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HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process

HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process

HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process
HCR561 – Sample Case Presentation Analysis
As you read through the following case, it is important to restate that the learning outcomes in
HCR561 is the acquired ability to objectively utilize ethical principles in the decision making
process. Do not feel intimidated by the comprehensive ethical deliberations outlined by Bebeau
(Bebeau, Pimple, Muskavitch, Borden, & Smith, 1995). Your case presentations will be focused
on the specific concepts that are presented in your assigned reading and will not cover all of the
issues outlined in this particular case presentation. Refer to your textbook for related issues to
provide you with guidance.
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Jessica Banks, a Ph.D. student in Professor Brian Hayward’s lab, has recently defended her dissertation
and is now ready to file it and leave for her new job. During her second year, when starting research in
Hayward’s lab, Banks divided her time among three projects. Then in her third year, after consultation
with Hayward, she decided to continue and expand upon one of the three lines of investigation for her
dissertation research. This was also the project most closely related to Hayward’s grant at the time. Later,
Banks’s experimental plan and early results were included in Hayward’s grant renewal. The other two
promising lines of research were left incomplete. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process
Banks’s new job is a tenure-track position in a mid-sized western liberal arts college. Shortly before
leaving for her job, she comes into the lab to pick up her notebooks. Although her new faculty position will
place a heavy emphasis on teaching, she is looking forward to continuing to do some research as well. In
particular, she is eager to pick up where she left off with the two uncompleted projects she worked on
before. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process
Professor Hayward meets Banks on her way into the lab, and their genial conversation abruptly changes
when she mentions she has come to take her notebooks.
Hayward exclaims, “You can’t take those notebooks away — they belong to the lab!”
Banks is confused. “But I did the work, and I wanted to follow up on it. I can’t do that without the
notebooks.”HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
Professor Hayward is adamant. “I’m sorry, but you should understand this. This lab is a joint enterprise,
and all the work you did was funded by money I brought in via grants. The notebooks don’t belong to you,
nor to me; they belong to the lab, and the work will be continued in this lab.
I’ve already talked to one of the new students about working on those projects this fall.”
Banks, seeing her plans fall apart around her, protests, but Hayward is implacable. After a few minutes,
she stalks away, without the notebooks.
Later that afternoon, Banks gets together with her classmate Paul Larson, and during their conversation,
she tells him about her run-in with Hayward. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
“Look,” says Larson. “Hayward has no right to deny you access to the information in the notebooks. Even
if the books should remain in the lab, you did the work that generated all the data.”
“I know!” says Banks. “But Hayward wouldn’t listen to that argument when I made it.”
“Here’s my suggestion,” says Larson after some reflection. “Just stop by the lab and photocopy the books
some time during the weekend. I happen to know Hayward will be out of town, so he’ll never know. That’s
the fair thing to do: He gets to keep the notebooks in his lab, and you get a copy of the data you
collected.” HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
Banks seems uncertain, but says she’ll think about Larson’s suggestion and decide before the weekend.
The question that you are asked to consider: Should Banks photocopy the notebooks? Why or why
not?
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis
We will look at this particular case using the four steps that have already been introduced to you by Bebeau and outlined in the
document. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
A. Whether the response addresses each of the issues and points of ethical conflict presented in the case or problem;
B. Whether each interested party’s legitimate expectations are considered;
C. Whether the consequences of acting are recognized, specifically described (not just generally mentioned), and
incorporated into the decision; and
D. Whether each of the duties or obligations of the protagonist (in this case it is Jessica Banks) are described and
grounded in moral considerations.HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
Researcher’s value being able to pursue any line of inquiry and maintain control over their ideas and data
until they are ready for publication. At the same time collaboration and sharing of research materials is
also valued within the scientific community. There is an expectation especially by those agencies
providing grants that collaborative efforts are made between various researchers. Thus we see in this
case competing values, but at the heart of the case is the priority of discovery. As with all intellectual
property the question of ownership can become clouded when there are a number of collaborators
involved whether they be individual researchers, academic institutions or funding agencies. Bebeau
states that “Banks can be viewed as appealing to cooperation in her desire to take the notebooks with the
preliminary data — but so can Hayward when he essentially asks Banks to respect his prior claim to a
project he wants to continue. Then again, in saying that she plans to continue the project, Banks is
appealing to independence of inquiry, as is Hayward when he refuses her request in order to maintain
control over the data.” The following is a summary of Bebeau’s discussion of the case.
1. Issues and Points of Conflict
To provide a convincing ethical analysis, you will want to move beyond naming the issue (e.g., data ownership and
access, plagiarism, etc.) to describing the nature of the moral conflict. What constitutes an ethical conflict? A dilemma, by
definition, is a situation in which rights or obligations of interested parties’ conflict. Real-life dilemmas often present
choices between equally unfavorable or disagreeable alternatives. Consider the case of the researcher considering data
enhancement of preliminary findings to assure continued funding for his research lab. He sees a conflict between his
obligation to report his data honestly and his obligation to secure enough funds to keep his lab technicians employed. You
might reason that honesty is a more important consideration than maintaining jobs for lab technicians, but such practical considerations can influence professional judgment. Note that identifying the points of ethical conflict is often one of the hardest jobs in ethical analysis. Most people find it easier to begin by considering interested parties, consequences, and obligations before trying to describe the issues more fully.
 Issue #1: Banks’s (perceived) right to the notebooks vs. Hayward’s (asserted) right to
keep the notebooks in his lab. There are misperceptions about ownership of research data
and ownership and control of intellectual property (i.e., plans, ideas, and projects not yet
brought to fruition). Banks’s believes that she could take the notebooks, and her
understanding of the conversation with Hayward reveal a lack of understanding about the
legal issues (which are not open to debate) surrounding ownership of the products of
research. Hayward correctly asserts that the notebooks belong to the lab. When Banks gives
reasons for wanting the notebooks — to continue a line of research she began earlier —
Hayward asserts a proprietary interest in the lines of research initiated in the lab (and
supported by his grants) and his intentions to continue the projects with the help of new
students. Banks’s concludes that Hayward not only intends to deny her access to the
notebooks, but also to the continuation of projects she worked on earlier. Banks and her
classmate believe that she has a right to access to the data in the notebooks as well as to
continue projects she started in Hayward’s lab after she moves on to her new job. Although
Hayward did not explicitly state that she could not have copies of the notebooks, Banks and
Larson seem to assume this. However, ownership and access are not synonymous. Banks
and Larson not only have an unclear understanding of data ownership and access issues, but
seem unaware of the terms of their “employment” as students and faculty. The legal “works
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis
for hire” principle states that an institution, not its employees, owns the rights to its
employees’ written products or other forms of expression, including primary research data.
 Issue #2: Banks’s (perceived) right to pursue the research she worked on earlier vs.
Hayward’s (implicitly asserted) right to control those lines of research. This case raises
the issue of who has the stronger claim to the lines of research the data represent. To what
extent is Hayward justified in preventing Banks from pursuing a line of research begun in his
lab? Even if Banks is granted access to the data, what right would she have to use the data
without attribution to Hayward? Does he have a legal or moral claim to an incomplete line of
research? What are the institutional policies regarding the questions of whether investigators
or institutions own projects in progress? Whereas the ownership of material objects, such as
data sets, is fairly well-prescribed by institutional policies and laws, ideas and/or intellectual
property are not easily controlled. Whether Banks has a claim to the ideas that were initiated
by Hayward’s grant depends, in part, on the nature of her contributions and their shared
perception of her contributions. Did she simply carry out a research plan designed by
Hayward, or was she a partner in the design? HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process.
 Issue #3: Banks’s interest in establishing her independence (by continuing projects
she began in Hayward’s lab) vs. her interest in maintaining collegiality and personal
integrity. Banks is eager to get a start on her career by continuing lines of research she
began earlier as a graduate student. The fact that she is tempted to secretly copy the lab
notebooks implies that she thinks she can continue this research without Hayward’s help or
cooperation. However, even if she no longer needs advice from Hayward, she will still need
his good will because he most probably will be asked to write letters supporting her
subsequent promotions. Aside from the issues raised above concerning Banks’s right to the
notebooks, the data, and the lines of research, an important question for Banks is whether
she has established sufficient competence to function without the mentoring and support of
Hayward. Her need for maintaining collegiality may be greater than she realizes. Students
often begin their research careers by working on projects initiated by faculty. As their
research abilities develop, they are expected to develop their own research interests and
gradually establish their independence. One criterion for awarding advanced degrees is the
ability to complete a research project (thesis or dissertation) that represents an original
contribution to the literature. Because students work under the supervision of a mentor, there
is the potential for differences of opinion as to the origin of ideas in the final product. It is not
uncommon for disagreements to arise about the ownership of ideas in students’ work. One of
the common ethical dilemmas that arises in research is the claim by students that their
mentors published or otherwise used the students’ work without appropriate attribution. Since
work proceeds collaboratively, sometimes students undervalue the contributions of the
mentor. It is easy to undervalue the kind of sharpening and editing that often makes the
difference between acceptance for publication and rejection. This is not to suggest that
students’ ideas have never been used without consent, but many problems may arise from
misunderstandings of the conventions of science that could be corrected by better mentoring
and by students’ taking responsibility for educating themselves about policies.
 Issue #4: Banks’s obligation to treat her mentor and the institution with respect vs. her
obligation to warn other students about conditions of employment and mentoring that
she perceives as an infringement on students’ rights to their data, their ideas, and their
ability to establish independence. It is impossible to tell from the case as written whether
Hayward has clear policies on ownership of products and ideas, and whether he made a
reasonable effort to inform his students of his and the institution’s policies. We also don’t
know how he credits students’ ideas and how he plans to help students establish their
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis
independence. Good mentoring would require all of these. Both the institution and Hayward
have an interest in the clear communication of policies. But whether Hayward made his
policies clear or not, Banks has both an obligation to and an interest in making sure she is
informed about lab policies. It is impossible to tell which of the two parties is at fault for the
misunderstanding, or to what degree the responsibility for this apparent confusion is shared.
This said, it cannot be concluded that just because a lab director has a policy and
communicates it effectively, her or his students will (or should) adhere to that policy under all
circumstances. Policies can be unjust, wrong, and even illegal. Setting policies and
communicating them are issues of concern to Hayward, the institution, and students. One
problem Banks is facing is her conflicting obligations to Hayward and the institution vs. her
duty to right (what she takes to be) an injustice and help other students avoid the problems
she has encountered. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process
2. Interested Parties
(Name as many as possible) Skills in perspective-taking are called for by this criterion. Other parties, besides those
directly mentioned in the case, may have a stake in the protagonist’s decision. You might think of interested parties in
progressively larger groupings, from the person facing the ethical problem, to the person(s) immediately affected (such as
that person’s students, teachers, or research subjects), to the people in the relevant institution (the laboratory or
university), to the scientific community and society in general. Consider the reasonable expectations (rights) of each
interested party. Frequently, consideration of the interested parties will bring more issues to mind.
 Banks has:
i. a right to be informed of lab policies, such as on the disposition of lab notebooks
ii. a right to have her own ideas and creative contributions respected
iii. an interest in continuing/furthering her scientific career from a solid base
iv. an interest in keeping a good working relationship with her mentor
v. an interest in protecting her integrity and her reputation
 Hayward has:
i. a right to have access to notebooks and data produced at his lab, funded by grants
he wrote
ii. a right to control access to notebooks and data produced at his lab
iii. an interest in developing the talent of students and in respecting their ideas
iv. an interest in continuing research started at his lab
v. an interest in providing good projects for his new students
vi. an interest in maintaining good relationships with his former students
 Hayward’s students and postdoctoral students have an interest in knowing his
policies. HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process
 Hayward’s university has:
i. an interest in his maintaining a productive lab
ii. an interest in seeing that students are treated fairly
 Banks’s new college has an interest in her ability to do her job well.
 Hayward’s funding institution has an interest in having data produced with their funds
adequately safeguarded and reasonably accessible.
 Science as a whole has:
i. an interest in fostering reasonably open access to data
ii. an interest in maintaining and fostering cooperation in science and research
independence
3. Consequences
For each action considered, there are often several possible outcomes. The challenge in identifying consequences is not toidentify every remote consequence, but to identify those that have a good probability of occurring, or those that would have very serious consequences even if the probability of occurrence is not particularly high. For example, the possibility that
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis
someone might die due to the release of a small amount of a toxic substance during an experimental procedure may be
relatively remote, but the consequences would be so devastating that the potential benefit may not even be worth a remote
risk. When considering consequences, be sure to consider, in turn, each of the interested parties and the probable
consequences of the proposed action on those parties. When considering consequences to the protagonist, keep in mind that
consequences may be multifaceted. On the one hand, he or she might get caught in an unethical act and face a lawsuit, loss of
funding, loss of reputation, or other serious negative consequences. On the other hand, he or she may get away with an
unethical act and get a publication or grant more easily and quickly than if he or she had acted ethically. But whether or not the
act is detected, engaging in actions we believe are wrong undermines our sense of integrity. The effects of an action on a
person’s character may appear to be minor in the short run, but often have a cumulative and debilitating effect on one’s selfconfidence,
self-esteem, and habits — each time we reap the benefits of questionable acts and successful avoidance of the
negative consequences, we enhance the probability that these acts will be repeated.
 There are several possible consequences to Banks, most notably to her relationship with
Hayward, to her career, and to her self-esteem.
i. If Banks copies the notebooks, she may be caught, have her relationship with
Hayward damaged or ruined, and get a reputation as a troublemaker, plagiarist, or
thief. If she ever publishes anything based on these experiments without Hayward’s
assent, Hayward is sure to find out (they work in the same field, after all), and he is
likely to guess that she copied the notebooks. Of course, she may not be caught, in
which case she will have a faster start on her career. But whether she is caught or
not, her self-esteem and integrity may be damaged and (depending on how she
justifies the action to herself) she may have this duplicitous act on her conscience.
ii. If Banks does not copy the notebooks, she may get a slower start to her career, but
she may be able to salvage a working relationship with Hayward. This is important to
her because she will need Hayward’s support (i.e., letters of recommendation, etc.)
as her career advances. She may also still have a chance to get Hayward to take a
position closer to her own — e.g., sharing the data, collaborating on one or both of
the projects, etc. If she can do this, it will be a good investment in the future of her
career.
iii. There are also possible consequences to Hayward. Whatever Banks does,
Hayward’s reputation may suffer if his lab policies are so vague that they lead to ill
will among his students and post docs, or possibly to lost data or other unfortunate
consequences.
4. Banks’s Obligations
For each case, consider primarily the obligations of the protagonist toward the various interested parties. It is sometimes
tempting to dismiss the obligation of the protagonist when some other person fails to live up to his/her moral obligation One
party’s failure to live up to his/her moral obligations can have an impact on another party’s moral obligations, but this kind of
reasoning often amounts to nothing more than a rationalization — an excuse to do whatever one wanted to do in the first place
— without real regard to the moral questions at hand. When writing about the obligations of professionals such as scientists, it
is not enough to say that someone has a duty to do “x.” You must say why the professional has that duty. That is, you should
refer to the moral justification in terms of values, principles, character, or outcomes. When describing ethical obligations,
consider the various responsibilities of scientists.
 To conduct herself with integrity. Honesty is an essential value for the conduct of science,
and science is furthered through supportive and collegial relationships.
 To treat Hayward and his decision with respect, even if it is wrong. When Banks was
accepted into the program, she surrendered some of her autonomy in order to gain the
education and assistance she needed to complete her degree. Although it is true that
Hayward should have made her aware of the conditions under which she was working, she
did consent to work for him, benefited from the education, from his recommendations and,
probably with his help, secured a job. While she has a right not to be taken advantage of, she
also has a responsibility to follow acceptable procedures to raise any issues.
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis
 To establish her independence as a researcher. Banks has an obligation to herself and to
her new employer to develop an independent program of research that will allow her to meet
the conditions for advancement. Her ability to accomplish this will depend on collegiality with
Hayward and/or with other researchers. By engaging in critical self-assessment and peer
review, including a frank assessment of her competence from her mentor, she will better be
able to set goals for her future.
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 To inform herself on data sharing policies and lab policies. Before Banks discusses
anything with Hayward, she ought to inform herself about the policies of funding agencies.
She might discuss a full range of issues with other researchers at her institution, or familiarize
herself with references on the subject. Banks is about to move from the role of student to
professor. She needs to be able to view the situation from the perspective of the professor
and grants manager, both for her own benefit and to prepare herself to discuss the issues
with Hayward.
 To seek clarification of Hayward’s policies. Banks seems to assume that Hayward’s
prohibition of her taking the lab notebooks would also extend to having copies of the
notebook pages. Banks needs to think through an approach to Hayward that is collegial and
avoids a counterproductive confrontation that further alienates him. She needs to know how
inquiries about her dissertation data should be handled. Unless he wants all inquires to be
addressed to him, she would need copies of the lab notebooks.
 To foster scientific collegiality and cooperation. All scientists have this responsibility.
 To empower students to pursue the issues of lab policies if her efforts are
unsuccessful. As someone who has advanced from student to graduate, Banks has a
responsibility to mentor her younger colleagues, and a responsibility to think about how she
best helps them — by undermining their trust in the institution and their mentor, or by
empowering them to take responsibility for their learning.
References
Bebeau, M. (2010). Developing a Well-Reasoned Response to a Moral Problem in Scientific Research.
Retrieved February 23, 2012, from The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics:
http://poynter.indiana.edu/mr/mr-developing.pdf
Bebeau, M. J., Pimple, K. D., Muskavitch, K. M., Borden, S. L., & Smith, D. H. (1995, December). Moral
Reasoning in Scientific Research: Cases for Teaching and Assessment. Retrieved February 22, 2012,
from Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions:
http://poynter.indiana.edu/mr/mr.pdf
HCR561: Sample Case Presentation Analysis Essay Paper- Ethical principles in the decision making process

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