Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael F. Burnett


The purpose of the study was to identify the components and sub-components that should be included in an ethics enhancement program for a state legislature, as perceived by a national panel of experts in the areas of legislative ethics. A Delphi panel comprised of state legislators and state ethics officers was established and comprised of persons representing each of the four regions of the United States. In Round One of the study, the panel identified 12 primary components and 124 related sub-components for an ethics enhancement program in a state legislature. Each of the suggested items were unique and nearly all were suggested by more than one panelist. In Round Two, the Delphi panel used a five point anchored scale to rate the importance of 12 primary components and 124 sub-components identified by the Delphi panel in Questionnaire # One. All 12 components were rated important, four were rated moderately important, seven of them substantially important, and one highly important. In Round Three of the study, members of the panel were presented with a report of his or her rating of importance for each item, and with the mean rating of each item. Each was asked to review previous ratings and consider changing their rating on those items he or she was not in consensus with the mean rating of the entire panel. Consensus was operationally defined as when more than 51% of the members of the panel rated a component or sub-component within plus or minus one rating point of the mean rating of the panel. By this definition, a consensus was reached on all 12 components and 124 related sub-components. The major recommendation coming from the study was that an ethics enhancement program for each state be undertaken, and should begin with a Delphi study, using the data gathered from Questionnaire # One in this study as a "seed" document in the proposed study. Also included in the enhancement program for each state would be a mandatory training program for new legislators, and an ongoing continuing education in ethics for all legislators.