Developing Viable Options
Back to SET home page Revised - 23 April, 2011 08:39 AM
Before attempting to develop the three viable options required for your ethics case analysis, you MUST be certain to carefully read your assigned case and IDENTIFY the key question/s to be answered.
Only after that has been done can you consider and develop the three best viable options. The options identified must focus on and answer the key question/s, not any others. Too often students develop possible solutions to the ethical dilemma that address other issues, not the key question/s posed in the problem statement.
For example, the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) case asks whether there should be federal funding or not of embryonic stem cell research. Although the two fundamental options are "yes there should be federal funding" or "no there should not be funding", there are obviously possible solutions which are between those two extremes.
When considering which viable options to list and consider, you must take into account the possible impact of each solution on the stakeholders identified and identify the three options to include in your paper based on the likelihood that they will have the most positive impact on the largest number of stakeholders.
Again using the ESCR ethical case, a possible viable solution cannot be "to find another way to harvest stem cells instead of extracting them from human embryos."
If, for example, you considered eliminating all federal funding for ESCR which destroys human embryos as one option, you might mention that research should continue using stem cells obtained in a way which does not destroy a human embryo but there would obviously be no basis on which to assume that some other technique would be successful, not matter how much you wanted that to happen.
Although many would prefer to find a less controversial way to produce stem cells which could be used to correct many medical maladies, there does not appear to be much support in the scientific community that another way will be discovered soon. That doesn't mean research into alternate ways to produce stem cells should not move forward. Only that there is not the expectation that any major breakthroughs are on the horizon.
The same approach should be used when developing viable options for each of the other two ethical dilemma cases.
The evaluation of your paper will be based on the extent to which you address the key question/s of the ethical dilemma, the analysis of all the background information, as well as the rationale you develop and apply in identifying the "best" option.
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