Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Engineering


Experiential Engineering Education


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Bodnar, Cheryl

Committee Member 1

Dahm, Kevin

Committee Member 2

Farrell, Stephanie


engineering education, moral reasoning, process safety, undergraduate


Safety education, Industrial; Engineering ethics


Chemical Engineering | Engineering Education


The purpose of this study was to develop and validate an instrument that can measure how senior chemical engineering students make process safety decisions. The Engineering Process Safety Research Instrument (EPSRI) contains dilemmas that represent process safety scenarios, followed by three decision options, and 12-15 considerations that fall into pre-conventional, conventional, or post-conventional forms of reasoning. Three studies were completed as a part of this research. The content validation study ensured the dilemmas represented process safety scenarios, the considerations matched their perceived theoretical definitions, and that no content areas were omitted. This study resulted in validation of the content, following the elimination of one dilemma and eleven considerations. The large scale validation study determined the number of underlying latent variables present on the instrument including the correlation between considerations on a factor. The instrument was not able to be fully validated, but resulted in the elimination of one dilemma and six considerations with 22 considerations being revised for further study. The think aloud protocol with the EPSRI determined how students were classified based on their EPSRI scores, and their moral reasoning approaching these dilemmas. From this study, it was found that senior chemical engineering students mainly applied post-conventional reasoning, despite all the students not being classified as post-conventional based on their EPSRI responses.