Would you welcome a Refugee?
Would you welcome or help a refugee? was the topic of this year’s winner of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS, Dublin. It also received an award from Trinity College Dublin for “raising awareness of our role as global citizens.”
Fifth year students, Thomas Gomes, Donnacha Henchy and Jack Murthagh from Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick wanted to see if secondary school students, college students, and adults have any bias for or against refugees and migrants in their moral decision making.
To test this they had a sample of over 1,000 people and used an experimental and control questionnaire with ten moral dilemmas involving hypothetical everyday-life situations. One of their findings was that girls were more likely to help refugees and migrants than boys. It was also discovered that single sex schools were more likely to help than co-educational schools, and fee paying schools were more likely to help than non-fee paying schools.
Significantly, adults were most likely to help refugees which is supported by Kohlberg’s theory of cognitive development that as people progress through the different stages of moral development, they become more cognitively able to resolve conflict.
Overall, the project showed that people were more likely to help refugees and migrants than local, white persons in need.
The boys explained more to Pat Coyle.