How to discuss an issue


Extended response questions generally ask the candidate to discuss three social or ethical issues relating to a particular scenario. There are usually three marks for the discussion of each issue, and often a further three marks given for “evaluation/weighing up”, making a total of 12 marks. This document explains how to allocate those marks.


The 3 marks for each issue


The first mark should be awarded for correctly identifying and outlining an issue. Do not award this if the candidate simply writes “privacy”. The candidate must place that issue in the context of the scenario of the question.

The second mark is awarded for a discussion of this issue in the context of the particular scenario. This may take the form of an example.

The third mark is awarded for adding a new dimension to the discussion. This would not just be a second example similar to the first example. (It could perhaps be a discussion on means of reducing the problem; it could be an entirely different type of breach of privacy.) But it must take the discussion on to a new level.

Example question: Discuss three possible social and/or ethical issues raised by the use of video cameras for surveillance in public places. Weigh up the importance of your arguments.

One issue is “who has access to the images, both on the monitors and the archive".

First Mark: A single sentence raising this as an issue (e.g. the invasion of privacy of the person photographed). Second mark: Describe the prospect of one of the people employed to monitor the camera images in real time being involved in unethical activities. Third mark: Discuss a different perspective, e.g. the ethics of ownership of the images once stored in the archive; perhaps the possibility of these images being passed on to a third party for unethical reasons OR, for example the possibility that these images could be manipulated and published.

The 3 evaluation/“weighing up” marks


Weighing up requires evaluation. The guide gives the following definition:

Evaluation Asks candidates to make an appraisal of the argument or concept under discussion. Candidates are required to weigh the nature of the evidence available, and identify and discuss the convincing aspects of the argument, as well as its limitations and implications.

In applying this definition to the extended response answer, it is something that goes deeper than a mere statement of a hierarchy of the three issues. If the candidate writes for the weighing up:


“…of these issues, ….. is the most important, ….. is next, and ….. is the least important”.

That answer is worth nothing. They must go on to explain why they feel that this is a meaningful hierarchy, in the context of this scenario, or they may go further and look at an overall balance of positive and negative points about surveillance. They must analyse the importance of the points they have raised and/or evaluate both sides of the argument.

Using either approach, there is an appraisal of the effects that the separate issues might have on either individuals or society. For example, the candidate may write:

“ ….. is of particular significance to (a group of individuals, e.g. ex-criminals), because ……….; whereas the general population may have more serious concerns over the effects of …….., because ………”.

Or they may address the following issues:

Whilst surveillance has a lot of positive features, for example reducing crimes, there are also ethical issues to consider such as reliability of the information and invasion of an individual’s privacy. Is the concern about undetected crime so important that we can justify this privacy invasion? Can we justify surveillance in a shopping centre to reduce theft in stores? Is the situation different in an airport where lives could be at risk from terrorists? Are there measures that we can put into place in order to minimise the likelihood of breach of privacy? If this is done can we conclude that surveillance is justified as it can help reduce crime and prevent terrorism? Studies can be cited to show that identification is not always reliable. How can this impact on individuals? Is there a way of increasing reliability? Should this technology be put in place if we cannot ensure this reliability?

From OCC Discussion:


Example question:

"Discuss three possible social and/or ethical issues raised by the use of video cameras for surveillance in public places. Weigh up the importance of your arguments."

One issue is "who has access to the images, both on the monitors and the archive".

First Mark: A single sentence raising this as an issue (e.g. the invasion of privacy of the person photographed).
Second mark: Describe the prospect of one of the people employed to monitor the camera images in real time being involved in unethical activities.
Third mark: Discuss a different perspective, e.g. the ethics of ownership of the images once stored in the archive; perhaps the possibility of these images being passed on to a third party for unethical reasons OR, for example the possibility that these images could be manipulated and published.

The 3 evaluation/"weighing up" marks


Weighing up requires evaluation. The guide gives the following definition:

Evaluation Asks candidates to make an appraisal of the argument or concept under discussion. Candidates are required to weigh the nature of the evidence available, and identify and discuss the convincing aspects of the argument, as well as its limitations and implications.

In applying this definition to the extended response answer, it is something that goes deeper than a mere statement of a hierarchy of the three issues.
If the candidate writes for the weighing up:

"of these issues, .. is the most important, .. is next, and .. is the least important".

That answer is worth nothing.
They must go on to explain why they feel that this is a meaningful hierarchy, in the context of this scenario, or they may go further and look at an overall balance of positive and negative points about surveillance. They must analyse the importance of the points they have raised and/or evaluate both sides of the argument.
Using either approach, there is an appraisal of the effects that the separate issues might have on either individuals or society.

For example, the candidate may write:
" .. is of particular significance to (a group of individuals, e.g. ex-criminals), because ...; whereas the general population may have more serious concerns over the effects of ..., because ...".

Or they may address the following issues:
"Whilst surveillance has a lot of positive features, for example reducing crimes, there are also ethical issues to consider such as reliability of the information and invasion of an individual¿s privacy. Is the concern about undetected crime so important that we can justify this privacy invasion? Can we justify surveillance in a shopping centre to reduce theft in stores? Is the situation different in an airport where lives could be at risk from terrorists? Are there measures that we can put into place in order to minimise the likelihood of breach of privacy? If this is done can we conclude that surveillance is justified as it can help reduce crime and prevent terrorism? Studies can be cited to show that identification is not always reliable. How can this impact on individuals? Is there a way of increasing reliability? Should this technology be put in place if we cannot ensure this reliability?"

A further point about weighing up marks:
You do not have to look for a section at the end of the answer to part (c) for this. Evaluation/weighing up is sometimes embedded in the description of a particular issue, and the extra marks can be awarded there, as well as the normal three marks for that issue.
If you do this, please annotate that tick, or mark, as "E" (e.g. in the mark column, write "E1").

How to award evaluation marks
Option 1:
First mark: evaluation/weighing up of the first issue in the paragraph(s) discussing that issue
Second mark: evaluation/weighing up of the second issue
Third mark: evaluation/weighing up of the third issue

Option 2: (evaluation section follows discussion of the issues)
First mark: candidate attempts to draw together the earlier arguments to form an overview
Second mark: candidate gives an overview, but also weighs the relative importance of separate arguments
Third mark: candidate gives a full evaluation: - overview, weighing up of importance and follows with a critical discussion, perhaps raising questions that need to be considered.

reference:
http://itgs.wikispaces.com/How+to+Discuss+and+Weigh+Up+an+Issue

Paper 2 Criterion D tip:

For criterion D:
You must address one problem and propose one solution to that problem. The solution could address more than one problem, but it only needs to address the problem that has been identified at the start of Criterion D.

So to sum up:
- At the start of Criterion D identify the problem which has been highlighted in Criterion C
- Ony address one problem
- Only suggest one solution

No marks are awarded for more than one solution. If more than one solution is suggested then the first appropriate/viable one will be considered.

It is important to provide facts about the solution and describe how it solves the problem.

Finally the solution should be evaluated.How effictively does it solve the problem? What are its limitation?
Reference: OCC discussion

the difference between the following two questions:Describe one social/ethical concern related to the IT system.Explain the relationship between the IT system and the social/ethical concern described in Criterion A.In Criterion A you only need to describe the concern for the first 2 marks eg privacy is the concern as customers' sensitive data (biometric data about their faces) is being stored. This describes the concern. In the second part of Criterion B this concern needs to be related to the system. It relates to the system because data is stored on a database which may not be secured by adequate security measures such as encryption. Another possibility is the database is not secured by levels of password access in order to limit access rights to the data only allowing authorised people to view it. Here we are looking at how the IT system leads to the concern. eg how can a database lead to privacy threats?

Reference: OCC discussion