Personal Code of Ethics Paper
Assignment Description & Rubric
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is in your best interest to read the entire assignment description below
before beginning your planning for writing the paper.
The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a professional set
of guidelines for professional social work practice. Just as organizations, businesses, and other
communities should have a written set of values and ethics, it is importation to clarify our own
values and ethics in a very intentional way. Doing so helps us to more fully understand ourselves
and our interactions with, and reactions to, others. As social workers, it helps us to gauge the
level of congruence we see between our own values and ethics and those set forth in the Code of
Ethics. Thinking about, outlining, and writing this paper is just such and intentional exercise in
clarifying your own values and ethics.
I am asking you to respond to 16 specific questions to help you develop your own code of ethics.
It would be best for you to complete questions 1 through 13 before consulting any external
documents, which you will be asked to do in questions 14 and 15. Although you are responding
to questions, you will not be writing the questions in your paper, rather you should utilize first
and second level headings as set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association (APA), 6th edition. The wording of those headings should certainly describe what is
contained under the heading, but try to avoid just restating the question. If you cannot, that is
okay. Regardless, you are to write the paper in APA style in a narrative, whole-paper format. By
that I mean, it is in paragraph format. The paper should flow as one continuous read, only
broken-up by the appropriate use of headings.
Although an introductory paragraph is not set forth in the rubric, or in the questions listed below,
you certainly can write one that gets your paper off to a better start for the reader, rather than
jumping right into answering your first question. This paragraph could just be a description of
your thoughts about the prospects of clarifying your own values and ethics before ever
responding to the questions below.
The point values for each aspect of the paper, including writing skills and APA style, are set
forth in the attached rubric. The numbers appearing in parentheses after the questions on the
rubric are target word counts for each question/section. They are general guidelines to help you
determine how detailed you should be. If you are struggling to write enough for each section,
consider giving an example of how the value or ethic could be played out in everyday life. You
could give an example of when you or others acted congruently with your values, or times when
someone, yourself included, violated those values. Regardless, your paper should be anywhere
between 3,000 and 4,000 words to adequately address each of the questions.
Many of the questions/section descriptions are centered on expectations. The degree to which we
meet our own expectations and the degree to which others meet our expectations has mendous effect on our day-to-day lives. So without further ado, here are the questions/section
descriptions. Again, please read through all of the questions before responding.
Questions / Sections
1. What are your expectations of yourself regarding how you should treat others?
2. What are your expectations of yourself not related to the treatment of others?
3. What are your expectations of how others should treat you?
4. What are your expectations of others not related to how they treat you?
5. What are your expectations of yourself regarding how you should treat family?
6. What are your expectations of your family regarding how they should treat you?
7. What do you believe you owe to society?
8. What do you expect to receive from society (government, businesses, institutions, etc.)?
9. What is your life purpose?
10. What is your personal mission statement?
11. What are 5 to 7 words that you think summarize 5 to 7 areas of your values and ethics?
12. Where do you believe your values come from?
13. If you were in an ethical dilemma, how would you go about trying to make a decision?
14. Read the United Nation’s (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which can be
found at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml. To what extent do your own
values and ethics align with what the UN has defined as rights? Be sure to discuss and
explain any areas where you see a divergence.
15. Read the NASW Code of Ethics. To what extent do your own values and ethics align with
the Code? Be sure to discuss and explain any areas where you see a divergence.
16. What did you learn from completing this assignment?
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