How to Solve Ethics Case Study Questions in GS Paper 4

How to Solve Ethics Case Study Questions in GS Paper 4

How to Solve Ethics Case Study Questions in GS Paper 4: In IAS General Studies paper-4 you will also get some case study questions and suggesting solutions to the problems raised in the questions. The purpose of the case study is to test your ability to understand situations of administrative, moral or ethical dilemmas and work out a pragmatic solution. UPSC knows quite well that a student is not in a real position of power or authority to solve the case. Therefore, the expectation from the case study is to understand it in simple terms and offer simple workable solutions.

However, more than the solution it is the structure of the answer to a case study that holds significance. Answering a case study is not akin to answering a GS question. Therefore, the format has to be entirely different for answering a case study. In this article, we will focus on some tips to help you solve ethics case study questions in IAS Mains exam.


Tips to Solve Ethics Case Study Questions in GS Paper 4

Whenever you attempt case study questions in IAS GS paper 4, there are many aspects through which you are judged. So, you need to present your answer in such a way that it reflects a positive quick solution to given dilemmas. Here we have mentioned some tips to help you solve ethics case study questions in IAS GS paper 4 with ease:

Read the case study twice

Read the case study at least twice to understand what it is basically about. In a given case study, many facts will be included, however, not all of them will be relevant from the point of view of finding a solution. During the first reading, mark the important facts and conflicting issues. During the second reading, make sure that no important point is left out.

Write down the major facts and figure

Write down the major facts that have emerged from your careful reading of the case. Impress upon the examiner this way that you have the capacity to pinpoint the facts presented in the case.

Locate the key points in the case study

Locate the key points in the case study which will emerge from examining the gathered facts about the case. These key points will lead to finding the solution.

Follow Basic Principles

Work out a solution to the case on the basis of the following principles-

  • Is your solution a workable solution or a theoretical one? Go for the workable solution.
  • Is the solution within your sphere of authority or not. In other words, are you the authority to decide the matter or it lies with other authorities to solve it?
  • Your call of duty. Is the case asking you to perform a duty enjoined on you due to a particular position you occupy?
  • Is your solution within laws, rules, and regulations?
  • What are the possible consequences of the solution? Will the decision lead to positive consequences or create more problems than it will solve?

Evaluate the Alternative Actions from Various Moral Points of View

  • If the case has not offered various options to choose from, then you have to just write your single solution and not give multiple solutions on your own.
  • If the case itself has offered some options and then asks you to choose the option, then you may choose one or more options by analysing all the options and your reason for choosing one or more options.
  • If given a choice and freedom to do so, you may also suggest your own options beyond the given options. If you do not agree with any of the options suggested in the case, you can reject them all citing your reasons and then give your own option. You can use some other step to give right solution. The steps are given below:
    • Which alternative would help one develop and maintain a virtuous state of character (e.g., be a person of courage or compassion)
    • Which alternative would make a good general rule (e.g., always treat others in a just manner) for people to follow in similar situations?
    • Which alternative would lead to the best overall consequences?
    • Which alternative best protects the moral rights of individuals?
    • Which alternative best promotes the common good?

Avoid Giving Unnecessary Details

Many candidates offer some long-term solution to the issue which is not mentioned in the case study. Always remember that your job is to solve the case in the context of the given case study and not offer unsolicited solutions and suggestions. This should be avoided. You can not exceed the brief given in the case study and offer solutions which are not solicited in the case study.


Tips to Write Ethics Case Study Answers

The solution you offer to ethics case study questions must reflect the following aspects of your personality:

  1. That you can provide positive solutions in situations of dilemmas.
  2. That your solution is quick to implement.
  3. That your solution is well within rules and regulations within which you are supposed to function.
  4. That you can provide ‘out of box’ solutions to complex situations.
  5. That you will hold values of integrity, objectivity, impartiality in your solution.
  6. That you will show compassion, empathy in deserving cases.
  7. That you possess a high sense of public duty, that you are committed to public service.
  8. That you hold the core foundational values of Civil Services.

Finally, it is always better to solve ethics case study questions first and then take up general questions in the GS Paper. Case studies of IAS exam will require a fresh mind, a lot of thinking and preparing the sketch work before actually writing them. If you take them up in the last minutes, you will not be able to concentrate well on finding the solution.


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We hope this article provides you with useful information regarding the tips to solve ethics case study questions for IAS GS paper 4. Stay connected for more information regarding UPSC Civil Services Exam Recruitment 2017. To excel in Civil Services Examination, download the Best IAS Exam Preparation App for free.

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