General approach to case studies


Read and dissect case. Understand characters involved. Put yourself in their shoes, others' perspectives as well. What would you do or have done in their position. Reread to pick up on subtle bits of information. Reflect on story.


Following are some formal steps to consider using. I would like for you to use this exact approach. You can certainly reorder them if that makes more sense to you, just as long as all steps are covered. The grading value of each is also stated.


  1. Gather the facts, state assumptions. (12%)
  2. Define and separate the various ethical issues. Can use Code of Ethics as guide. (12%)
  3. Study more information available on web, or similar cases and findings. (3%)
  4. Identify the affected parties (stakeholders). (7%)
  5. Identify the consequences (over time and probability of each) related to each issue. (7%)
  6. Identify the obligations related to each issue. (7%)
  7. Consider the character and integrity related to each issue. (7%)
  8. Think creatively about potential actions or solutions. (9%)
  9. Develop competing viewpoints or arguments supporting each solution. (12%)
  10. Visit with peers (not too close to real situation you are dealing with) someone that can listen, evaluate your thinking, provide honest opinions. (6%)
  11. Test solution, how would you feel about your proposed action being published on the front page of the paper, what would your family think about your actions? (6%)
  12. Decide on action and prepare to deal with opposing arguments. (12%)


Suggestions or ideas

-        Discuss case on message board with other students in class, visit with peers about case, your assumptions, solutions, etc.

-        Write a substantial report demonstrating your work, thinking, variety of potential solutions, what you learned from discussion with others, what your decision is and reasoning for that decision being best.

-        It is totally acceptable (and expected) that different people of high character will decide on different (and opposing) solutions.