Toward programmatic research on virtue assessment: Challenges and prospects

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Poor construct definition has characterized research on virtue, beginning with Hartshorne and May’s honesty studies and continuing to the present. Recently, scholars have begun to define virtues in ways that improve the prospects for measuring virtue constructs, but a coordinated, programmatic approach is necessary for success in virtue measurement. A brief overview of the construct of virtue includes six key elements that can structure virtue assessment design. Recent research on the trait/situation problem suggests that situational factors do not obviate traits. Veridicality issues such as social desirability and positive illusions are significant challenges for self-report virtue measurement. In summary self-report measures, these challenges can be met with a number of methods, including directly assessing social desirability and item construction to remove social desirability. These challenges can also be met using other-reports, experience sampling, or experimental procedures. A brief discussion of construct validity in virtue measurement leads to the conclusion that many studies with a variety of methods are necessary to establish valid measures of virtue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-328
Number of pages20
JournalTheory and Research in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Character
  • eudaimonia
  • measurement
  • situationism
  • virtue


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