Ethical Case Analysis Assignment
Return to Dr. Edelbach's SET Home Page        Revised -  December 9, 2013

The information on this page was designed to help students complete this assignment. Please review it periodically while working on the activity. 
If there are any questions or suggestions, contact Dr. Edelbach at  or  X 2783.

Assignment Due Dates:   see below for details about each section of this paper.

        Preliminary Materials - to be submitted on the following dates via email as MSWord file and hardcopy in class:
       Chapter I    -  Introduction  -  see
Ethics Case Assignments for all due dates 
       Chapter II   -  Issues  - 
see Ethics Case Assignments for all due dates
       Chapter III -  Options - 
see Ethics Case Assignments for all due dates  

    Final Paper:
    MSWord ONLY file via email  - Last day of class - before you class meeting (see
Ethics Case Assignments )
    Final Paper File Name Format  -  Jone-A-ethics-Fall2013.docx    ( last name-SET section-ethics-current semester.docx )

Readings & Study Information:

     Ethics Cases - Descriptions                 Case Assignments

Prepare your paper according to the guidelines below. If you have any questions, get back to me for clarification.

Objective of this assignment:

This assignment has been designed to provide the opportunity for each student to use an analytical decision-making process to make a choice. Although you might have a personal option based on past experiences or what you have been taught or believe, YOU ARE TO PUT THOSE PERSONAL VIEWS ASIDE FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS ASSIGNMENT.

The option you ultimately choose as being the "BEST" should be the one supported by the evidence you have considered using ethical principles as covered in the Applying Moral Theories book by C. E. Harris (3rd Edition). It is suggested that the information contained in this book be used for this assignment although similar concepts from other sources may also be consulted and used. It is most important that your decision be made primarily on the basis of the rationale developed in your paper and not previously held personal beliefs.

The following information MUST be carefully reviewed and used
    when completing this assignment.

"Applying Moral Theories" C. E. Harris, 3rd Edition, Wadsworth Publishing,   1997  
A number of copies of this book are on 2 hour reserve in the library under my name if you cannot obtain a copy elsewhere. You may also borrow a copy directly from me to use for a few days.  The readings below will provide the background information necessary to complete this assignment.

        Chapter                Title                                             Pages

            1.        Concept in Ethical Discourse                       11 - 12
            2.        The Ethics of Egoism                                  74 - 80
        The Ethics of Natural Law             
             97 - 108
            4.        The Ethics of Utilitarianism                      126 - 139
        The Ethics of Respect for Persons          156 - 172
        Applying the Four Moral Theories          191 to 194

 Paper Format: Follow these guidelines when preparing the assignment.    

  1. When you prepare this paper, assume the reader has no familiarity with either your case or relevant ethical principles.
  2. USE ONLY MSWord  to prepare this paper.   Times New Roman type face, 11 pt type, Single line spacing with 1" margins and 3 pt extra space after paragraphs.  The approximate length of the paper should be 4 to 6 pages, excluding title page, TOC, bibliography, etc
  3. Submit paper ONLY as a MSWord file attachment to an email.  The file name should be: 
        SET Section-Last Name-Ethics-Semester-Year.docx
        Example:    B-Smith-Ethics-Fall 2013.docx  Paper
    copies are NOT to be submitted.
  4. Include title page with the standard information:  Title of Paper, Your name and email address, SET section, IDS 252, and date.
  5. List the major chapters and as well as the major section headings in the table of contents along with the paper numbers. DIVIDE the paper into CHAPTERS AND SECTIONS with headings in paper. Each page, beginning with the title page, must be numbered and headings used where appropriate.
  6. Include a brief description in your own words of this case as part of the introduction along with a clear statement of the problem to be solved and issues discussed.
  7. Identify the facts of the case, stakeholders, and major issues involved
  8. Propose AT LEAST 3 VIABLE OPTIONS or solutions for this dilemma. Clearly state each option first and then explain it in detail. Viable option must be something you will do that will achieve the desired result, not something you hope will be effective.  Each option should consider the likely impact of that decision on key stakeholders.
  9. Follow the basic steps of ethical decision making process.
  10. Discuss and build on the appropriate ethical theories when evaluating the various options presented. Developing and using some type of "SCORING" system to help determine which option appears to be the "best" one is highly recommended.
  11. Make certain to use footnotes to indicate where you got specific information or statements in your paper using a standard citation style. Review this web page to make certain you are following the rules when including information in your paper from other sources.  

12  Select the "BEST" solution ONLY AFTER careful consideration of each option relative to the fundamental ethical principles. Base your choice of the "BEST" solution on which ethical principles are applicable and paramount. 
   NOTE: DO NOT use an "expressive" moral response level or rationale to explain your choice.

  1. Your paper must consult and incorporate elements from at least 6 current references, half from the web, related to the assigned case. List references used in bibliography and include footnotes (APA style) where appropriate. You may also include HYPERLINKS to web materials in your paper.

It is CRITICAL that the ethical theory appropriate to the "reflective" and "philosophical" levels of moral response be used in weighing the various options PRIOR to selecting the "BEST" solution.

The paper should cover the topic sufficiently so that a person with no prior knowledge can understand it. Be concise and clear in your writing. Approximate length should be 4 to 6 pages, EXCLUDING the title page, TOC, bibliography, etc.

Grading:  The paper will be graded on the following criteria:

  1. Organization and writing
  2. Alternative solutions and possible impacts
  3. Ethical decision making process
  4. Incorporation of "Ethical Theories."

This assignment counts for 20 % of your final course grade

Organization of Paper -

Title Page - containing all normal information:  Paper title, name, date, course, class section, semester, and date submitted

Table of Contents: include page numbers of all sections listed in TOC

Chapter I.   Introduction - A brief overview of the case in your own words sufficient for a person with no background in this subject to understand what you will be covering in this paper and why it is an important issue today.

Chapter II.  Issues - details about the case including:

A. Facts - what are the relevant facts involved in this case and how important are they? If you feel any essential facts are missing, develop reasonable ones, noting that in the paper. You must include at least 2 references to related and important current events which occurred within the last 6 months and were reported in the news. The APA citation format is recommended as it is the easiest to use.

B. Stakeholders - what groups/individuals will be affected by  the decision ultimately made and why? Is there a way or ways in which the impact might be mitigated? List in order of importance with the most important group listed first.

Chapter III.   Options -  Identify and describe at least THREE VIABLE, alternative solutions or policies which would resolve this dilemma.

A. Explain the options in sufficient detail to help the reader understand what is being proposed and how each option is likely to impact the stakeholders.   DO NOT IDENTIFY OR PICK THE "BEST" OPTION at this point!  That doesn't happen until chapter VI. 

B. A viable option is not something which MIGHT WORK at some future time or one which individuals HOPE will solve the problem sometime.

C. A viable option is something which can be implemented, given our form of government and other factors such as economic considerations.

D. The resources to follow through on the option must be available. "Studying" or "investigating" something is NOT a viable option.

Chapter IV.  Evaluation of Options - determine which of the four moral standards apply to each option and their impact on each stakeholder group. Consider various ethical issues discussed during seminars as well as the AMT text. The ethical arguments MUST be based on either "PRE-REFLECTIVE" or "REFLECTIVE" levels of moral responses as reviewed in class, NOT THE "EXPRESSIVE" level.

( When analyzing your ethical case, it is especially important to keep in mind the six items covered in the AMT text,  pages 192 to 194 of the 3rd edition and pages 199 to 202 of the 4th edition.)

It is recommended that you develop and use a scale such as   3 = very important,  2 = important,    1 = little importance,  to rate each argument in number IV above.  This type of  rating system does not have to be used but you must decide which arguments are the most relevant in deciding which solution is the "best" and most appropriate one to choose!

 Including a table to show how you reached your final decision is usually very helpful to the reader in understanding your thought process.

The decision-making process does not become objective just because numbers are assigned to each argument however  it will make it easier to demonstrate to the reader the relative importance you assigned  to each argument and how you made your final decision.

Naturally, why the particular values were assigned to each  argument must be carefully and thoroughly explained. Numbers alone are not sufficient.

Chapter V. MAKE THE DECISION - based on the importance assigned to each argument, select the "BEST" one in terms of its relative importance and explain why you feel the option chosen was the appropriate one. Since all stakeholder groups will be affected by your decision, how do you justify the differential impacts which are bound to result? It is not likely this will be a “win-win” situation for all or even any options. You must clearly convey why you feel your decision is justifiable and “the best one.”

References - You must consult and incorporate information from at least four (4) current references, half from the web, related to your assigned. List references used in bibliography and include footnotes/citations where appropriate using the APA style.


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