Paper instructions ‘case study’
In the first paper, you are asked to describe the case, identify the agents involved and their interests, offer at least two different possibilities for solution with comprehensive theoretical support, and then propose a solution to the case with a theoretical evaluation of why this is the best action. The best cases are the ones from your own past. Cases that made you uncomfortable or ones that were troubling to you, other staff members or troubling to patients or families make the best papers. They are easier to write than cases from books or articles. However, I do not care where your case comes from, you can get one from a book or online or make one up.
Please note, I will be carefully evaluating the defense of the position that you do not support as a solution. So it is important to give comprehensive theoretical analysis for the action you do not propose as a solution.
Each ethical theory has its strengths and weaknesses. Many theories are immature or incomplete. But they are the best we have at the present. So, in your papers, you are not expected to make the theory better (more mature or more well developed). But you are expected to use it accurately – even if it does not explain or ‘solve’ the dilemma as well as you would like. You are not graded on how well the theory ‘fits’ the case or the policy. It may support one side of the issue much better than the other side. You are being graded on how well you apply the theory (with its strengths and weaknesses) to the case or policy. Most students find that Principles Theory by Beauchamp and Childress is good for analyzing the case study and then find that the Utilitarian Theory works well for the policy paper analysis.
Your reference list will be evaluated. It will be evaluated for use of top notch journals in differing fields (Hastings Center Report, J of Medicine & Philosophy, J of Clinical Ethics, Image JAMA, NEJM, Am J of Critical Care). You should have references for the topic as well as the theoretical framework you are using. It is OK to use articles that are older than 5 years because in ethics many topics are popular for awhile and then you don’t see them in the literature for awhile. Use computer searches, especially Pub Med searches.
Outline for your papers:
Abstract: (See the discussion of abstracts in the APA manual.)
Description of case/policy
Theoretical analysis of case/policy
Short description of the theory to be used
Statement and analysis of position the theory doesnot support well
Usethe same theoretical framework
Statement and analysis of position the theory does support
Use the same theoretical framework
(You may find two different solutions that can be supported by your theory.)
(You may also find that the theory you have chosen only supports one solution
well. If this is the case, state that and then say which other theory would support
the position you hold to be the correct solution to the case or policy analysis.)
Summary and conclusion