Ethics Worksheet for Case Studies
(Based on worksheet by Thomas H. Bivins, University of Oregon.)
1. What is the ethical issue/problem, in one sentence? State this in the form of an ethical question a media practitioner would need to consider.
2. What facts have the most bearing on the ethical decision you must render in this case? Note: facts do not include ethical judgments at this point.
3. Are there any other external or internal factors to be considered? (Economic, political, etc.)
4. Who are the claimants and in what way are you obligated to each of them? (List all affected by your decision.)
5. What are the operant ideals?Note: ideals are values and behaviors based on them.
For the client/organization/profession.
6. Do any of these ideals conflict? In what order would you honor them?
7. What are your options, and which would be favored by each affected party? (List at least three.)
8. Which options could cause harm to any claimant?
9. Would honoring any of the ideals listed above invalidate any of your options?
10. Are there any rules, principles or codes (legal, professional, organizational, or other) that automatically invalidate any of your options?
11. Which ethical theories support or reject which options? Explain.
Mill's "Harm Principle."
Utilitarianism or risk-benefit analysis.
Kant's "Categorical Imperative."
Other duties (religious, etc.).
12. Determine a course of action based on your analysis.
13. Defend your decision in writing to your most adamant detractor.