Children's views of basic concepts of morality
Cohen, Daphne M.
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This qualitative research study of a convenience sample of 11 seventh-grade students aged 11--12 examined participants' moral reasoning about vignettes involving departures from Judaism's Noahide Code of Morality. The setting of the study was a private, non-sectarian middle school in the New York City metropolitan area. The study gathered data via individual, in-depth interviews using an interview protocol and seven vignettes designed by the researcher (patterned after Piaget and Kohlberg's moral dilemmas in interviewing children) and corresponding to the seven Noahide Laws, and classroom observation to gather data. During individual interviews, participants responded to questions about situations and vignettes involving departures from Noahide Law designed to elicit information about their moral awareness and reasoning. Subsequent to the interviews, participants participated in a classroom discussion led by the school guidance counselor and observed by the researcher (classroom observation data). Data analysis looked for themes in the participants' discourse in order to (a) assess the extent to which their moral views are consistent with Noahide Law, and (b) understand the thought processes involved in arriving at a decision about moral behavior.