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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nancy A.S. Jecker
MHE 505
Seattle Campus

Professional Seminar I

Methods for identifying a bioethics research question and developing a systematic approach to investigating it, including utilization of bibliographic sources in bioethics, philosophy, history. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Class description

This course introduces graduate and professional students to bioethics as a field of scholarly inquiry. It accomplishes this primarily by exploring diverse methods of scholarly research in bioethics, and considering their application to the clinical setting. Among the research approaches we will examine are philosophical, theological, empirical, and historical methods. We also will look at the historical development of ethics committees and ethics consultation services designed to bring bioethics into the clinical setting.

Students will explore different disciplinary approaches to bioethics through readings, presentations, and class discussions. Invited speakers from the Department of Medical History and Ethics, reflecting diverse backgrounds in the fields of philosophy, theology, bioethics, education, history, genetics, and medicine will lead seminar discussions. Weekly reading assignments drawn from the literature of bioethics provide context and background for class discussions.

In addition to acquiring an understanding of various research and clinical methods in bioethics, students will practice research and presentation skills by defining a research topic, reviewing this topic in the bioethics literature, and preparing both written and oral presentations discussing this topic in the literature.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Students are required to select a research topic, which may be an area the student would like to explore in more depth as a possible future Master's Project. The research topic must be approved by the instructor in advance. Utilizing the research tools and methods taught in this class, students will prepare a brief, 6-8 page paper and accompanying bibliography. The paper will describe how a specific ethical debate or controversy is discussed in the contemporary scholarly literature, and will include a brief historical background identifying the origins of this debate. The paper, or some portion of it, will be presented to MHE faculty during the final class meeting(s).

Student grades will be based on the written paper and oral presentation, with each assignment weighted equally. The paper will be evaluated on the basis of both content (75%) and writing skills (25%). The oral presentation will be evaluated on the basis of both content (75%) and presentation skills (25%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
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Last Update by Amber L Curtis
Date: 09/25/2003