Ethical Dilemma Paper

This position paper should follow standard guidelines for a research paper following the Chicago Manual of Style using endnotes, not parenthetical references. The research paper should be at least 15 pages. You should have at least 4-5 references, but the research does not need to be exhaustive.

The topic of the paper should be an ethical dilemma of your choosing which can be drawn from the following contexts: local, state, federal, or international (e.g., the U.N., or the E.U.); the military, medicine, non-profit business, privatized government business, government-funded research, criminal justice, education, or the presence of religion in  public life.  An ethical dilemma can be described as a situation or decision which does not yield a "cost-free" solution. In other words, any solution has difficulties or sacrifices associated with it. (This does not mean, however, that there is not one best solution.)

The topic for the paper, as with the thesis of any research paper, should be as focused as possible. The paper topic must be approved by your instructor.

 After you select a topic you should then apply one of the ethical theories we are studying as a way to resolve your ethical dilemma and justify your decision.  The problem you select can be as broad as a question of modern warfare tactics, or as specific as the use of questionable budgetary practices in your workplace. Once again, you must obtain approval for your topic.

An important, although somewhat intangible component of this paper should be the imagination you put into it. For example, a ‘run of the mill” paper on abortion (even if it were approved) is not nearly so imaginative and insightful as a topic that is not so “overdone.” For this reason, your instructor will not give you a topic for the paper because recognizing and articulating the questions for this type of paper is at least half the challenge.

Your paper should be organized under Roman numeral headings corresponding to the outline below.

This is the outline for the ethical dilemma paper:

I. Description of Ethical Dilemma:
In this section you should clearly describe the dilemma including a discussion of the background and history of the problem.

II. Ethical Theory:
In this section you should identify and briefly summarize the one theory you will apply to the problem

III. Application:
This section should contain a thorough application of the theory to the problem, demonstrating how your theory can resolve this problem. This section is usually the most difficult for students, and the most frequently ignored.

IV. Conclusion:
You should conclude by briefly acknowledging other possible solutions to the ethical dilemma, but demonstrating why they would not be acceptable according to the theory you have chosen.

Note: Please refer to the guidelines in the Book Review Guidelines for a discussion of formatting requirements and recommendations on sources.


© Hank Edmondson 2012