By the end of the course, you will write an ethics paper in which you will provide a solution to a problem related to topic in your field of study. (Refer to Part III of your textbook to learn more about ethics in different professions). Your argument will be constructed according to the principles of critical thinking and will apply one ethics theory (utilitarian, deontological, virtue ethics, ethics of care, etc.).
The paper that you will prepare in our ethics class is different from other papers. Here, you are NOT writing a research paper, and you are not writing a paper to convince or to persuade an audience. Rather, you are writing a paper in which you are finding a solution for a problem by using critical thinking and by applying one of the ethics theories so that the solution that you offer is rational and ethically sound.
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Ethical Research Paper: Final Paper
Your finished paper has to have seven sections (this is in addition to the title and reference page):
Identify the problem. (Define the ethical issue.) Be sure to include a thesis statement.
Clarify Concepts. (Define key terms, the context in which these terms are being used, etc.)
Identify possible solutions to the problem. (What are the main positions taken on the issue regarding solutions?)
Gather information. (Descriptive ethics. What is known about the issue? For instance, in the case of the death penalty, when is it used, how often, who typical receives the penalty, how long before it is administered, what is the result of use of this penalty, etc?)
Examine assumptions and points of view. (Do the various arguments hold up?)
Moral reasoning/Philosophy. (In your opinion which solution is most ethical? Explain your thinking by supporting your stance based on one of the ethical theories.)
Consequences (What would be the results of your solution? What are the social responsibilities connected to the solution?)
Let us take a closer look at each of the sections:
Identify the problem.
(Define the ethical issue). Begin by thinking of a problem in today’s world for which you can find a solution. The most promising topics will be controversial and will allow you to conduct thorough research. This should be a topic related to your field of study.
While it is helpful to choose an area in which you are interested, it is NOT helpful to choose a topic about which you are emotional—remember you are asked to use critical thinking rather than feelings and emotions to solve the problem. One example could be: some patients may find help from their pain if they were given marijuana—but, marijuana is an illegal substance.
(Define key terms, the context in which these terms are being used, etc.)
This is a VERY short section of your paper; you merely introduce the terminology that your audience needs to understand in the context of your paper. Example: Marijuana is…, the active ingredient in marijuana is called…,
Identify possible solutions to the problem. (What are the main positions taken on the issue regarding solutions?) This is another relative short section in which you state the two most prominent rational solutions to the question whether marijuana should become legal for medical purposes. Example: a) Marijuana is a dangerous drug that should remain illegal, b) Marijuana can help patients and should be available to them.