How do you answer a case study question in the UPSC CSE?
GS-4 Ethics is a high-scoring paper compared to the others if you master it well. For the Ethics paper, two kinds of questions are asked- Theoretical Questions and Case studies. Theoretical questions, as the name suggests, are based on the theoretical aspects of the Ethics paper, and the Case studies part presents you with a situation for which you have to propose solutions, ethical dilemmas faced, and logical reasoning. For your ethics preparation, start with reading the syllabus first. This would ensure that you are well versed with each of the topics and keywords related to it. You can study or make notes according to the syllabus to ensure the completion of the paper. And based on these topics, you should add relevant examples, quotes, and other value additions, which you should use for the theoretical questions and case studies.
The case studies are included in the exam to test the aspirant’s finesse under a given situation. These situations often mirror incidents that a civil servant has to face in real life, and UPSC tests an aspirant’s mental caliber to make sure that they are mentally fit for the job. For answering a question from case studies, always present your arguments clearly and coherently. Make sure that you control the flow according to the needs of the question asked. As case studies are often extensive, aspirants tend to deviate from the core of the question’s demand.
Before you start answering, it is wise to consolidate the entire case study into a few lines. Then proceed to mention the stakeholders involved in a case study. Make sure that you include both direct and indirect stakeholders involved. This would ensure that you have not left anybody out of the situation, as in whoever is going to be affected due to the case considered.
Following this, present the ethical dilemmas you may face. Please remember that you should not say that you do not have any dilemma. As we are all human beings and these are case studies with real-life similarities, dilemmas tend to happen, and they must be addressed while considering the pros and cons of each. After presenting the dilemmas, suggest various options you can think of, to overcome the said dilemmas. Then present the best one out of it and explain why you have chosen this particular option. You may link the theoretical aspect into the case study by adding an apt quote or ethical theory. Articulate your points so that the option you chose is the best out of all the options and that it does not break the morals of both society and the constitution. Support your arguments with real-life examples that have already been in the news.
Usually, case studies constitute for 120 marks; make sure that you observe the proper time limit so that you are not carried away into it. You should not shy away from practicing case studies and try to solve mocks that cover various types of case studies so that you are well prepared for any framework required to answer a specific case study. Click here to use our free initiative that gives model ethics papers, to add value to your preparation.