Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Cory Forbes

Date of this Version



Petitt, D. (2018). A Comparative Study of the Role of Values in Reasoning about Socio-hydrological Issues in Undergraduate Students from Developed and Developing Countries. Masters Thesis, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Cory Forbes. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Destini N. Petitt


In a world that is becoming increasingly connected and exploited, it is essential to understand how students’ values influence socio-scientific reasoning, particularly when dealing with complex, multifaceted, ever-connected water-related issues. This research strives to better understand stakeholder reasoning to provide teachers and decision-makers with ways to implement those stakeholders’ ideals into choices about complex socio-hydrological issues. Moreover, with 96% of research behavioral research being conducted on peoples from developed countries – who only represent 17% of the world’s population – this study strives to understand how peoples from developing countries – who represent 83% of the world’s population – reason. For this study, I asked questions focusing on the values undergraduate students from developed and developing countries identify with, how those values are used in socio-hydrological reasoning, and if the quality of reasoning differs between the two groups. Results show a significant difference between the two groups’ value identification, as well as the use of those values in their socio-hydrological reasoning. Additionally there was a statically significant difference in the overall quality of reasoning between the two groups. This study begins to shed light on how students use their values in reasoning about socio-hydrological issues.

Advisor: Cory Forbes