How to Write an Ethics Essay about Coronavirus Covid-19: A Detailed Guide for Students

Writing guide
Posted on April 9, 2020

In a few months since it became known to the public, coronavirus Covid-19 has firmly become a part of our lives. No matter where one lives, the news about its spread and measures taken against it are perceived with unfailing attention. It is only natural that professors and instructors both in high school and in college make it a topic of their assignments, especially in disciplines like ethics, which are commonly concerned with controversial themes. This sets a previously unknown challenge in front of students, as there is still very little information about the coronavirus, and reliable sources of data are hard to find and distinguish from rumors. In such a situation, one needs a detailed and comprehensive guide more than at any other time – and it is our job to provide it. In this guide, you will find all the data you need to write a well-informed essay on the coronavirus and the issues associated with it.

How to Write an Ethics Essay about Coronavirus: Where to Begin Your Work

1. Pick a Topic for Your Essay

At a glance, this does not seem to be much of a problem – after all, you already have to write about the coronavirus, so what is there to choose from? However, there are plenty of ethical concerns related to this issue, and you should be careful to choose something that meets the following requirements:

  • There should be plenty of verifiable information on the subject. Even the most fascinating topic is not much good if you cannot find data about it, or if the data is of doubtful quality;
  • It should not be already broadly covered by other scholars, otherwise you may be accused of plagiarizing their work;
  • You should be able to cover it in a way that will not allow you to be accused of insensitivity.

Some examples of potentially viable topics include:

  • The Importance of Transparency for Battling the Spread of Coronavirus;
  • Isolation and Quarantine: Reconciling Personal Freedom and the Needs of the Community;
  • The Influence of Cultural Factors on the Spread of Coronavirus: Can We Ban Age-Old Traditions Due to Healthcare Concerns?
  • Coronavirus Spread and Discrimination against the People from Affected Regions: What Can Be Done?
  • The Medical Staff and Their Moral Responsibilities towards Those Infected with the Coronavirus.

2. Find Sources of Information

The problem with the coronavirus is not that it is hard to find information about it, but that it is all too easy. Just like with any other currently important topic, there is so much said about it now that one has to be very careful when using any of this data. There are few academic sources with 100 percent authoritative data, and even the sources that one can commonly trust (official documents, well-reputed news agencies, etc.) are prone to mistakes and misinformation. All this calls for special measures when looking for the data on the coronavirus.

  • There are few verifiable academic sources – new data about the virus appears all the time, and most of what we hear about it every day are conjectures at the very best;
  • A lot of what you will find is going to be opinions and viewpoints, not necessarily supported with real data;
  • You will have to maintain balance between using the latest possible sources and making sure the information in them is true;
  • Stick to official sources and be very careful when using anything else.

3. Check Your Facts

Checking your facts is important for any academic paper, but it is especially true for a burning issue like the coronavirus crisis. What we know about it is highly volatile and little of it is 100 percent verifiable. You should take any news report or a piece of data about it with a huge pile of salt. The Internet is rife with fake news, rumors and information of doubtful provenance. Right now, it may be outright impossible to be sure if this or that report has anything to do with reality – all you can do is do your best to check and recheck everything you find multiple times before using it in your essay. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check the author of the source. Does he/she have the necessary qualifications and expertise to make conclusions about the topic? Is he/she connected with any organization that may be interested in its own biased interpretation of the data?
  • If you encounter a reference to a particular fact, try tracking it back and finding the first time it is mentioned. These days, even seemingly trustworthy sources sometimes cite what later turns out to be fake news;
  • Check the date of publication. New data about the coronavirus appears all the time, and what you currently use to write your essay may already be disproved or outdated;
  • Check if any authoritative specialists support the information you are about to use. While you are free to make your own judgments related to ethics, everything related to medicine, biology etc. should be verified.

4. Write a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the primary idea of your essay around which you build the rest of your argument. In it, you express what you want to say, while in the rest of the text you simply provide evidence and arguments to persuade the reader that you are right. The most important requirements applied to it are:

  • It should be direct and straightforward. It is especially important for a discipline like ethics, as it is often concerned with slight shades of meaning and interpretation. Make sure it is impossible to misunderstand you;
  • It should be short. Express your main idea in a single sentence. If you find it impossible, refine it further;
  • It should contain a single statement, expressing your main thought on the subject. If you find it necessary to point out two or more thoughts, you are not focused enough.

5. Write an Outline

An outline is a detailed plan of your essay, not simply enumerating the points to cover in the introduction, main paragraphs and the conclusion, but also detailing a host of smaller things: how you will start your essay, how you connect individual paragraphs to each other, what evidence you will mention at each point and so on. Many students believe it to be an unnecessary step and jump right to writing the essay proper as soon as they finish gathering information, but it is a wrong approach, as you are likely to waste more time on rewritings and corrections than you would save by skipping the outline.

How to Write an Ethics Essay about Coronavirus: Writing Your Paper

1. Write an Introduction

When writing about a sensitive topic like coronavirus, you should maintain balance between establishing the connection with your readers with the very first sentence and not stepping on anyone’s toes. Avoid making any sweeping statements or at least be very careful when expressing yourself to make sure they cannot be misunderstood, as you do not know whom you can offend or annoy. As you write about the ethical aspects of dealing with the pandemic, you have to be particularly careful about it. Some ways you may start your essay include:

  • A meaningful statistic. Just keep it in mind that the data on the coronavirus changes all the time, and any statistic you present will be obsolete in a few hours;
  • Attracting attention to a particular episode. The current crisis is rife with examples of both inspiring heroism and dubious behavior, many of which are not widely known beyond the countries they happen. Singling out such events and situations may provide a valuable illustration for your point;
  • A comparison. Covid-19 is not the first epidemic mankind deals with, and parallels with the past crises can provide valuable counterpoints to what happens today;
  • A personal account. Chances are, even if you do not personally know anybody infected with the virus, it has already influenced your life directly or indirectly. Use it as a foundation for your argument.

2. Write Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you elaborate on your thesis statement, provide additional details and in general try to prove that your point of view is viable. Depending on the size of your essay, it may have any number of body paragraphs, however, usually it is no less than three. Each body paragraph covers a single point – do not gradually move on to the next idea within the confines of a single paragraph or jump back and forth between two topics. Separate what you are talking about into distinct chunks – it will make it easier for you to write and for the reader to comprehend.

The structure of a body paragraph is usually as follows:

  • Topic sentence. The first sentence of a paragraph that signifies what it is about. Make them as clear and direct as possible – readers often use them to navigate the essay and create a preliminary impression of it;
  • Supporting sentences. Here you elaborate on the point of the paragraph, provide evidence and arguments in favor of your ideas. Try to either keep the amount of evidence consistent throughout all the points;
  • Counterarguments. Ethics is a discipline that naturally lends itself to argument – each point can be viewed and interpreted from multiple positions. If you anticipate arguments against your statements, address them here;
  • Summary. If a paragraph is long and complex, summarize what it says in a single sentence.

3. Write a Conclusion

Here you enumerate the outcomes of your research, investigation or contemplation and show how and why what you wrote is meaningful as a part of the bigger picture. At this point, you should no longer introduce any new information – only sum up what you already said and draw conclusions from it. Usually this part of an essay contains a short summary of your paper – once more, you mention the most important points you made so far and how you interpreted them. As your essay is concerned with ethical issues, it is important to dedicate some space to explaining your position.
After that, you should not just tell what conclusions you made, but also point out what they entail and in what direction the further study of the issue may and should proceed based on your findings.

How to Write an Ethics Essay about Coronavirus: Editing and Proofreading

1. Check the Latest Info

Due to the nature of the crisis, the situation may change even over the few days you spend writing your essay. If there are any significant new developments, you should edit your essay to account for them. All the requirements concerning checking the quality of the sources apply. Pay special attention to the statistical data – not only does it change every day, but also the earlier reports may be questioned in light of newer findings.

2. Check for Clarity

Ethics is by definition not a straightforward subject, especially when we are dealing with a totally new problem, like the one posed by Covid-19. Different people may have completely different ethical standpoints on the same issue, and so far, we do not have clearly defined bodies of research and literature to back up any of them. In this situation, it is particularly important to make yourself clear. Reread the entire essay and make sure you express your position straightforwardly.

3. Check for Tone

Writing about sensitive issues like the coronavirus pandemic requires careful approach and choice of words. It is easy to pass as insensitive or offensive. Before finalizing your essay, go over it and make sure you maintain a consistently neutral and professional tone without venturing into either callousness or sentimentality.

4. Check for Grammar and Spelling

While grammatical and orthographical errors may not seem like a particularly important issue when compared to your topic in general, your professors and instructors still consider it to be as crucial as ever. Therefore, dedicate at least one rereading fully to checking your text for grammatical and orthographical correctness. Do not rely on automatic online grammar checkers too much – they are often stumped by more complex sentence structures and have many other drawbacks. Do editing and proofreading yourself or ask a reliable friend for help.

Writing about the coronavirus retains all the difficulties associated with writing on ethical issues but adds a host of extra problems, like the newness of the problem and doubts in the legitimacy of every bit of information. However, if you follow these steps, we believe that you can successfully complete your assignment.

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