartz value questionnaire, ethical dilemma questionnaire composed as part of the current study, and 20 reflective interviews. Analyses of the Schwartz questionnaire yield the following findings: 1. Students majoring in technological and scientific subjects rate the meta-value of openness to change significantly lower than students who major in the humanities. 2. Students majoring in technological and scientific subjects rate the meta-value of conservation significantly higher than students who major in the humanities. 3. Female students rate the meta-value of self-enhancement significantly lower. 4. Male students rate the meta-value of openness significantly higher. 5. Female students rate the values of hedonism and power significantly lower.

Analysis of the dilemma questionnaire and interviews indicate differences in the ethical considerations of students majoring in technological-scientific subjects compared to students majoring in the humanities. Students from the technological-scientific group expressed greater openness with regard to using innovative developments. On the other hand, students majoring in the humanities were more conservative when it came to these developments. In the context of gender differences of this questionnaire, on most dilemmas, girl students resemble the overall findings, except a few single questions.