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Professional Ethics: Start with Background Info.

Start with background information to explore the conversation

What does "explore the conversation" mean?

reasonable protest sign

When we're looking at current moral problems in your profession or in the broader society, there will be multiple viewpoints involved in the issue. In order to build a good search, and to be able to present the problem clearly to your audience in your presentation, you will want to be able to fairly summarize the major parts of your problem-- how it developed and what is at stake for people discussing it (why we have conflict about the problem).

When you explore these different viewpoints, you are exploring the conversation around the problem. You will want to look at different views in a non-judgemental way, even if they do not agree with your own opinion or feelings on the problem.

Reasonable Protest Sign. 2015. David Putney Blog. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Begin your research

Use reference books and articles:

  • to get factual background information on an issue or topic. Learn the "who, what, when, where, why's."

  • to get statistical information (be sure it's current enough)

  • to quickly scan a topic for keywords 

  • to get leads to other sources (bibliographies)

General Philosophy Reference

Reference Databases (for Background)


Explore the Conversation to Understand Different Viewpoints

CQ Researcher
Opposing Viewpoints

EXAMPLE - Reading a reference article

Use reference articles to understand the general view of what is happening with an issue, who is involved, and why there is debate over it. 

You can use important words or ideas (see the highlighted words in the example below) as keywords to build more focused or related searches.

GVRL Global Warming reference article

Reference Books @ Holman