Ethics paper worksheet
Use the following questions to help you prepare your ethics paper from topic proposal through to completed paper.
- In broad terms, what is the ethical topic or issue that you want to research and write about?
- What specific event (historical or current) is the focus of your paper? OR, what is the specific software product that is at the heart of the issue? You should be able to identify:
- The time period in which a software program or system caused harm to a group of people (which could be happening currently, in the case of COVID-19 tracking software etc.)
- What company, institution, or specific group of software developers sold or developed the software that caused (or may cause) the harm?
- What group of people or person was harmed (or could be harmed) by software that either malfunctioned or was improperly developed or deployed? You should be able to be specific in naming a person, company, or institution who made a mistake or chose to allow a program to cause harm. If your group is broader than this (such as “the software development industry”), then we should discuss how to make the case study more focused.
- What harm was or is being done …. or what could happen??
- List (BY SECTION NUMBER) at least three sections of the ACM Code of Ethics that are applicable to the case. Don’t forget to cite the ACM Code of Ethics in your bibliography!!!
- List at least two sources of information that you will use in your paper. You MUST cite these in your rough draft and final draft and they must be in a References or Bibliography section at the end of your paper.
- What specifically did the responsible parties (company, institution, or group of developers) do …. or not do ….. that caused the harm?
- What could or should the responsible parties (company, institution, or group of developers) have done differently to prevent the harm? Also, what could they have done (or do currently) to lessen or mitigate the harm? For instance, the ACM recently recommended against using facial recognition software.
- How did the responsible parties benefit from their actions (or avoidance) in question #5?
You do not need to hand in this worksheet nor answer all of the questions, but if you are able to answer these questions in a paragraph or two EACH, you should be able to pull the answers together into a solid, argumentative paper.