Moral Of Medicine

Part 1: Select a topic
The starting point of the project is to select the topic and identify the moral problem that the rest of the work you will do centers on. This section of the guide begins with the directions for Part 1. Following that is some advice on selecting a topic. The final part of this section includes information about submitting the assignment and the grading rubric I will use.
Like I will do in the directions for later parts of the project, the directions for Part 1 describe the work on which you will be graded, so that the directions relate to the items on the grading rubric. Your goal in Part I is to briefly describe a topic in medicine and give some initial thought to a meaningful, controversial moral problem the topic raises.
Once you have selected a topic, your first task will be to state what the topic is and provide a brief description of it. At this stage of the project, you may only know some very basic information about the topic. Your statement of the topic does not need to go into much depth, nor do you need to do any significant research on it in Part 1. This stage of the project is for forming an idea of what your project will be about. It is not for going into any significant detail. A short paragraph that identifies and gives some cursory description of the topic is all you need to provide to finish the first task.
Your second task for Part 1 is to identify a moral problem that the topic raises. There are many interesting topics in medicine. Some of those are interesting because they relate to new discoveries or because they contain unique details or challenge prevailing practice. Some are interesting because they carry significant moral weight, that they are accompanied by beliefs about what is right and wrong, or because they impact the interests of patients, caregivers, and others. As I described in the first section of this guide, the overarching aim of the project is to present and defend a view on a moral challenge your topic raises. In this first stage of the project, you will start thinking about that challenge. To do that, you should summarize the moral worry in a sentence or two so that your reader has a clear sense of the problem.
It is best to limit your discussion to a single moral problem. Many topics we will look at in this course, as well as many other topics in medical ethics, bring out several important ethical worries. As the project moves along, you will have to address any moral problems you identify in depth, so focusing attention on just one simplifies the work you will do later. If you think your topic raises several moral problems but aren’t sure which
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you want to focus on, you may include them as part of this assignment in order to get feedback from me or to test those ideas out. You can ignore some of those worries later on.
The third task for Part 1 is to give some explanation of why you think the moral problem is important. Restating that, you should give some explanation of why you think people might (or why they in fact do) disagree about potential solutions to the problem. Tell your reader why you think the topic is one they should be concerned with. Like with the other two tasks for Part 1, you do not need to go into much depth when explaining how your topic brings out the ethical worry you identified. Get a few ideas typed out, but recognize that you will take time later to expand and modify them.
Your work in Part 1 will probably be a bit rough, incomplete, or preliminary. Don’t worry if that’s the case. It can take time to refine a topic into something that is manageable in a project like this. Getting a firm grasp on why a topic is ethically worrisome also isn’t something that magically happens the first time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Refining work takes time. In order to refine written work, though, you have some material available to be revised. That’s what this first stage of the project is about: you’ll work on some rough ideas that will get polished as the project moves along.
Selecting a topic
Most of the unit assignments in this course ask you to deal with topics that I select. You get to decide what topic your project will deal with. You are free to select any topic you wish to so long as the topic deals with morality and medicine. If you find one of the topics or cases we will cover in course units interesting, you are welcome to use that for the project. You might find, however, that selecting a topic we will not cover in this course will be more worthwhile. Biomedical ethics is a rich field, covering a broad range of practices, people (and other living creatures), research, technologies, ideas, and cases. That range provides you with a lot of possible choices for your project topic.
Students who have had to find their own topics for course assignments in the past know that doing so can be difficult. You will want to find a topic that is simple enough to deal with in the project, particularly in the final essay, but that is complex enough that it raises a meaningful ethical worry. Striking that balance can be tricky. It is likely that many students will select a topic for Part 1 of the project that is overly broad or in need of some modification. But like I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, your work at this stage is very preliminary; you’re getting an initial idea, which is not necessarily the one you’ll end up working with later in the semester.
Devote some effort to thinking though potential topics before submitting this part of the project. It is tempting to begin by searching online for topics. There is nothing wrong with doing that. But like all online searches, the quality of the results you get from using a search engine, particularly a general purpose one like Google, can vary greatly. Search engines like that do very little to check for the quality of the material contained in search results. Top results in Google-type search engines usually produce results on hot-button social discussions like abortion, euthanasia, cloning, legalization of medicinal or recreational drug use, and stem cell research. While those topics raise important ethical questions, they are not topics that work especially well for this sort of project.
A better way to search for topics online is to use the search features available in the lists of sources I provide in the project resource guide. The journalistic sources included there tend to provide results that are more focused, and that have been researched by individuals and organizations that are more trustworthy than many of the results from Google. Some of the search results from those sources will include hot-button issues like the ones I mentioned in the previous paragraph, though results from news outlets often home in on specific aspects of those issues. Other results may bring out potential topics you had not considered previously. Scanning through headlines on medical news sites can also give you ideas about topics you are not aware of initially. The same applies to results from searches done through databases Northland’s library subscribes to.
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Library databases maintain quality standards that are much higher than general purpose search engines like Google.
Many students find it easiest to select a particular case as the topic of their paper, for instance a case of medical care that garnered public attention. Having a case in mind gives a concrete example to illustrate the moral problem you will introduce in Part 1, and can make forming an argument in response to that problem more straightforward. The case can be one that affects just a single patient, caregiver, or facility, or it can be one that affects many people. Most discussions of medical practice or of bioethical issues give examples—some real, some hypothetical—that could work for this assignment. If you have settled on a topic but cannot find a case that illustrates it, you are free to construct a plausible hypothetical case that does so. You do not need to use a case in any part of the project, however. You can do well on all parts of this project without giving any examples.
It can also be helpful to use a case that stems from your own experience. Many students who enroll in this course have jobs in the medical field or are working toward degrees in medicine. All of us have firsthand exposure to medical practice as well because of care we or our loved ones have received. Even if your exposure to medicine has been relatively routine, there are important ethical matters in your experience that can be made into a topic for the project. Students who work in medicine frequently have experience with morally troubling behavior by facilities, insurers, caregivers, patients, and others. Those experiences often lead to interesting paper topics too.
Of course, please contact me if you have any questions about topics. If you are unable to think of a topic or need some guidance about topics you are considering, let me know and I can help.
Guidelines and grading
There is no required minimum word or page count for this part of the project. A paragraph that describes the topic and another paragraph that identifies the moral problem and explains how the topic brings that problem about will be sufficient.
Part 1 of the project is due at 10:00 pm on Monday, February 17. You will submit your work through the Assignments section of D2L, which is located under the Assessments tab at the top of the main course page. When you open the link for Part 1 in the Assessments section, you will see a box in which to type—or, better, to cut from another document and paste—your work for this stage of the project. D2L will permit you to submit more than one item to that folder, so if you submit your work once but do some work later and would rather have me grade the revised material, go ahead and submit your work again. I will grade your most recent submission unless you tell me otherwise. Please contact me if you have trouble submitting your work through D2L. I will accept submissions via email, though I strongly prefer for work to come in through D2L.
The grading rubric for Part 1 is below. I will grade each item on the rubric on an all-or-nothing basis. Your grade for the assignment will appear in the folder for Part 1 in the Assignments section of D2L as well as the Grades section. I frequently leave some feedback on project work. You will be able to access my comments in the Assignments section. I do not typically include completed grading rubrics with my comments unless I deduct points.
The topic is stated clearly
The author identifies a moral problem the topic raises
There is some explanation of how the topic raises the moral problem
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Part 2: Present information about the topic
In the second part of the project, you will gather and then present information about the topic you sketched out in Part 1. Directions for this part of the project, as well as guidelines and information on grading, appear below.
Your goal in Part 2 is to draft material that presents important empirical information about your topic. Like I discuss in the course text for Unit 1, and as we will see in each subsequent course unit as well, tackling any topic in medical ethics requires knowledge about the facts relating to the topic. Most of the facts important to discussions in bioethics have to do with aspects of medical practice, and are usually gathered by medical practitioners and researchers. That research is collected and reported in scientific journals, books, research presentations, and news media. In order for you to present information relating to your topic, you will need to access some of those sources, digest the information they present, decide which information is important to understanding your topic and which can be ignored, then organize the material you retain into a coherent form for your reader.
As you can see in the rubric for Part 2, you will be graded on completing three specific tasks. The first of those is to present information you have gathered and organized. Your presentation should be in paragraph form. While there is no specific amount of information you must present, try to include enough so that your reader can understand the topic in some depth. Present any factual information that you, the burgeoning expert, think is necessary to have a full understanding of the topic and the moral problem you care about. That will mean presenting some foundational information, including definitions and descriptions of basic concepts, that you might take for granted, but that other readers might be unaware of. For many topics, that will also mean presenting some technical medical or scientific information in a way that your reader will understand.
The second item on the grading rubric deals with the sources from which you gather information. You may use as many sources in your initial research on the topic you select as you would like. You must, however, provide citations for at least three high-quality sources in a bibliography. The project resource guide includes lists of sources that provide reliable, well-researched information. The resources that are available through databases that Northland’s library subscribes to are also good places to conduct research. You should avoid using sources that have minimal standards for fact-checking or that have an agenda that influences the information they provide. Sources like those include websites run by interest groups, blogs and social media, as well as many of the items that populate search engine results. Don’t, in other words, just run a Google search on your topic and pick out three results from the first results page. Doing that is unlikely to provide you with usable information, but is likely to mean you will lose points throughout the project. I say a little more about sources in the project resource guide, and will gladly answer any questions you have about places you are searching for information. Please email me if you have questions.
The bibliography you submit should appear after the body of Part 2; that is, you should list your sources after your presentation of the empirical information relating to your topic. The list should be formatted along the lines of a standard style guide like APA, MLA, or Chicago. Each entry should also be accompanied by a short 2–5 sentence synopsis of the book, article, or other source to which the citation refers. Each of those synopses should give an indication of the discussion that takes place in the source. One-third of the points for this part of the project come from the synopses, so don’t forget to include one for each source.
Remember too that this is only part of a larger process, so if there is some important information that you leave out, don’t state clearly, or isn’t as polished as you would like, don’t worry. Like I’ve said earlier in this guide (and will say several more times too), the work you’re doing in the first five parts of the project is early-stage drafting that builds toward a complete final essay. You’re getting some of the big ideas written out now
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and will build in some of the smaller details as the project moves along. You’ll probably find some new sources, new ideas, or other material that isn’t in your work now as the semester moves along.
You may include your work from Part 1 of the project as part of the work you submit for Part 2, especially if you have made significant alterations to the work you did earlier or have changed topics altogether. Like I mentioned earlier in this guide, it is likely that you will refine your topic after forming the initial idea. If so, it may be helpful to include the updated topic as you move along with the project. If you have not made any significant alterations to the work from Part 1 by the time you submit Part 2, you do not need to include that earlier work.
Guidelines and grading
Your work in Part 2 should be somewhere around 300-450 words, or about 1–1½ pages, in length. Those word and page counts are suggestions, though, not requirements.
The grading rubric for Part 2 is below. This part of the project must be submitted to the Assignments section on D2L before 10:00 pm on Monday, March 2.
The material provides sufficient empirical information relating to the topic
The bibliography includes at least three entries from quality sources
A short synopsis accompanies each bibliographical entry
Part 3: Argue for a response to the problem
The first two parts of the project provide a foundation for discussion of the ethical problem your topic raises. In Part 3, you will begin that discussion by presenting an argument for a conclusion you accept in response to the problem. Your work will start with an argument presented in standard form, which will be followed by some explanation of the argument’s components. The first part of this section describes the work you will do, and the second part gives the due date, grading rubric, and other information.
There are four tasks to complete for Part 3. The next five paragraphs describe the first task. The remainder of this part of the guide describes the other three.
Your first task for Part 3 is to present an argument in response to the moral problem you identified in Part 1 and likely discussed in Part 2. The argument you submit should be presented in standard form, so that each premise and the conclusion of the argument are numbered with a horizontal line separating the final premise from the conclusion.
The third section of the Unit 1 course text provides some discussion of moral reasoning and criteria premises and conclusions must meet in order to form acceptable, sound arguments. As I discuss in that part of the text, sound moral arguments must include at least one empirical premise. It is likely that the argument you produce will include several empirical premises. You will produce those premises on the basis of the discussion from Part 2. Your goal in Part 2 is to present scientific, medical, or other factual information relevant to your topic. In Part 3, you will use that work to provide support for the view you adopt on the moral issue your topic raises. Part of creating your argument is to summarize that information into a few short statements that capture the elements of your research that play the strongest parts in your reasoning. Those statements will become the empirical premises of your argument.
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As I alluded to in the previous paragraph, you will not include all of the empirical information from Part 2 in the argument you construct. Some of the information you will have presented in Part 2 will be background information about the topic or other discussion that will probably not play much role in your argument, even if it is important to your readers’ understanding of the topic. Other information you will have presented in Part 2, however, will directly bear on your response to the moral problem the topic raises. Any empirical matters that directly relate to the problem or your solution to it (i.e., the conclusion of your argument) should be included as premises.
In addition to the empirical premises, your argument should also present at least one normative premise. Like I discuss in the final section of the Unit 1 course text, empirical premises on their own are insufficient to support a moral conclusion. Empirical premises tell us what facts contribute support for an argument’s conclusion. Facts, however, cannot tell us how we should act, what it takes to be a good person or live a good life, or provide us with any guidance about the moral value we should place on people and their actions. In order to draw conclusions about rightness, goodness, or other types of ethical status, we need a norm, rule, or standard that tells us how to interpret empirical matters. Your argument should include a premise that states a norm, rule, or standard of that sort.
We will have looked at several different ethical norms by the time you will begin work on this part of the project. Rules about beneficence, non-maleficence, patient autonomy and privacy, and the well-being of individuals appear in the first few course units. Any of those norms may be used as part of the argument you present. There are many other moral standards that can also make up the normative part of your argument. As you work on this part of the project, it might help to ask what conclusion you wish to draw with your argument. Having a sense of that along with the empirical information you wrote about in Part 2 should give you a sense of the ethical rule that ties the facts to the moral conclusion you’re drawing. While there might be several normative premises that will link the empirical claims to the conclusion, it is best to include just one.
The argument you produce for the first task is a kind of sketch or outline of your thoughts on the ethical problem your topic raises. Like the argument reconstructions you will complete as part of some unit assignments, your standard form argument provides an overview of reasoning in favor of a particular position in medical ethics. As useful as they are, though, arguments in standard form do not provide the depth in explanation that is necessary to demonstrate that the argument is sound. Your goal in the remainder of Part 3 is to provide that explanation.
Once you have an argument assembled, your next task is to explain why the empirical premises of your argument are true. You will have done a lot of that work in Part 2, where you initially presented the results of your research. The empirical premises of your argument, though, are likely to be summaries or generalizations based on that research. You should spend a paragraph or two explaining why those summaries are true. You will most likely repeat some of the material from Part 2 in doing that. This is also a good chance to look back through the work you did in Part 2 to see if there is more empirical information you could include or if there are changes that need to be made to the material you submitted earlier.
The third task for Part 3 will take more effort. The argument you present at the beginning of Part 3 should include a normative premise, probably stated in a single sentence. As we will see throughout the course, there are many different interpretations of the moral rules that guide medical practice. A norm that protects patient privacy, to use one example, can be read in a very strict way, so that the patient’s right is absolute. A consequence of that interpretation is that caregivers could only share patient information with the patient’s knowledge and consent. A different interpretation of the privacy norm might permit caregivers, family members, or others to access or share patient information without patient consent under some circumstances. The normative premise in your argument can be interpreted in different ways as well. You should spend a paragraph or so explaining how you intend your reader to understand the premise.
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The fourth task relates closely to the third. But where the third task asked you to explain what your normative premise means, the fourth asks you to explain why the premise is true. Like we have seen from early in the course, most differences in moral viewpoint are a matter of the differing ethical norms, or different interpretations of the same norm, that people accept. In order for us to determine which viewpoint is correct, we need to have a good sense of which norm (or interpretation of a norm) is correct. Your fourth task for this part of the project is to give reasoned support for your argument’s normative premise. Show your reader why you accept the norm. Provide your reader with explanation that will move them toward believing that your interpretation of the norm is one they should think is true as well.
Guidelines and grading
Like with other parts of the project, you should view this part as a draft. You will probably make some changes to the premises, or even possibly the conclusion, of your argument as the project moves along. This part of the project gives you the opportunity to sketch out the main ideas that support your thoughts on the topic.
There is no word or page length requirement for the reconstruction portion of Part 3. Your standard form argument should include a minimum of two premises, one empirical and one normative, followed by your conclusion. So you should write at least three sentences in sketching your argument out.
It should take a minimum of three paragraphs to complete the rest of the work for Part 3. For most topics, the work in Part 3 should take up somewhere around 450-600 words, or about 1½–2 pages. Those paragraph, word, and page counts are estimates, however. Like with earlier parts of the project, I don’t expect the work in this one to be a polished final draft. If things are a little messy, incomplete, or unclear, don’t worry too much as long as you include material that addresses the directions.
Your work for this part of the project must be submitted before 10:00 pm on Monday, March 23. As with previous parts of the project, you will submit the work to D2L’s Assignments section. The grading rubric follows.
The argument reconstruction includes normative and empirical premises
There is explanatory support for the argument’s empirical premises
The author’s understanding of the normative premise is explained in depth
The argument’s normative premise is plausible given the explanation provided
Part 4: Present an alternative normative principle
Part 3 of the project asked you to present your own reasoning in response to the moral issue your topic raises. In Part 4, you will present a view on the issue that opposes your own. That opposing view will derive from a normative premise different from the one your argument relies on.
As I discussed in the directions for Part 3, and as we will see throughout the course, the key point of disagreement between different positions on a moral issue comes from the normative premises those positions rely on. Your own argument included a particular norm to support the conclusion you accept. Part of the work you did in Part 3 asked you to explain what you think the norm you adopted means. Your interpretation of the norm is not necessarily one that others will accept. Part 4 of the project asks you to present some other norm,
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or some other interpretation of the norm you accept, in place of the norm/interpretation your argument employs. You will do that in order to show how someone might draw a different conclusion than the one you accept.
There are four tasks that make up this stage of the project. First, you should state the alternative norm (or, again, interpretation of the norm). The empirical parts of arguments on the same moral issue are often the same; people who disagree about ethical matters tend to agree on the facts that relate to those matters. No matter what conclusion someone draws about an ethical issue—whether it’s one about patient privacy, testing new products, abortion, the role of caregivers, or any other moral problem in medicine—they likely use the same empirical premises in their argument that their opponents do in their arguments. By presenting a norm that differs from the one you accept in Part 4, you are in effect presenting an argument that supports a different conclusion than the one you believe.
Once you have stated the alternative norm/interpretation, you should provide some explanation of what the norm/interpretation means and why someone might think it is true. In other words, you will provide the same kind of explanatory support for the norm your opponent adopts that you provided in Part 3 for the norm you endorse. Even if you think the alternative norm is false, implausible, or misguided, you probably recognize that other people disagree with you. Like you, those other people have reasons for thinking what they do. Your second task for Part 4 is to explain what those reasons are.
The third and fourth tasks for Part 4 relate closely to one another. The alternative norm you present and explain should support a different conclusion than the one you drew and explained in Part 3. Your third task for Part 4 is to state the conclusion that the alternative norm supports. Tell your reader what your opponent’s view amounts to, in other words. If you would like, you can present that conclusion along with the premises that support it in standard form like you did in Part 3 with your own reasoning. You are not required to do so. However you present the opposing conclusion, make sure your reader knows exactly what the conclusion says. Once you have done that, your fourth task is to give some explanation that shows how the alternative norm supports that conclusion. Show your reader why your opponent’s argument might be sound, like you did with your own argument at the end of Part 3.
Guidelines and grading
Your work for Part 4 should take around 1–1½ pages, or something like 300-450 words. Like the page and word counts for Part 3, the ones for Part 4 are suggestions for determining how complete your work is. They are not requirements. Aim to give thorough responses to each item on the rubric, but view the work you complete as a draft, not a finished product. The work for Part 4 is due to the Assignments section on D2L before 10:00 pm on Monday, April 13. The grading rubric follows.
The author clearly states the alternative norm/interpretation
There is explanatory support for the alternative norm/interpretation
The conclusion supported by the alternative norm/interpretation is stated clearly
The support the alternative norm/interpretation provides for its conclusion is explained
Part 5: Critically evaluate the alternative normative principle
Part 5 presents the opportunity to respond to the opposing view you discussed in Part 4 in defense of your own conclusion.
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There are two tasks for this part of the project. First, you should explain how the normative premise your argument relies on differs from the one you presented in Part 4. It will be helpful if you restate both of those norms, or briefly summarize how your interpretation of the normative premise differs from the one the opposing view relies on. Once you have put the different norms/interpretations back into your reader’s mind, go on to explain how they differ from one another. The differences might seem to be minor or a matter of mere words. The consequences of those small differences, though, are significant. Different norms/interpretations can lead to very different, and sometimes very troubling, conclusions. You should do some work in Part 5 to highlight what you take to be the most important points of disagreement between the norm/interpretation your argument and the opposing argument rely on.
Your second task for Part 5 is to explain why the norm/interpretation you adopt is better than the opposing norm/interpretation. Since the different norms/interpretations are the main point of disagreement between your view and the opposing one, defending your view against your opponent’s is a matter of defending your normative premise against theirs. In this second task, you should explain what it is that makes your norm superior to the alternative. There might be some support for the norm/interpretation you accept that is better than support for the opposing norm/interpretation. If that’s so, explain why you think your support is better. If there are consequences of the opposing norm/interpretation that are especially bad—if, say, there are conclusions that norm/interpretation requires in some cases that seem flawed—tell your reader about those bad consequences. Whatever tactic you use for this second task, make sure you give reasoning that makes it plain to the reader why your norm/interpretation, and thus your response to the moral problem, is correct.
Guidelines and grading
Aim for this part of the project to take something around 300–450 words, or about 1–1½ pages. Your work for this part of the project should be uploaded to D2L’s Assignments section before 10:00 pm on Friday, May 1. The grading rubric for Part 5 is below.
The author explains important differences between the norms being discussed
The author provides explanation in defense of the norm they accept
Part 6: Complete a final essay
The final part of the project is for you to produce an essay that incorporates all of the work you did in Parts 1–5. You will assemble the material you completed in the first five stages, then edit and refine that material into a complete essay. Directions for the final stage and information on guidelines and grading follow.
By the time you reach this final part of the project, you will have completed initial drafts of all of the material that will make up the final essay. Much of the work you will do in Part 6 will be organizing and editing your presentation of the material from Parts 1–5 into a coherent, complete essay.
Your final essay should come in four sections. In the first section, you will state the thesis of the essay, present the topic, and explain the ethical worry the topic raises. You will have done most of the work for the
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first section of the essay in Parts 1 and 2 of the project. You should take the work you did in those early stages and edit it so that the discussion has a clear structure and explanations of important matters are more complete than they might have been earlier. You should also make changes in response to any feedback you received from me earlier in the project.
The second section of the essay will present your argument in response to the ethical worry you are concerned with. You will have done work developing that argument in Part 3. Like with the first section of the essay, you should edit your presentation of the argument and the supporting explanation you have for its premises. Some of that editing should be done so that there is a natural flow in the discussion from the first section to the second, and some should be done in terms of clarity, completeness, and any feedback you received from me. Be sure to include the standard form presentation of your argument in the second section of the essay.
In the third section of the essay, you should state the opposing norm/interpretation and supporting explanation that you presented in Part 4. Like you did in Part 4, you should make it clear to your reader why that norm/interpretation supports a different conclusion than the one your argument arrives at. The discussion in the third section of the essay should clearly follow from the discussion in the second section, making differences between your view and your opponent’s clear.
Finally, your essay should provide some response to the opposing view you presented in the third section. As with the other parts of the final essay, most of the work you will do in the fourth section will be in refining the work you did earlier in the project. The fourth section will rework the material you submitted for Part 5 of the project.
Some of the grade for Part 6 will come from matters not included in earlier stages of the assignment. Since the product of this part of the project is a finished essay, you should include introductory and concluding paragraphs that summarize the work that takes place in the body of the essay. The essay should have a clear organizational structure that distinguishes the four sections from one another, but that also makes links between sections clear to the reader. You should proofread drafts of the essay carefully before submitting the assignment, taking care to correct spelling and grammatical errors. You should have a bibliography or list of referenced/accessed works on a separate page at the end of the essay that includes at least three high-quality entries. Format that page, as well as any in-text citations, according to the guidelines provided by a standard style guide. Title pages are optional, so no part of the grade depends on you including one.
Guidelines and grading
Like with earlier parts of the project, there is no minimum page or word count requirement for the final essay. That being said, you should make sure to address all of the items on the rubric below as clearly and completely as possible. It is unlikely that you will be able to do that in fewer than six pages (or around 1800 words), not including title and bibliography pages, headers and footers, as well as other material that exists outside the body of the text.
In Parts 1–5, you submitted your work by typing or pasting into text boxes on D2L. You will submit the final essay by uploading a file to the part of D2L’s Assignments section set aside for this stage of the project. The file you upload should be saved in a Microsoft Word, PDF, or Rich Text format. Most word processing programs can save in one, and often all, of those formats. Like I mentioned in the course syllabus, you have free access to Microsoft Word on college-owned computers and on your own computer because you are a Northland student. If you do not have Word installed on your computer but would like to do so, contact Northland’s IT department or access their technology reference guide, which includes instructions for installing the software. The technology guide is available online at
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Part 6 of the project must be submitted before 10:00 pm on Monday, May 11. Because this final part of the project is due during finals week, I cannot accept papers after 10:00 pm on the 11th. Please contact me as soon as possible if you cannot submit your paper before that time. Please contact me as well if you would like typed comments on your essay.
Since the product of this final stage of the project is a complete essay, the grading rubric includes more items than any of the previous rubrics. I have broken the rubric into five parts, one for each section of the body of your essay and one for other matters. Many of the items on the rubric are similar to items on the rubrics for earlier parts of the project, though point values may differ.
Section 1
The author provides a concise, accurate summary of the topic
The essay describes how the topic raises a significant moral problem
The essay provides sufficient empirical information to describe the topic
Section 2
The author presents their argument in standard form
The standard form argument includes at least one empirical premise
The standard form argument includes at least one normative premise
The author provides explanatory support for each empirical premise
The author’s understanding of the normative premise is explained in depth
The author explains how the premises work together to support the conclusion
Section 3
The author states the opposing norm clearly
The essay includes strong explanatory support for the opposing norm
The author clearly states the conclusion supported by the opposing norm
The author demonstrates support the alternative norm provides for its conclusion
Section 4
The author explains important differences between the norm they adopt and the opposing norm
The author provides explanation in defense of the norm they accept
Other matters
The essay’s introductory and concluding paragraphs accurately summarize the work done in the essay
The essay is well-organized, with each section clearly distinguished from others
There is a natural flow in the discussion from one section to the next
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