GENERAL GUIDELINES – FINAL (RESEARCH) ESSAY
• The Research Essay: Again, students are required to develop an 8 to 10 PAGE investigative essay based on possible topics in the field of biomedical ethics found at the end of this section.
The final research paper applies ethical theories studied in class to a concrete biomedical issue. Here
are some of the theories that qualify for the project: natural law theory, social contract theory,
utilitarianism, Kantianism (deontology), and virtue theory. Examples of topics that qualify for the paper
are listed below. You are not limited to these topics. However, run topics outside of these past the
instructor before beginning work.
Drawing upon those theories, the student will prepare a written (6 to 8 page typed MLA, APA or CMS style pages) paper that addresses these current moral problems. Of importance is the
student’s ability to use ethical reasoning to formulate reflective positions on some of the more
pressing moral problems in contemporary society. Papers without this element tend to score at best a
low B or C. The paper is graded for the following items:
I. Introduction (15 points): Tell me in ONE sentence what your paper will discuss. The
introduction may be composed of more than one sentence, but your thesis statement can
only be one sentence long and must be identifiable as such. For example, this sentence
might read like: “This paper examines the topic of the Death Penalty from both a utilitarian
deontological viewpoint and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.”
The grade in this section also reflects whether the paper was written well with attention to
syntax, consistent paragraphing indents, proper citation style, and length.
II. History of topic (15 points): set the context for the moral issue from 1960 onward. Do NOT
go back earlier without checking with the instructor first.
III. Pro/Con (20 points): what are the conflicting sides around the issue? Please note using
websites like procon.org to set up this issue generally reduces the grade in this section.
Look for journal and newspaper articles that summarize the positions. These are better and
more nuanced treatments of the conflicting sides.
IV. Application of ethical theories (30 points): I am looking for TWO treatments of the issue
from two ethical approaches studied during the term. These should be in depth because
this section is worth thirty points.
V. Personal Conclusion (20 points): In this last section argue for your personal analysis and
thoughts on the issue. Make sure this section receives the treatment and development it
YOU MUST TITLE THE SECTION OF YOUR ESSAY WITH THE FOLLOWING FIVE SECTION TITLES OR LOSE 5
POINTS. THUS, EVERY ESSAY WILL HAVE SECTION HEADINGS WITH THESE TITLES:
INTRODUCTION, HISTORY OF TOPIC, PRO/CON, APPLICATION OF ETHICAL THEORIES, PERSONAL
Title of paper
Should the death penalty be legal?
Please write paper from the view point of theories Utilitarianism and Deontology.
The paper must be 8 to 10 pages APA Style format not including the cover and reference page.
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