Ethics-course-survey

RESULTS: SURVEY ON TOPICS ADDRESSED IN INTRO TO ETHICS COURSES
Posted April 5, 2010

Nathan Nobis, Ph.D.
Philosophy, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
404-825-1740 cell 

On March 5, 2010, I developed this survey and began circulating this prompt on blogs, list serves, personal emails, etc.:

This survey attempts to identify which topics are most commonly addressed in introductory ethics courses that have a contemporary moral issues or problems component. If (and only if) you teach a course that focuses on practical issues (with little to no discussion of moral theory) or has a mix of theory and problems (either a unit on theory and then problems or a mix of theory and problems throughout), please fill out this survey below.

Please forward this page to anyone who might be interested in filling out this survey and post it online. The link is this:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ethics-course-survey

In a month, I got 117 responses to the survey. Below are the results, in a variety of formats. Feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. I am new to Survey Monkey (and surveying) and welcome guidance and advice. 

Some possible faults or limitations of this survey include that:
  • Non-philosophy teachers could have completed the survey: anyone could have taken it, although I doubt that many non-philosophy teachers would. 
  • Motivated people could take the survey multiple times to skew the results. Survey Monkey has a built-in prevention device that, presumably puts some "cookie" on a computer to prevent re-taking a survey on that computer or with that browser. But someone could retake the survey by opening it in different browsers or from different computers. I doubt many people would do that though.
  • Some survey takers used the open-ended "other" response category to offer topics that they teach but were not on the original survey. I added some of these topics as they were suggested (and so later survey takers indicated whether they taught these topics).but eventually I became overwhelmed and stopped adding new topics. These responses are made available below. 
  • Some of the topic prompts overlap: e.g., capital punishment and punishment; sexual ethics and homosexuality, etc. This could have contributed to some confusion. 
  • This survey identify the "depth" of discussion: e.g., someone might "always" teach a topic but usually for only for one class period, but "often" teach another topic but usually for two weeks. Insofar as the second topic might be evaluated as a more important topic (to that instructor), this survey does not identify that. 


Summary:

Topics most addressed "Always"
  • Abortion  
  • Animals - Vegetarianism  
  • Capital Punishment / Death Penalty  
  • Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide 
  • World Hunger 
Topics most addressed "Often"
  • Homosexuality / Homosexual Marriage  
  • Property Rights and Welfare Redistribution
  • Punishment
Topics most addressed "Occasionally"
  • Affirmative Action
  • Animals- Experimentation
  • Capital Punishment / Death Penalty
  • Civil Disobedience / the Duty to Obey the Law
  • Environmental Ethics 
  • Torture
Topics most addressed "Rarely"
Topics most addressed "Never"
  • Computer ethics
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Cloning / Genetic Engineering
  • Disability 
  • Drugs
  • Education
  • Experimentation on Human Subjects
  • Global Warming
  • Gun Control
  • Hate Crimes
  • Immigration
  • Intergenerational Justice
  • Nationalism and Succession
  • Pornography
  • Privacy
  • Prostitution
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Sexual Ethics
  • Stem Cell Experimentation
  • Voting and Democracy
  • War and Terrorism
  • Whistle Blowing
  • and more, see below


Results:

1. How often do you address these topics in your ethics course?

 

answered question

117

 

skipped question

0

 

Always

Often

Occasionally

Rarely

Never

Response
Count

Abortion

60.7% (71)

15.4% (18)

8.5% (10)

9.4% (11)

6.0% (7)

117

Affirmative Action

15.4% (18)

11.1% (13)

32.5% (38)

17.1% (20)

23.9% (28)

117

Animals – Vegetarianism

38.8% (45)

20.7% (24)

24.1% (28)

8.6% (10)

7.8% (9)

116

Animals – Experimentation

21.2% (24)

19.5% (22)

24.8% (28)

20.4% (23)

14.2% (16)

113

Capital Punishment / Death Penalty

23.1% (27)

21.4% (25)

23.1% (27)

17.9% (21)

14.5% (17)

117

Civil Disobedience / the Duty to Obey the Law

6.1% (7)

15.7% (18)

27.8% (32)

24.3% (28)

26.1% (30)

115

Computer Ethics

0.0% (0)

1.7% (2)

7.0% (8)

13.0% (15)

78.3% (90)

115

Corporate Responsibility

5.3% (6)

7.9% (9)

21.9% (25)

19.3% (22)

45.6% (52)

114

Cloning / Reproductive Technology / Genetic Engineering

9.6% (11)

17.4% (20)

27.0% (31)

16.5% (19)

29.6% (34)

115

Disability

4.3% (5)

7.8% (9)

20.0% (23)

23.5% (27)

44.3% (51)

115

Drugs

7.0% (8)

15.7% (18)

20.0% (23)

21.7% (25)

35.7% (41)

115

Education

1.8% (2)

10.5% (12)

11.4% (13)

16.7% (19)

59.6% (68)

114

Environmental Ethics

11.3% (13)

20.0% (23)

34.8% (40)

10.4% (12)

23.5% (27)

115

Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide

38.8% (45)

26.7% (31)

15.5% (18)

7.8% (9)

11.2% (13)

116

Experimentation on Human Subjects

5.3% (6)

14.9% (17)

20.2% (23)

16.7% (19)

43.0% (49)

114

Global Warming

6.1% (7)

7.9% (9)

21.1% (24)

16.7% (19)

48.2% (55)

114

Gun Control

2.7% (3)

5.3% (6)

12.4% (14)

18.6% (21)

61.1% (69)

113

Hate Crimes, Literature, and Speech

2.7% (3)

10.7% (12)

15.2% (17)

24.1% (27)

47.3% (53)

112

Homosexuality / Homosexual Marriage

18.8% (22)

30.8% (36)

15.4% (18)

14.5% (17)

20.5% (24)

117

Immigration

0.0% (0)

5.3% (6)

11.4% (13)

21.1% (24)

62.3% (71)

114

Intergenerational Justice

1.7% (2)

13.0% (15)

5.2% (6)

20.9% (24)

59.1% (68)

115

Nationalism and Secession

0.0% (0)

3.5% (4)

3.5% (4)

15.9% (18)

77.0% (87)

113

Pornography.

10.4% (12)

13.0% (15)

11.3% (13)

25.2% (29)

40.0% (46)

115

Privacy and Civil Society.

3.5% (4)

14.2% (16)

10.6% (12)

18.6% (21)

53.1% (60)

113

Property Rights and Welfare Redistribution

18.1% (21)

23.3% (27)

19.8% (23)

16.4% (19)

22.4% (26)

116

Prostitution

5.2% (6)

10.4% (12)

17.4% (20)

29.6% (34)

37.4% (43)

115

Racism

19.1% (22)

20.0% (23)

14.8% (17)

14.8% (17)

31.3% (36)

115

Sexism

17.4% (20)

24.3% (28)

13.9% (16)

13.0% (15)

31.3% (36)

115

Sexual Ethics

11.3% (13)

25.2% (29)

20.0% (23)

14.8% (17)

28.7% (33)

115

Stem Cell Experimentation

7.9% (9)

10.5% (12)

18.4% (21)

24.6% (28)

38.6% (44)

114

Voting and Democracy

4.4% (5)

7.0% (8)

17.5% (20)

19.3% (22)

51.8% (59)

114

War and Terrorism

20.9% (24)

20.0% (23)

19.1% (22)

14.8% (17)

25.2% (29)

115

Whistle-blowing

1.8% (2)

3.5% (4)

10.5% (12)

17.5% (20)

66.7% (76)

114

World Hunger

40.9% (47)

24.3% (28)

13.9% (16)

10.4% (12)

10.4% (12)

115

Parent & Child Obligations

7.5% (8)

13.2% (14)

16.0% (17)

18.9% (20)

44.3% (47)

106

Self-Defense

11.1% (12)

14.8% (16)

18.5% (20)

15.7% (17)

39.8% (43)

108

Torture

11.4% (12)

20.0% (21)

24.8% (26)

19.0% (20)

24.8% (26)

105

Lying/Fraud

16.2% (17)

10.5% (11)

18.1% (19)

14.3% (15)

41.0% (43)

105

Surrogacy

1.2% (1)

9.5% (8)

14.3% (12)

10.7% (9)

64.3% (54)

84

Taxation

4.8% (4)

17.9% (15)

6.0% (5)

19.0% (16)

52.4% (44)

84

Punishment

19.0% (16)

28.6% (24)

15.5% (13)

13.1% (11)

23.8% (20)

84

Friendship

3.6% (3)

13.1% (11)

20.2% (17)

14.3% (12)

48.8% (41)

84

Just work

4.8% (4)

6.0% (5)

9.6% (8)

15.7% (13)

63.9% (53)

83

Multiculturalism

6.7% (4)

10.0% (6)

18.3% (11)

18.3% (11)

46.7% (28)

60

Price Gouging

1.7% (1)

3.3% (2)

3.3% (2)

13.3% (8)

78.3% (47)

60

Blackmail

0.0% (0)

1.7% (1)

5.0% (3)

11.7% (7)

81.7% (49)

60

Sweatshop Labor

5.1% (3)

11.9% (7)

15.3% (9)

13.6% (8)

54.2% (32)

59

Gambling

1.7% (1)

1.7% (1)

3.4% (2)

15.3% (9)

78.0% (46)

59

Adultry

6.8% (4)

8.5% (5)

3.4% (2)

20.3% (12)

61.0% (36)

59

Free Speech

10.3% (6)

22.4% (13)

22.4% (13)

13.8% (8)

31.0% (18)

58

Show repliesOther topic(s) (please specify topic[s] and frequency[s]))

32


 




Responses in the 'other' category:

Other topic(s) (please specify topic[s] and frequency[s])):

10 responses per page 25 responses per page 50 responses per page

1.

Poverty

Wed, Mar 31, 2010 4:49 PM

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2.

Re: animals: I'm doing de Waal's PRIMATES AND PHILOSOPHERS: HOW MORALITY EVOLVED; Temple Grandin, Peter Singer

Some on the ethics of care and Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach and her criticisms of religion. Also, religion and philosophy as the basis of moral belief

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 7:23 AM

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3.

Love & Marriage, sometimes.
Suicide, always.

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 9:21 AM

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4.

Hi Nathan,

I'm interested in this and wondering why you are doing this, and if there are any links to be made between us.
I am a leacturer of health care thics in s Faculty of Health and Social Care and my (nearly finished!) PhD is on how academics of health care ethics know about and transfer their understandings through their scholarly work. Sadly very few of us at the coal face are directly addressing many of the issues you list. I have ticked in accordance to ethics in the health profession work. Some of items I have ticked as never are discussed, but not necessarily in an ethics type forum, and in a 'more accidental, thats where the discussion led to' type way. Because of this Ihave ticked never as they ar enot formally taught, but may be addressed in other formats.

It would be interesting to do a comparison between disciplines and what they are teaching. if you want to swap notes drop me a line -  
Cheers


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 4:38 AM

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5.

Robot ethics, artificial intelligence (do robots have moral status, etc.)

Tue, Mar 23, 2010 3:11 PM

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6.

Extension of non-human animal discussion to personhood and other forms of exploitation -- each semester, both in Ethics and in Intro to Phil/Ethics secion

Sun, Mar 21, 2010 3:48 PM

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7.

paternalism in general; paternalism in connection to medical/psychological ethics; paternalism in connection to domestic violence; the ethics of self-sacrifice. (often)

Wed, Mar 17, 2010 9:06 AM

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8.

intellectual property = occasionally

Mon, Mar 15, 2010 3:24 PM

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9.

Human Rights – Often

Sat, Mar 13, 2010 3:04 PM

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10.

Sports ethics
always

Sat, Mar 13, 2010 9:09 AM

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11.

civil liberties – always

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 5:40 PM

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12.

honest business practices (occasionally), transparency in governmental dealings (often)

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 3:05 PM

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13.

Often: Love, marriage, having children, parenthood, honesty, advertising, dealing with difficult people (eg family members, office politics).

Thu, Mar 11, 2010 5:54 PM

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14.

I'll be trying out the topic of forgiveness for the first time this semester. If it works, I'll incorporate it into the class and teach it regularly as a "counterweight" to punishment.

Thu, Mar 11, 2010 7:48 AM

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15.

ALWAYS
Emergencies (especially pandemics) 
Human Rights
Public Health (especially infectious diseases)

OFTEN
Organ transplantation/donation
Clinical trials
Resource allocation/priority setting
Promise-keeping
Body Modification (circumcision, body integrity identity disorder)

OCCASIONALLY
Advanced directives

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 1:54 PM

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16.

Relativism (i.e., why it's false) - every semester.

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 10:55 AM

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17.

Cheating

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 2:53 AM

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18.

Exploitation, Often

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 11:26 PM

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19.

Multiculturalism

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 7:19 PM

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20.

metaethics and normative ethics topics (if it is a general intro ethics course and not an applied ethics course)

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 10:51 AM

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21.

Price Gouging - Always
Blackmail - Often
Sweatshop Labor – Often

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 10:41 AM

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22.

FWIW, some of these are overlapping into one big topic such as war and self-defense and gay rights and sexual privacy rights. So I cover just a few topics in some depth when I do this. The stuff that I said rarely about is just stuff that comes up at times in talking about the rest.

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 10:35 AM

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23.

Gambling, love and marriage (adultery, etc.)

I should note that in my General Education ethics courses, the students select the topics, so my responses reflect their interests rather than my own preferences.

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 9:21 AM

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24.

Free speech more generally than pornography - often.

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 9:19 AM

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25.

Friendship (often)
Happiness/Well-being (often)
Just work (Sometimes)

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 8:41 AM

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26.

Surrogacy, specifically, which is included in at least one of the topics above (always)

Taxation, specifically, which is also included in at least one of the topics above (always)

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 8:41 AM

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27.

Punishment (often)

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 7:21 AM

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28.

Animal harm more generally when I cover animal experimentation.

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 5:52 AM

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29.

Eugenics/ genetic enhancement – Often

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 3:02 AM

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30.

Torture (always)
Lying/Fraud (Often)

Mon, Mar 8, 2010 9:36 PM

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31.

What children owe their parents.
What parents owe their children.

Mon, Mar 8, 2010 8:41 PM

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32.

Self-defense, always

Mon, Mar 8, 2010 2:12 PM

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Ċ
Nathan Nobis2,
Apr 6, 2010, 9:25 AM
Comments