Cases and Scenarios

This is a collection of all the cases, case-related essays, and moral exemplars in the Online Ethics Center.  You can browse through or look for a specific case.  These cases can also be found by looking at the listings under specific topics in other areas of the Online Ethics Center.  If you can't find what you are looking for?  Try searching for Cases in the Ethics Education Library.

 

 

Resource Types:
  • Displaying 1 - 20 of 495
  •  Records per Page:
 
 
  • Hurricane Katrina, Large Socio-Technical Systems, and Social Responsibility

    (Web Page on this Site)

    Engineers are often charged with focusing on individual pieces of a system, but what if the whole system fails? The infrastructure to protect residents of New Orleans from hurricanes did during Hurricane Katrina. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address understanding technological systems as an important tool for acting on social responsibilities.

  • Broadening the Applicability of Clinical Research

    (Web Page on this Site)

    In the field of clinical cardiology research, participants have mainly consisted of white males, ages 20 to 50 years. Years of cardiovascular research that excluded women reinforced the belief that coronary heart disease was a “man’s” disease and development of medical treatments more effective for men than women. How can researchers advocate for change in a complex science and technology network when they are in the network themselves? A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address gender bias in science and the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning understanding knowledge and technological systems as an important tool for acting on social responsibilities.

  • Air Bags, Safety, and Social Experiments

    (Web Page on this Site)

    In the last two decades of the twentieth century, engineers in the automotive industry who developed and tested air bags acted upon their social responsibilities by engaging in the development of the technology, the evolution of safety policy, and public education to improve air bags and the outcomes of adding them to cars. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning ongoing engagement with issues of public safety.

  • The Green Revolution

    (Web Page on this Site)

    The Green Revolution, a period of intense technological change in global agriculture during the latter half of the twentieth century, grew from a combination of political agendas, financial support, scientific advances, and changes to farming. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning cross-cultural contexts, and understanding knowledge and technological systems as an important tool for acting on social responsibilities.

  • Engineers Without Borders (EWB)

    (Web Page on this Site)

    Students, working through Engineers Without Borders and similar organizations travel to developing areas to volunteer their services in hopes of improving living standards. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning pro bono work and cross-cultural contexts.

  • Physical Scientists, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Pugwash

    (Web Page on this Site)

    Formed after WWII, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Pugwash, and affiliated student groups provide a voice for scientists who are concerned with the social responsibility of their own work, the work of other scientists, and governmental use of science. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning public education and political advocacy.

  • Social Scientists and the Human Terrain System (HTS) Project

    (Web Page on this Site)

    Since 2005, the U.S. Army has deployed teams of social scientists to areas of conflict to develop social and cultural knowledge about local populations as an aid to military decision-making. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) sees ethical problems with using social science methodologies, particularly ethnography, to further military goals and believes that the HTS program specifically violates the AAA’s Code of Ethics. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning cross-cultural contexts and scientists and engineers and their involvement in or opposition to military projects.

  • Microbiologists Respond to Bioterrorism

    (Web Page on this Site)

    In the wake of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a group of microbiologists worked with the FBI to identify the individual or group who mailed letters filled with anthrax to American government officials and media personalities. Others struggled with the issues of whether and how to publish research results of potential use to terrorists. A part of the Research, Ethics, and Society project, this case can be used to address the social responsibilities of researchers, particularly those concerning scientists and engineers and their involvement in or opposition to military projects.

  • The Big Q

    (Web Page on Another Site) Hypothetical Case

    From the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, this case describes a problem that occurs among students working together on a team project. One student struggles with whether to give a poor review to his teammate.

  • Bringing a Neanderthal to Life

    (Web Page on this Site) Open-Ended Scenario

    This initial practice problem was part of a course on problem based learning (PBL) using fractious problems.  It asks students to consider research that would use the Neanderthal genome to bring a Neanderthal to life. Students were asked to apply six skills in analyzing and devising policy resolutions for the problems and to apply PBL skills in doing so.

  • Neuroimaging and Violence in the Educational Setting

    (Web Page on this Site) Open-Ended Scenario

    This problem was given to students as part of a course on problem based learning (PBL) using fractious problems.  It asked them to consider the ethicality of a law permitting or requiring the use of neuroimaging tests as an aid to predicting the likely future dangerousness of students identified as “at-risk”. Students were asked to apply six skills in analyzing and devising policy resolutions for the problems and to apply PBL skills in doing so.

  • Patenting Genes and Life

    (Web Page on this Site) Open-Ended Scenario

    This problem was given to students as part of a course on problem based learning (PBL) using fractious problems.  It asked them to consider the value of patents involving human genes. Students were asked to apply six skills in analyzing and devising policy resolutions for the problems and to apply PBL skills in doing so.

  • Forensic DNA Identification

    (Web Page on this Site) Open-Ended Scenario

    This problem was given to students as part of a course on problem based learning (PBL) using fractious problems.  It asked them to consider the use of extensive DNA databases for forensic identification. Students were asked to apply six skills in analyzing and devising policy resolutions for the problems and to apply PBL skills in doing so.

  • Ethical and Policy Problems in Synthetic Biology: Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS)

    (Web Page on this Site) Open-Ended Scenario

    This problem was given to students as part of a course on problem based learning (PBL) using fractious problems.  It asked them to consider the ethical and policy issues surrounding developments in synthetic biology. Students were asked to apply six skills in analyzing and devising policy resolutions for the problems and to apply PBL skills in doing so.

  • Occidental Engineering

    (Web Page on this Site)

    This Ethics Case Study and Commentary were written by Michael McFarland, S.J. during his time at Markulla Center for Applied Ethics in June of 2012. It includes a case plus a full Tutoriial on Ethical Decision Making as well as information on the Foundations of Ethical Judgement, Ethical Conflict, Ethical Reasoning, Derived Sources of Ethical Wisdom, and Responsibility.

  • Obligation to Client or Employer?

    (Web Page on this Site) Fictionalized Case, Mini-case

    Joe engineer encounters a conflict of interest when attempting to support work he performed for a past employer.

  • Nixing a Good Apple?

    (Web Page on this Site)

    A number of the ideas and questions in this case are a based on those presented in Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research Through Case Study Approach: A Handbook for Instructors, Stanley G. Korenman and Allan C. Shipp, Eds., 1994. This case has been adapted from an academic environment to a national government owned, government operated (GOGO) Laboratory setting, and it highlights authorship considerations in this environment.

  • Order Out of Chaos

    (Web Page on this Site)

    This case is adapted from a case in: Brian Schrag, ed., Research Ethics: Cases and Commentaries, Volume 6, Bloomington, Indiana: Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, 2002. It is meant to encourage discussion about authorship practices in a national government-owned, government-operated lab.

  • Cases on Emerging Risks

    (Web Page on Another Site)

    The International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) is an independent organization that aims to help improve the understanding and management of potentially global risks that have impacts on human health and safety, the environment, the economy and society at large. As part of a Phase 1 project on emerging risks they have assembled a number of case studies and illustrations including a case on large-scale engineered systems.

  • Climate Action

    (Web Page on this Site) Hypothetical Case, Open-Ended Scenario

    This case is an excerpt from Riley, D. (2012). Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems: A Textbook Companion for Student Engagement. San Rafael, CA: Morgan and Claypool.
    It challenges students to move between a “big picture” contextual perspective and the focused, sometimes narrow world of engineering thought.

Resource Types:
  • Displaying 1 - 20 of 495
  •  Records per Page:
Cite this page: "Cases and Scenarios" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 7/6/2009 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Sunday, December 28, 2014 <www.onlineethics.org/Resources/Cases.aspx>



Using Cases
  • Case Studies

    This bibliography includes examples of different ways instructors have used case studies to introduce ethical topics to their students and resources for finding cases and incorporating them into the classroom.

  • Writing and Analyzing Ethics Cases in Business and Research Ethics

    This student module by William Frey is designed to help students write and analyze ethics cases in business and research ethics. It provides a short taxonomy of ethics cases, tips on identifying and writing cases, and a four-step framework for analyzing them. It includes a useful powerpoint file with a case taxonomy, suggestions for choosing a case, and analysis framework. This module is being developed as a part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF-SES-0551779.