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Ethics Resources for IPRO Teams: Home

This is a resource guide for IPRO teams interested in looking at the ethical issues inherent in their project topics.

What is Ethics?

It's hard to have a discussion about ethics if you are now sure what is meant by the term.  Here is a short list of deffinitions of terms commonly used when talking about ethics, as well as a copy of the "Seven Step Method for Ethical Decision-Making" - a helpful guide that takes you through the steps of thinking through a complex ethical question.

Ethics Discussion Exercises

The Center the for the Study of Ethics in the Professions is working with the Interprofessional Projects Office of IIT to help develop ways of integrating ethics instruction into the IPRO program. Below is a collection of resources for students and faculty advisors interested in exploring the unique ethical questions raised by their projects.  The exercises below are only suggestions. Please feel free to adapt them as you see fit, or contact Kelly Laas ( for more ideas and resources.

Ethics Exercises 

In-Class Ethics Bowl

Dividing into groups, team members have the chance to compete in an competition where students debate questions about ethics case studies highlighting major ethical issues in their project. Excellent for introducing students to ethics. The competition can be between one or more IPRO teams, and cover any ethics topic you wish. Feel free to use this Guide for Discussing Ethics Case Studies as the two teams discuss the cases in preperation for the competition.

Ethics Presentation & Case Discussions

Groups are students are asked to research and present on ethics topics related to their project, and to lead a case study discussion with their team. Excellent for introducing students to ethics.

Interview with a Professional

Used successfully for many years as part of an IIT undergraduate course taught by Dr. Vivian Weil, Phil 370: Engineering Ethics, this exercise asks students to interview a professional in the workplace about a simple case study, and ask their interviewee about how he/she would go about solving the ethical dilemma in the case. The aim of the interview is to elicit the interviewee’s analysis of the situation and especially the resources in his or her company (for example, a process or committee in the company) for resolving such a problem. Students are often surprised both that the professionals they interview are concerned about ethical issues, and that many resources exist to help individuals in the workplace solve these problems.

Newspaper Article Discussion

When working single-mindedly on a project like IPRO, it is easy to forget how what is being done at the bench level connects with the larger ethical issues that are being debated in society, such as issues of patenting, privacy, emerging technologies, health care and education. This exercise seeks to help students see these connections by having them participate in a guided discussion about a set of recent news articles that touch upon some of the larger social implications of their IPRO project.

Professional Codes of Ethics Discussion

In groups, students examine the similarities and differences between their own professional codes of ethics, and have the chance to reflect on how these codes can be used to solve a series of mini case studies and provide guidance for examining ethics issues inherent in their own project.

Case Study Writing Assignment

Students are asked to adapt or write an ethics case study highlighting an ethical issue faced in work on their own project, based on an existing case study, a recent news article, or an imaginary scenario.

Ethics Roundtable Discussion

Students develop a series of questions about the social and ethical questions raised by their project plan, and invite a panel of "experts" to come and discuss. Ideal for IPROs involved in service learning or community research, where students have a beginning understanding of ethics.

Role Play Scenarios

Role-playing can be a powerful learning experience and can, if used correctly, help stimulate lively discussion and debate among students. In this exercise, students are asks to take the part of a character in a case study that portrays a realistic, difficult ethical situation. The goal of this exercise is that student will recall what they have learned through participating in this role play scenario and be able to apply what they learned to ethical problems they may encounter in their professional careers

Visit the CSEP Library

Have more questions?  Feel free to stop by the Ethics Center library in Hermann Hall, room 205 for assistance in exploring ethical questions raised in your IPRO project.  IIT students and staff are welcome to check out books from the Ethics Center, stop by to talk with the librarian about where to find relevant books or articles, to use the Center as a meeting place for their IPRO team, or to make an appointment to talk with a member of the Center about their project.

 Please visit the Ethics Center homepage for more information about our location, hours and other resources.

Other Research Guides


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Kelly Laas
Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions
10 W. 35th Street
2nd Floor
Subjects: Ethics

Illinois Tech Research Policies

Research involves human participants when researchers seek to gain data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or are using identifiable private information.  This includes such things as conducting interviews, administering questionnaires or surveys, asking questions about an individual's life experience or reactions to a certain event, as well as research experiments asking individuals to perform certain tasks. 

All research projects involving human participants should meet a number of institutional and legal guidelines.  Information about these guidelines can be found in the resources listed below.