How to Write an Ethics Paper or Essay With Tips and Examples

An ethics essay is one type of essays that students write to develop essential writing skills. When writing an ethics paper, students should understand that such an essay differs from other assignments in that it focuses on elaborating on issues with ethical or moral implications in philosophy. Basically, this elaboration entails writers arguing for a stand on an ethical or moral issue. Moreover, when writing an ethics essay, students should follow a basic essay structure: introduction-body-conclusion. In each of these sections, learners should capture critical elements, such as a thesis statement in the introduction part, topic sentences in body paragraphs, and a thesis restatement in the conclusion part. Hence, students need to learn how to write a good ethics paper or essay to demonstrate their knowledge in philosophy by using ethical and moral sides of an issue.

General Aspects of Writing an Ethics Paper or Essay

Academic writing is a broad discipline that exposes students to critical skills, including interpretation, explanation, reflection, and analysis. Basically, essay writing is one of the academic exercises that enable students to build these skills. In particular, one of the essay types that students write is a research paper in ethics. When writing ethics essays in philosophy, students address issues related to morality, such as aspects of right and wrong or good and bad. Then, such concepts of ethics and morals underlie the importance of the right behaviors. In various settings, such as workplaces, humans establish codes of ethics and conduct to guide behavior. Therefore, when writing an ethics paper, a student’s focus is on how humans embrace or disregard good morals in society.

How to write an ethics paper or essay

1. Defining Features or Characteristics of an Ethics Paper or Essay

Like all other types of essays, an ethics paper has features that define it as an academic text. To some extent, these features influence an essay structure of a paper. For example, the first feature is proof of the importance of a topic. In this case, students show this importance by constructing essay topics as challenging issues facing society, hence talking about it. Then, the second characteristic is a thesis statement that learners in philosophy formulate to shed light on a topic. Further on, the third feature is arguments that support a thesis, and the fourth characteristic is possible counterarguments. Moreover, the fifth feature is a rebuttal, where writers insist on the strengths of their arguments while acknowledging the counterarguments. In turn, the sixth characteristic is a sum-up of an ethics paper. Here, authors emphasize a thesis statement by justifying the arguments in its favor that they provide in a written document.

2. How Does an Ethics Paper Differ From Other Essays

There are many types of essays that students write under a discipline of philosophy. Basically, each essay type has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other papers. For an ethics essay, these characteristics include addressing an ethical issue, using an ethical lens to make arguments regarding a controversial matter, or explaining an ethical dilemma. Ideally, this type of paper focuses on elaborating on ethics and morality. In contrast, a narrative essay focuses on telling the writer’s story, while an informative essay focuses on educating the audience concerning a topic. Moreover, while some papers, like narrative or college application essays, utilize the first-person language, an ethics essay takes a formal approach of a third-person language.

3. How to Know if Students Need to Write an Ethics Paper or Essay

Generally, before students write some types of papers, they first consider the department or tutor’s requirements. Basically, these requirements can provide direct instructions, including a research topic, an essay outline, or a grading rubric. In this case, the latter helps students to understand the basic expectations of educational departments or tutors. Therefore, when students do not get direct instructions about their ethics topics, they can always know what type of essay they need to write by reading grading rubric requirements. For ethics papers, such prompts require students to take a stand on an issue of profound ethical or moral implications, such as fraud. In turn, key elements that tell students that they need to write an ethics paper or essay include providing an ethical argument, elaborating on an ethical dilemma, or expounding on ethical and legal implications.

4. How Students Know if They Need to Write an Ethics Paper by Looking at an Essay Topic

Students consider the instructions given by departments or tutors when writing essays. Basically, these instructions provide direction on essay topics that students should address when writing their papers. When writing an ethics paper, students can know that they need to write this type of essay by looking at the department or tutor’s topic. Moreover, this ethics topic may require learners to provide ethical arguments concerning a matter, elaborate on an ethical dilemma, or state whether an issue is ethical or legal. Hence, a central message of a topic should require students to address an issue via an ethical or moral lens.

5. The Meaning of an Ethical Argument, Ethical Dilemma, and Ethical v. Legal Implications

Key elements that define an ethics paper include ethical arguments, ethical dilemmas, and ethical and legal implications. For example, the term “ethical arguments” refers to a concept of taking a stand on an issue with ethical and moral implications and defending it. In this case, writers make ethical arguments to support their perspectives on an issue raising ethical or moral questions, such as fraud. Then, the term “ethical dilemma” refers to a situation that individuals find themselves whenever they face an issue raising ethical or moral questions, such as bribery. Also, authors are torn between two options with one option having severe ethical or moral implications. In turn, the term “ethical versus legal implications” refers to a situation where a writer has to decide whether an issue, such as bribery, needs an ethical or legal redress.

20 Examples of Ethics Topics for Writing Essays and Research Papers

  1. Soaps and Deodorants as Potential Causes of Breast Cancer.
  2. The Ethics and Legality of Child Adoption.
  3. The Pros and Cons of Taking Vitamin Supplements.
  4. Plastic Surgery and the Pursuit of Beauty.
  5. Human Cloning: Is it Ethical?
  6. Death Penalty: Key Pros and Cons.
  7. Abortion as an Intervention Against Teen Pregnancy.
  8. Is Voting a Moral or Legal Duty.
  9. Does Driving an Electric Car Indicate Responsible Citizenship?
  10. Social Media Use and Privacy.
  11. Should Schools Enact Anti-Bullying Policies?
  12. Does Social Media Use Enhance or Undermine Socialization?
  13. Combating Music Piracy: Should Governments Get Involved?
  14. Organic Foods versus Processed Foods: Which is Healthier?
  15. Global Warming and the Extinction of Animal and Plant Species
  16. Should Politics and Church Separate?
  17. Is It Justified to Bribe to Avoid a Legal Penalty?
  18. Should Nurses Be Allowed to Assist Terminally Ill Patients to End their Lives?
  19. Corporate Fraud: Who Should Take Responsibility?
  20. Is Corporate Social Responsibility a Humanitarian or Commercial Concept?

Writing Outline and Structure of an Ethics Paper or Essay

Like any other essay, an ethics paper follows a structure that underscores its outline. Basically, this structure comprises three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. When writing these sections, students must ensure they address all the essential defining features stated previously in their ethics essays or papers. When doing so, writers should confirm that the introduction and conclusion sections take 10 percent of the total word count of an ethics paper or essay, while the body, which is the main text, should be 80 percent. Hence, an essay outline of an ethics paper should look as below:

I. Introduction

A. Hook sentence.
B. Background information on an ethical dilemma.
C. Writer’s claim – a thesis statement.

II. Body Paragraphs

A. Argument

  • state a position of an argument;
  • support this position with evidence;
  • explain how this evidence is right toward this argument and evidence;
  • conclude why this argument is valid.

B. Counterargument

  • provide a counterargument to a position in the first body paragraph;
  • include evidence that supports this counterargument, being opposite to an argument in the previous section;
  • explain how this counterargument and evidence in this paragraph are correct by using an opposite perspective;
  • finish why this counterargument is valid for this case.

C. Rebuttal

  • define the weaknesses of a counterargument;
  • cover credible evidence that supports such weaknesses;
  • write how these weaknesses make a counterargument irrelevant;
  • end with a statement that explains why a counterargument is not valid compared to an argument.

III. Conclusion

A. Restate a thesis.
B. Sum up on the argument, counterargument, and rebuttal.
C. State a final claim.

Explaining Each Section for Writing an Ethics Paper or Essay

I. Introduction

When writing the introduction section, authors of an ethics paper should be brief and concise. Here, students should inform the audience about the purpose of writing by accurately expounding on an ethical issue that they intend to address. In essence, this aspect means highlighting their stand concerning an issue. Moreover, formulating a thesis statement helps to accomplish this goal. In this case, writers frame their minds and structure their ethics papers via the use of arguments that defend their stand on an issue of profound ethical or moral implications. Notably, when writing the introduction part, which signals the start of an ethical paper or essay, learners should begin with a hook to grab the readers’ attention. TIn turn, this sentence can be a popular misconception or a question that writers intend to answer when writing an ethics paper or essay.

II. Body Section

When writing the body of an ethics paper or essay, students should use a thesis statement as a reference point. In other words, they should use a thesis statement to come up with several ideas or arguments in defense of their stand on the ethical or moral issue identified in the introduction part. Basically, rules of academic writing dictate that students should begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence, whose purpose is to introduce a claim or idea that they intend to elaborate on in the section. Then, it is advisable that, when writing the body section, learners should use different paragraphs to separate arguments logically. Also, students should follow a sandwich rule when writing every body paragraph of an ethics paper or essay. In turn, such a paragraph structure means providing a claim, supporting it with evidence, explaining its relevance to the paper’s thesis, and ending with a transition sentence to be connected with the next paragraph logically.

III. Conclusion

The conclusion part is the last section of an ethics paper. In particular, an ethics essay should capture several themes in this section. Firstly, writers should restate a thesis statement. Secondly, they should summarize the main points made in body paragraphs. Also, this aspect means summarizing the writer’s arguments for their stands towards an issue with ethical or moral implications. In turn, authors should reiterate the paper’s topic and state why it was essential to address an ethical or moral issue. Besides, students need to avoid providing new information in this section.

Example of an Ethics Paper

Topic – Euthanasia: It is Ethical?

I. Introduction Sample of an Ethics Paper

Terminal illness is a condition of profound pain and suffering for those affected, including the patients and their families. Today, some scientists support euthanasia, the aspect of assisting terminally ill patients in ending their lives. While health professionals should do everything to help their patients to avoid suffering, assisting them in ending their lives is unethical and immoral.

II. Examples of Body Paragraphs in an Ethics Paper

A. Argument

Life is a sacred thing, and no human being has any justification for ending it, regardless of whose it is. For example, the premise of a debate about euthanasia, which refers to assisted suicide, is the prevalence of terminal illnesses that subject individuals to a life of pain, suffering, and dependence. Without any hope of recovery, some individuals have opted to end their lives through the help of their loved ones or health professionals. While there is every reason to empathize with these individuals’ fate, there is no basis for supporting their desire to end their lives. In turn, the sanctity of life does not allow human beings to end life, no matter the circumstances.

B. Counterargument

If there seems to be no hope of recovery, ending life is counterproductive in an age of significant scientific and technological advancements. Basically, scientists are working round the clock to find cures to incurable diseases that have proven to be a threat to humanity. For example, today, smallpox is no longer a threat because a cure is found (Persson, 2010). Therefore, the fact that there may be no cure for a disease today does not mean that there will not be a cure tomorrow. Naturally, human beings rely on hope to overcome moments of darkness, such as a terminal illness diagnosis. Nonetheless, it is the effort of the scientific community that has always bring hope to humanity. In this light, there is no ethical or moral justification for euthanasia.

C. Rebuttal

Euthanasia is not only a solution to terminal illness but also a sign of hopelessness and despair. When patients take the root of assisted suicide, it means that they give up on looking for alternatives in dealing with a problem. In this case, the fact that a terminal illness does not have a cure does not imply that it cannot be managed. Moreover, individuals who love a terminally ill person, such as family members and friends, hope to spend more time with them before an inevitable time happens. As such, terminally ill patients should use their families and health professionals to live longer. In essence, this aspect reflects true humanity – standing firm and determining amid of insurmountable odds. On that truth alone, euthanasia is an idea that deserves no thought or attention.

III. Conclusion Sample of an Ethics Paper

There is nothing more devastating than a terminal illness diagnosis. Basically, such news punctures the hope of many individuals, families, and communities. Nonetheless, patients should not lose hope and despair to the point of wanting to end their lives because of being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Because life is sacred and there is always a higher probability of medical breakthroughs in an age of scientific and technological advancement, euthanasia is an unethical and immoral solution to a terminal illness.

Reference

Persson, S. (2010). Smallpox, syphilis, and salvation: Medical breakthroughs that changed the world. East Gosford, New South Wales: Exisle Publishing.

Summing Up How to Write a Good Ethics Paper or Essay

Essay writing is an essential academic exercise that enables students to develop writing skills. When writing an ethics paper or essay, students focus on taking a stand on an issue with ethical or moral implications. In this case, writers create a thesis statement that expresses their perspective on a moral issue, which can be an ethical dilemma. In the main text, authors provide arguments that defend their thesis statements. Hence, when writing an ethics paper or essay, students should master the following tips:

  1. develop the introduction-body-conclusion outline;
  2. introduce a topic briefly and concisely in the introduction section;
  3. develop a thesis statement;
  4. Use separate body paragraphs to introduce and defend arguments;
  5. Ensure to provide a counterargument and a rebuttal;
  6. Restate a thesis statement in the conclusion section, including a summary of the main points (arguments that defend the paper’s thesis).