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The Professions

Project Update

The Professions project has undertaken extensive secondary analysis of data collected by the Jubilee Centre under its ‘Virtues in the Professions’ arm, bringing together into one dataset data collected with pre- and in-service teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, business and finance professionals and British Army soldiers and officers. This dataset is the first of its kind, and brings together responses to the professional and personal values that are important both to participants and to the professions they work in. The secondary analysis has identified the concept of professional purpose, and the research team are preparing a paper that considers participant responses regarding the predominance in importance of reported moral and intellectual virtues in pre- and in-service professionals and the reported sense of purpose in their professional work. The research team will then explore a second paper that considers the responses from participants to the moral dilemmas used in the research. The team have engaged professional bodies and regulators from across professions, beyond the 6 used in the previous studies, and discussed the notion of a ‘good’ and virtuous professional, regardless of profession, and the profession-specific context that often guides action and behaviour. The research team will seek to continue this engagement with professional bodies and regulators as the project progresses.

Project Overview

The Professions project will re-examine the wealth of data collected by previous Jubilee Centre research into the role of character and virtue in pre- and in-service professional practise and seek to make new recommendations which build upon those set out in previous reports, as well as collect new data. Bringing together the existing data into one large dataset will allow researchers to explore similarities and differences in character across professions by gender, stage of career, and other demographic factors. This re-analysis aims to inform both the pre- and in-service ethical training of professionals, both training that is particular to professions and more generic training relevant to all good professional practice.

Read our Virtue Insight blog, which introduces the project.

The project seeks to answer the following overarching research questions:

  • Are there similarities and differences in self-reported and perceived ideal character strengths between professions?
  • How do professionals’ subjective evaluations of their own character strengths, and those of the ideal professional, coincide with responses to ethical dilemmas and perceptions of their workplace conditions?
  •  What materials and practises are currently utilised with regards to in-service professional training in ethics and character?

Once a thorough secondary analysis of Jubilee Centre data on professional ethics has been undertaken, the findings will be used to inform professional practise. The project will seek to establish links with professional bodies to discuss the implications for professional practise. Along with collation of professional documents (e.g. mission statements, codes of practise, induction/ training procedures), the projects hope that engaging with professionals and professional bodies will uncover factors that may underpin virtuous practise within and across professions. The project seeks to develop intervention programmes to enhance virtuous practice in UK-based professions. These programmes may not be limited to CPD training for in-service professional practise, and could also target pre-service training and education systems.

If you have any further questions about this project, please contact Dr. Stephen Earl.

Download this summary by clicking the blue image at the top.