Methodologies for Analyzing Social Impact and Ethical Considerations

Throughout the course students must analyse and evaluate the social impact of information technology on individuals and society and consider the ethical issues raised by this impact.  Social impact and ethical considerations need to be analyzed from both local and global perspectives, recognizing that attitudes and opinions are diverse within and between different cultures.

Key questions

Social issues
The analysis of social issues can be guided by answering the following key questions.

  1. What are the social issues associated with a particular IT development?
  2. How did the IT development emerge?
  3. Who are the stakeholders—individuals, institutions, societies who initiate and control the IT developments and are affected by them?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the stakeholders?
  5. What feasible solutions can be applied to overcome problems?
  6. What is the social impact of the IT development on human life? This may include some or all of the following areas: economic, political, cultural, legal, environmental, ergonomic, health and psychological.
  7. What are the social impacts on local and global communities?

Ethical issues
The analysis of ethical issues can be guided by answering the following key questions.

  1. What are the ethical issues associated with a particular IT development?
  2. Who is responsible?
  3. Who is accountable?
  4. What policies, rules or laws apply to the situation?
  5. What are the alternative ethical decisions?
  6. What are the consequences of these decisions?

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2006

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