260+ Ethical Paper Topics – Types | Guide | Topics

This article covers a list of over 260 Ethical Paper Topics and a guide on how to write an ethical paper.

Ethics is a branch of study in philosophy that studies the concept of morality—what is good or bad, what is acceptable or unacceptable.

It’s a philosophical theory that looks into moral rules and codes, principles, value systems, and other related concepts.

In academia, an ethical theory is used as one of the analytical tools in drawing analysis on several socio-cultural topics.

Ethics can be applied to any particular subject matter in human society. And, on this, so many compelling, controversial or interesting ethical topics for academic essays and research papers have continued to spring up.

You can also check out The Intersection of Values and Ethics

Types of Ethics

Modern philosophy

  • The core question of Metaethics is: “What is morality, and where does it come from?” It is also concerned with the emergence of human values, motivation, and reasoning.
  • Normative ethics seeks to answer the question, “How should I act?” An example of a normative moral theory is Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. In other words: be kind.
  • Applied ethics seeks to apply moral considerations into real-life controversial subjects. Its contents can vary greatly and touch bioethics as well as criminal justice. It studies specific actions and practices from the point of moral acceptance.

However, ethics does not end with these three types. Over the centuries, philosophers have proposed various ethical theories.

General Categories

  • deontologist is a person with a set of moral duties from which they will not adhere.

When faced with an ethical conflict, they will always act according to their self-proclaimed obligations.

  • For a utilitarian, a decision needs to yield the greatest benefit for the majority.
  • If rights are the root of an ethical theory, these are the highest priority. A person’s rights can either be established in society by law or bestowed from one individual upon another.
  • Judging someone by virtue means considering a person’s character rather than their actions.

Here, an individual’s reputation, motivation, and ethics play a crucial role.

How to Write an Ethical Essay?

Writing an ethical paper is a challenging task that requires extra effort and time. Especially when it comes to writing about sensitive ethical issues, you should provide your valuable arguments in favor or against the subject without hurting a specific community or group.

Whenever you are assigned a task to prepare an ethical essay or research paper, make sure to follow the below-mentioned steps.

  1. Identify a unique ethical topic or issue for preparing the academic paper.
  2. Refer to credible sources and gather more ideas about the various aspects of the issue by doing deep research and analysis.
  3. Search and find the best examples that are relevant to your essay or research question.
  4. Prepare a neat essay outline that includes three main sections – introduction, body, and conclusion. If your essay is argumentative, include the refutation section.
  5. Begin writing the paper with an introductory paragraph. In the introduction section, give the background information of the issue you have selected and add a strong thesis statement.
  6. In the body section, discuss all the important aspects that are related to ethics with valid real-time examples. Remember, to support all of your claims with relevant evidence.
  7. Never use complex sentences to share your opinions. Your academic paper should be professional and easy to read. In specific, when writing the academic paper, present your perspectives, recommendations, or state your opinions on the ethical topic you have selected.
  8. Finally, end the academic paper with a powerful conclusion. In the conclusion section, restate your thesis statement and summarize all the main points of your work. Here, you should mainly discuss the finding of your study and conclude the paper.
  9. If you have used any sources of reference for writing the ethical paper, then make a note to include in-text citations at the end of the paper. Also, add comments to the facts you present in the essay.
  10. Before submission of the academic paper, check the paper multiple times and edit the grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors if there are any. You can also get help from your peers for feedback and essay revision.

Ethical Paper Topics

Environmental Ethics Topics

Here are some ethics topics based on the subject of environmental awareness:

  1. Are we morally bound to take initiatives for environmental conservation?
  2. Is environment awareness a virtue?
  3. Is it ethical to keep animals in circuses and zoos?
  4. Are zoos any better for the animals than circuses?
  5. How ethical or justified is the use of animal skin and fur?
  6. Should the tanning and fur industry be banned or strictly regulated?
  7. Should there be strict policies against polluting water bodies by the industries?
  8. Should game hunting be banned completely across the world?
  9. Is cutting forests justified for setting up research centers for environmental protection?
  10. Does landscaping and beautification of landfills with plants solve the problem of environmental pollution caused by waste?

Medical Ethics Topics

If you want to write your paper on medical ethics, here is a list of ethical topics to pick from:

  1. Is it ethical to accept an executed felon’s organ?
  2. Are suicides assisted by doctors moral and ethically correct?
  3. Is it ethical to freeze women’s eggs for conception later?
  4. Is surrogacy ethical?
  5. Is uterus transplant ethical if it gives a woman the chance to carry her own baby?
  6. Can doctors be considered ethical if they display the pictures of patients who have died?
  7. Is it ethical to recycle medical equipment?
  8. Is abortion morally upright?
  9. Is it ethical to shop for the best egg to ensure desirable best traits in the child to be?
  10. Should human genetic engineering be made legal?
  11. Is it morally correct to do cloning of living beings like animals, birds, or eventually humans?
  12. Should human embryos be used in genetic engineering research?
  13. Is organ donation by a poor person for money considered ethical?
  14. Why is gender determination ethical in some countries and unethical in others?
  15. Are hospitals morally correct to sell medical supplies within their premises?

You can also check out Creative Ethics Topics for Essays

Business Ethics Paper Topics

Ethical issues topics related to the verticals of business and management are plenty:

  1. What are the business ethics related to the sale of marijuana?
  2. Is it morally correct to legalize the sale of marijuana?
  3. Should an employer who does not believe in the need to use contraception be made to pay for the same for his/her employees?
  4. Is utilitarianism ethically justified?
  5. Can businesses generate positive responses on social media without eroding business ethics?
  6. The ethical philosophy behind Bitcoin – an insight
  7. Does Bitcoing border on being money laundering or does it offer lower costs to end users?
  8. Is it ethical to promote a company’s CSR initiatives on social media?
  9. Should an employee’s inappropriate social media presence be reason enough for the company to fire him?
  10. Beauty industry and its ethical standpoint on extensive use of plastic?
  11. Does being extremely rich automatically become unethical from certain perspectives?
  12. Should you buy products of companies that privatise water?
  13. Is online employee monitoring for behaviour ethical on the company’s behalf?
  14. Is unequal wealth distribution unethical in the society?
  15. Is it ethical to force companies through law to hire more women to promote gender equality?
  16. Are businesses justified in having sexual exploitation laws for women but none for men?
  17. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concept of universal income?
  18. How should businesses handle hate messages on social media?
  19. Is it ethical to install surveillance to supervise employees in an office?
  20. The ethical need to identify and correct workplace hazards.

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Ethical Paper Topics
Ethical Paper Topics

Biomedical Ethics Topics

  1. Should Ebola victims be quarantined? How ethical is it?
  2. Should donation of organs upon death be made mandatory?
  3. Is it the business of organ trafficking in developing countries the ethical responsibility of wealthy and developed countries?
  4. CRISPR — the associated ethical responsibilities, an insight
  5. Stem cell research — ethical problems an insight
  6. Is it ethical to start using humans for drug testing?
  7. Is it ethical to make vaccinations mandatory for all?
  8. What are the ethics guiding medical workers?
  9. Plastic surgery – harmful effects and the ethical standpoint
  10. Is it morally correct to keep alive a brain-dead person?
  11. Is it ethical that the quality and duration of medical care be linked to a person’s economic status?
  12. Mustn’t everyone be made a default organ donor?
  13. For contagious disease patients what is more important — privacy or the at risk relative’s right to information?
  14. Is it ethical to perform prenatal invasive testing?
  15. Is it ethical to give neuroenhancement drugs?
  16. Disclosure and Barring Service — an ethical discussion
  17. How ethical is the enhancement of memory function through brain stimulation?
  18. Precision medicine — an analysis of the concerning ethical issues
  19. Surrogacy — associated ethical issues
  20. Is it ethical on part of a medical professional to collect a deceased person’s healthy tissues without prior consent?

Ethical Hacking Research Paper Topics

  1. Goals of security in ethical hacking
  2. World’s most significant data breaches
  3. Viruses and malware to watch out for in 2022
  4. Assessing an organization’s vulnerability to cyber attacks
  5. How much time should an organization perform a backup every day?
  6. A case study of the qualitative risk assessment methods
  7. Disadvantages of black-box testing
  8. Does ethical hacking exist?
  9. How did ethical hacking come to be?
  10. Ethical hacking: Is it worth it?

Ethical Leadership Research Paper Topics

  1. Ethical leadership: The barriers to successful leadership
  2. The place of moral leadership in corrupt countries
  3. Rethinking ethical leadership in the 21st century
  4. Impact of Leadership courses on ethical leading
  5. How a teacher’s ethical behavior impacts students
  6. Is ethical leadership practiced in universities?
  7. Ethical leadership and employee relationships
  8. A case study of companies practicing ethical leadership and their performance
  9. Leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela: A case study
  10. A review of the relationship between moral and relational leadership

Ethical Egoism Research Paper Topics

  1. A comparison between ethical Egoism versus virtue ethics
  2. Ethical Egoism: A philosophical position
  3. Crime and Ethical Egoism
  4. Contrast between Ethical Egoism and Psychological Egoism
  5. Impact of ethical Egoism in business
  6. Thoughtful commentary on ethical Egoism
  7. Ethics and morality compared
  8. What is Ethical Egoism and What it Is Not
  9. A study of ethical egoism theories
  10. Contribution of a song to ethical egoism theory

Controversial Ethical Topics for Research Paper

  1. Is plastic surgery ethical?
  2. The impact of capital punishment on primary human rights
  3. Why genetic cloning is not to be pursued in the future
  4. Is abortion legal or illegal?
  5. Is human trafficking justified in any law?
  6. How safe is animal testing for humans?
  7. Is genetic cloning interfering with Mother Nature?
  8. Impact of ethnic adoption on a child’s development
  9. Are pills doing us more harm than good?
  10. Is a person justified to take his or her life?

Interesting Ethical Issues Topics for Research Paper

  1. What is the ethical impact of organ donation?
  2. The view of Catholicism on homosexuality
  3. Should we help strangers anywhere whenever we meet them?
  4. Should there be rich and poor people in the same country?
  5. Should newspapers and televisions show pictures of caskets?
  6. Should people leave their contact information at entrances?
  7. Who is responsible for the moral ethics of children: Parents or teachers?
  8. Should you report a close family friend involved in crime?
  9. Are politicians free to make campaigns in church?
  10. Is assisted suicide not the same as murder?

Ethics topics in Nursing

Take a look at some impressive ethical topics for papers:

  1. Is it ethical to bid for your healthcare provider?
  2. Was it ethical to offer treatment to American Ebola patients while others did not get it?
  3. Is it mandatory to give flu shots to kids?
  4. Should it be made legal to use drugs personally?
  5. Placing the elderly in care centers — whose call should it be?
  6. The ethical insight into the pressures on the nursing staff to complete their autonomy.
  7. The nursing staff has no autonomy over patient treatment; is it ethical?
  8. Personal rights Vs Nursing ethics — what to pick?
  9. Why is it morally correct/incorrect to place nursing staff as subjugates to doctors and legal provisions to break it?
  10. Laws that help nurses overcome doctor dominance and practice autonomy — how justified are they?

Computing Ethics Topics

  1. Is the imposition of mass surveillance justified?
  2. New software development — an insight into associated social responsibility.
  3. Is it ethical to remove offensive content from the Internet? Who decides what is offensive?
  4. What situations make it ethical to sabotage someone’s computer?
  5. Internet — which ethical problems does it raise?
  6. Job automation — are there associated moral problems?
  7. Media downloads from the internet and related ethical concerns.
  8. Drones and the associated ethical conflicts?
  9. How much dependence on computers is correct?
  10. The dangers of putting important data online — loss is whose ethical responsibility?
  11. How secure are computers to store such volumes of our information?
  12. Privacy Vs easy accessibility how and what to choose?
  13. Is ethical hacking really ethical?
  14. Do computers address privacy concerns satisfactorily?
  15. Online data distribution is whose ethical responsibility?
  16. How ethical is charging for software?
  17. Why are ethics boards required in tech companies?
  18. Computer crimes — are they less harmful as compared to crimes against humans?
  19. Is it legitimate to possess a patent for a computer algorithm?
  20. Cyberbullying — ethical concerns and prevention?
  21. Facial recognition systems and their unethical racial bias
  22. The ethical impact of anonymity on internet users.
  23. Online rights protection — which laws apply?
  24. Is hacking ever considered ethical?
  25. Is the lack of computerized infrastructure in poor nations an ethical question to be answered by the developed nations?
  26. Artificial Intelligence and the associated ethical problems
  27. Computer mistakes — whose ethical responsibility is it?
  28. What is ideal netiquette?
  29. What are the best ways to deal with tech ethical problems?
  30. Is ethical behavior possible to ensure through AI algorithms?

You can also check out 200+ Interesting Demonstration Speech Ideas

Ethics presentation topics

  1. Psychological/ethical egoism — for and against arguments.
  2. Do a person’s ethics change by believing in God?
  3. Does culture or society affect morals?
  4. Is the issue of hunger in underdeveloped countries a moral responsibility of developed countries?
  5. Ethics of feminism — issues related to freedom and equality vs traditional values
  6. Sexism at the workplace — how ethics need to be defined
  7. Racism – an ethical injustice
  8. Are discriminations against LGBT+ people justified?
  9. Refugees – is it always the ethical concern of governments?
  10. Should past mistakes of modern nations still be held against them?

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Ethical Paper Topics
Ethical Paper Topics

Ethical argument topics

The following are some great ethical arguments topics for your essay:

  1. Racial profiling — is it moral?
  2. Should books from killers be published?
  3. Is it morally correct for a father to keep alive a brain-dead mother so that the fetus can be incubated?
  4. Does the level of education influence a person’s morality?
  5. Should the future of technological advancements be discussed with philosophers as well?
  6. Is it ethical to punish protests by students?
  7. Are low moral standards punishable?
  8. Pet operations vs Investing in healthcare in developing countries? Which is ethically more deserving?
  9. Designer babies – the ethics behind the concept.
  10. Does feminism oppose religion?
  11. Is the disadvantaged position enjoyed by black Americans a responsibility of the white Americans?
  12. Is war ever ethical?
  13. If drug use was made legal, would it become ethical?
  14. Having children and their carbon impact.
  15. How is state control of the press ethically justified?
  16. Teaching religion at school – is it morally correct?
  17. Is it correct to keep a watch on kids’ internet activities?
  18. If ever you caused an accident that had no witnesses, would you report it?
  19. Is censoring hate speeches on social media ethical?
  20. When a patient refuses treatment that could save his life due to religious reasons what is the role of the doctor?
  21. If a client’s political/religious views are opposite of yours is it ethical to refuse?
  22. Is it ethical to promote something you do not believe in for money?
  23. Is lying for a job that takes you out of a poor lifestyle justified?
  24. Would you cheat on your partner to take revenge if they had cheated on you earlier?
  25. Is it ethical to ask back a loan from a friend if they are still not financially stable but you have a need?

Good Ethical Questions For Discussion

Primarily, ethics asks and answers the question of wrong or good. There are so many social issues that will make for good ethical questions for discussion.

Here is a list of ethical questions for students to form insights from:

  1. How does ethics help to promote healthy workplace awareness?
  2. Does the practice of abortion negate morality?
  3. Is it right for a rape victim to be denied access to safe and free abortion?
  4. How do homophobia, racism, misogyny, and ableist practices hinder social growth?
  5. Should there be free access to condoms and contraceptive pills?
  6. Is free access to contraceptives better than the provision of menstrual materials
  7. How can racism be dismantled in an organization without consideration to institutionalized racism?
  8. How does the continuous promotion of capitalist concepts hinder societal progress?
  9. Does capitalism truly hinder social growth?
  10. Why should there be free access to contraceptive materials especially for women?
  11. What are the possible feasible solutions to the issue of climate change?
  12. Is it unethical not to share the wealth?
  13. Is engaging in warfare the right way to bring solutions?
  14. Does the use of makeup contradict the concept of beauty?
  15. Why are LGBTQ+ rights human rights?
  16. Is the legalization of cannabis ethical?
  17. Does the way you dress need to be the reason you are addressed a certain way?
  18. Are there moral problems that come with job automation?
  19. What can be done to combat the use of harmful substances
  20. Why should companies stop discriminating based on sex?
  21. What is the social relevance of providing workplace access?
  22. Why should parents and teachers stop flogging students?
  23. What is the distinction between discipline and strictness?
  24. Should religious beliefs be a dealbreaker in any relationship?

Bioethics Topics for an Essay

Bioethics comes into play when we talk about life and health. It expands from genetics to neurology and even plastic surgery.

In the name of the common good, researchers often find themselves in conflicting positions. This makes bioethics an especially exciting topic to write about.

  1. Discuss the moral conflicts of genetic engineering.
  2. What are the ethical responsibilities associated with using CRISPR?
  3. Investigate the problems of stem cell research.
  4. When can humans be used for drug testing?
  5. Should vaccinations be mandatory for everyone?
  6. Investigate the ethics that apply to a medical worker.
  7. Discuss the harmful effects of plastic surgery.
  8. Should a person who is brain dead be kept alive?
  9. Is it just that medical care is linked to an individual’s ability to pay?
  10. Should everyone be an organ donor by default?
  11. What is more important: a person’s right to privacy or the information of at-risk relatives?
  12. Is prenatal invasive testing ethical?
  13. Should neuroenhancement drugs be legal?
  14. Discuss ethical conflicts concerning Disclosure and Barring Service.
  15. Is it ethical to improve memory functions with brain stimulation?
  16. Analyze the ethical issues concerning precision medicine.
  17. What are the problems of surrogacy?
  18. Should medical personnel collect healthy tissues of a deceased person without their consent?
  19. What should be done with the child of a brain-dead pregnant woman?
  20. How important is a subject’s anonymity during research?
  21. Discuss the ethics of shared decision-making.
  22. How much responsibility do mentally challenged people carry for their actions?
  23. Was Sweden right not to impose strict lockdown rules during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  24. To what extent are businesses responsible for their employees’ health?
  25. Should universal healthcare be free?

You can also check out Nursing Ethics and Social Media

Related FAQs

1. How to write an ethical research paper?

Ethics focuses on the shades of gray rather than black and white. Students should choose a research topic bearing in mind the implications carefully. The language used in an ethical research paper should also be prudent enough to prevent lawsuits.

2. What are the benefits of writing an ethics paper?

Following our communication’s ethical norms, we can achieve great results in negotiating, convincing our partners, and making a considered decision. Having written a few ethics paper topics, you will definitely acquire useful skills.

3. How to write a term paper for ethics class?

When it comes to writing term papers, the first step is coming up with an appropriate topic. But this has proven to be a major challenge for learners. For students in ethics classes, selecting a topic for their assignments is more challenging because the subject is very wide.

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