Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 265–286 | Cite as

Case-Based Knowledge and Ethics Education: Improving Learning and Transfer Through Emotionally Rich Cases

  • Chase E. ThielEmail author
  • Shane Connelly
  • Lauren Harkrider
  • Lynn D. Devenport
  • Zhanna Bagdasarov
  • James F. Johnson
  • Michael D. Mumford


Case-based instruction is a stable feature of ethics education, however, little is known about the attributes of the cases that make them effective. Emotions are an inherent part of ethical decision-making and one source of information actively stored in case-based knowledge, making them an attribute of cases that likely facilitates case-based learning. Emotions also make cases more realistic, an essential component for effective case-based instruction. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of emotional case content, and complementary socio-relational case content, on case-based knowledge acquisition and transfer on future ethical decision-making tasks. Study findings suggest that emotional case content stimulates retention of cases and facilitates transfer of ethical decision-making principles demonstrated in cases.


Case-based knowledge Case-based learning Emotion Ethical decision-making Sensemaking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chase E. Thiel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shane Connelly
    • 2
  • Lauren Harkrider
    • 1
  • Lynn D. Devenport
    • 1
  • Zhanna Bagdasarov
    • 1
  • James F. Johnson
    • 1
  • Michael D. Mumford
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Center for Applied Social ResearchUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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