Environmental moral reasoning patterns of pre-service science teachers and their relationships to epistemological beliefs and values

Tuncay Yüksel, Büşra
The overarching purpose of this study was to examine environmental moral reasoning patterns of pre-service science teachers in relation to epistemological beliefs and values. To serve for this purpose, four scenarios that reflect different environmental moral dilemma situations taking place in four outdoor recreation contexts (i.e., hiking, picnicking, fishing, camping) were used. By its design, the study was a correlational research and data on environmental moral reasoning, epistemological beliefs, and values were collected quantitatively. 1524 pre-service science teachers enrolled in six public universities located in Central Anatolia Region of Turkey constituted the sample of the study. Path analysis was the data analysis technique used for examining the research questions. AMOS statistical package program was utilized for conducting the path analyses. Separate path models were specified for testing the predictability of environmental moral reasoning patterns that the participants expressed for each environmental moral dilemma scenario. Model fit indices indicated good fit between the specified path models and the study data. Nevertheless, proportions of the explained variances in the endogenous variables of the models could not reach large practical significance. Significance, direction, and magnitude of the relationships of environmental moral reasoning to epistemological beliefs and values showed changes depending on the dilemma context and the focus of environmental moral consideration, suggesting a dynamic nature with regard to the hypothesized relationships. All in all, findings of the study showed that environmental moral reasoning is a complex construct that is related to both personal characteristics of individuals and the issues that are under consideration.