Get Help with Ethics Assignments

If you have an assignment related to ethics or ethical dilemmas, take a look at the information in this guide. For example, you may need to identify an ethical issue or situation, you may need to analyze an ethical situation presented by your instructor, or you may need to find sources to support an ethics assignment. 

What is Ethics?

In the most basic terms, ethics is a branch of philosophy which deals with an individual’s or community’s sense or judgment of what is right and wrong. Ethics is a study of how humans construct and apply moral principles and values individually or within their societies. Laws and regulations exist to help ensure compliance and provide structure within a society, but there is no way to codify or regulate the myriad ethical situations present in any business or community.
There are a variety of theories related to ethics, but there is general agreement on three main subject areas: metaethics (origin and meaning of ethical principles), normative ethics (establishing norms or moral principles for guiding right and wrong decisions or conduct), and applied ethics (application of ethical reasoning to difficult or controversial issues).

Normative ethics is typically considered to be made up of three branches: Virtue (with roots in ancient Greek philosophy), duty or deontology (based on principles of obligation), and consequentialism (conduct or responsibility is determined by weighing the consequences of our actions).

A little ethics humor

Calvin & Hobbes cartoon

[retrieved from http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2013/09/15/#.UyidNai8LQp]

Learn More About Ethics

Ethics is a broad and complex topic that spans across disciplines. To learn more about ethics and find definitions of ethics-related theories and theorists, use these recommended resources:

Example of an Ethical Issue

Bernie Madoff made history in December 2008 after U.S. federal agents arrested him for massive fraud in what has become known as the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff, a well-known investor and ex-NASDAQ chairman, incurred multi-billion-dollar losses that affected numerous victims, including friends, family, and organizations. Read more: View articles and e-books about the Madoff scandal and its repercussions. 

How to Identify an Ethical Situation or Topic

What should you consider when analyzing an ethical issue?

Here are some suggestions based on information provided by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ Framework for Ethical Decision Making. (Open link and scroll toward the bottom of the page to view the questions).

How to recognize ethical issues: Look at whether the decision could have damaging effects; consider whether there are good or bad alternatives.

Ensure you have the facts: What do you know? What do you still need to find out? When do you have enough information to make a decision?

Evaluate options: Consider the common good, the rights of people involved, potential harm caused, etc. 

Make and test decisions: Which option is best for the given situation? Would you feel comfortable sharing your decision and the decision-making process with others?

Take action and reflect: How will you implement the decision? What did you learn?

 

Get more help with your analysis and see case examples on these websites:

Locate Ethics-Related Sources for Assignments

Consider keywords related to ethics and the issues you are exploring.

What other keywords can you think of besides the ones listed below? What keywords can you think of that are related specifically to your assignment?

  • accountability
  • conduct
  • ethical decision making
  • ethical leadership
  • integrity
  • morals
  • oversight
  • social responsibility
  • stakeholders
  • theories and theorists (for example, John Rawls or Immanuel Kant)
  • values
  • virtue

Where to search for sources to help you support your ethics assignments: 

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