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Religious Studies: Ethical Issues Research Guide

Research Tools

Each topic listed here has recommended resources / readings in it's box. Some of these are challenging reads, please stick with them in an attempt to deepen your understanding of your ethical issue. 

ALSO .... please visit the English Issues page here ... all of the essential places to find information on your topic are here too!

Topic Suggestions


Government Surveillance

Alcohol Advertising

Dangerous Dogs as Pets

Smacking Children

Gambling Advertising during Televised Sport

The End of Night - Light Pollution

Reducing National Parks for Development

Duck Hunting

Patenting Human Genes

Gun Control in Australia

Fair Trade Food

Taxing High Sugar Foods

Asylum Seekers and Detention Centers

Animal Testing

Children and Vaccinations

Banning Live Exports

Taxing Internet Shopping

Celebrity Privacy 

Increasing CCTV - Surveillance Systems

Super-Trawling in the Ocean (Fishing) - By-Catch, etc.

AFL & Helmets

Culling Sharks

Taser use by Police

Safety and Elderly Drivers 

Hostage Situations with Australian Nationals

Restrictions on High Speed Police Chases 

Restricting Wind Farms

Women on the Front Line in War Zones

Banning Jumps Race (Horses)

Nuclear Energy in Australia

Armed Officers on Train Stations at Night

Parents using IVF to select the Sex of their Baby

Voluntary Euthanasia 

Ethical Consumerism (Fair Trade, etc)

Mandatory Organ Donations

Wage Equality in Sport (the Gender divide)

Foreign Investment in Australia

Places for Inspiration...

Human Rights Law Centre - Opinion Articles

iWonder BBC


More topics in Library Book Box. 

Interested in Social Justice?

1. Select a Topic

Suggestions to SELECT an ethical issue:

  1. LIST
    Skim read the Suggested Ethical Issues list (Updated for 2017 here). Browse the topics on ANZ Points of View Reference Centre and Opposing Viewpoints.
  2. Catalogue
    Browse the New Library Catalogue > search box: ethics OR select 'VISUAL SEARCH' > Religious Education > Ethical Issues.  
  3. Books
    Browse the books in the Book Boxes in the Library
  4. Key Websites
    Browse the following websites:
  5. TV Programs
    Browse the programs on the Ethics Resources Guide sheet (left hand box)
  6. ECHO
    Browse the ECHO topics - instructions here -Username: ccblib PW bendigo) 
  7. Ask for advice - from teachers, parents, peers.



Ask yourself:

  • Have I heard / seen this topic mentioned in the media?
  • Do I care about this topic? Does the topic interest me?
  • Is there information available on this topic?
  • Is the topic too broad? E.g. Animal Rights. Can it be narrowed down? E.g. Animal experimentation, zoos, eating animals, property rights and animals, farming animals, etc.

2. Find Information on Your Topic





Aus / NZ Points of View Database

Logon: Username = ccblib. Password (Please see a library staff member)

Containing resources that present multiple sides of a current issue—including information on key topics of interest to Australia/New Zealand researchers—this database provides rich content that can help students realise and develop persuasive arguments and essays, better understand controversial issues, and develop analytical thinking skills.

Resources for Critical Analysis

Australia/New Zealand Points of View Reference Centre over 150 topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point (argument), and counterpoint (opposing argument). Each topic features a Guide to Critical Analysis which helps the reader evaluate the controversy and enhances students’ ability to read critically, develop their own perspective on the issues, and write or debate an effective argument.

Library Catalogue 



ECHO Online

This is a great place if your topic is here. There is a huge amount of information.

Username: ccblib       Password: see Library staff.



3. Basic Reference Information on Your Topic

Ethics Vol. 1, 2 & 3 by John Roth (Reference Volumes on Ethics)

Kept in the Library Reference Area or the Book Box.

A comprehensive place to find definitions and detail about controversial issues, good use of sub-headings. Highly recommended. 

 Browse through the textbooks on ethics we have in the Library. These will give you a clear idea of the central arguments for your topic. Titles:

  • What's at issue now?
  • Debating the Issues
  • Ethics and Morality in a Multicultural Society
  • Contemporary Moral Issues 

4. Your Topic in the Media

Go to our media page here...


 Look at the document attached below for specific TV program information.  

Ask yourself: Evaluate the reliability of this information you find.

  • What media outlet is publishing this information? 
  • Can you detect their bias?
  • What are the central arguments presented? 

5. Reliable Information Sources

Below are places where researchers have already looked at your topics and compiled resources and information together for you. 

Issues in Society Books: These are an excellent resource. 

Some topics are available as online ebooks through our Library Catalogue at school. You may save the ebook onto your computer to read at home. 

Issues in Society Links (The crime section here includes slavery and human trafficking.)




Behind the News

Short video clips designed for schools on current topics. 

BBC Religion and Ethics (UK)
Current ethics in the media.

BBC Ethics Guides (UK)
An excellent breakdown of major ethical issues. Includes: Drugs & Sport, Animal Ethics, Contraception, Abortion, Capital Punishment, Slavery, Ethics of War, Charity, Forced Marriage, Torture, Honor Crimes, Euthenasia, and more. 

6. General Searching

Online Search Tips 

  • Use "   " to group terms or phrases together to get more accurate results in Google. E.g. "Apple tree" and you won't get iPhone products
  • Pay attention to the URL of your results and you can add the URL to the search box too. E.g. Add .edu to your search terms.  
  • Try different synonyms for your terms and get more results. E.g. teenagers > adolescents > teens > youth > young people > young adults.
    Search #1 - teenagers drugs 
    Search #2 - adolescents drugs
    Search #3 - teens drugs
    Search #4 - teenagers narcotics 
    TIP: you can type: Teenagers OR adolescents OR teens AND drugs OR narcotics 

7. Determining the Catholic Perspective on your Topic

What does the Catholic Church say about your Ethical Issue? (more information here)

Firstly you need to determine what is at the heart of the ethical issue - Is this a human rights issue? Does the issue involve the dignity of the human person?

Use the index in the  Catechism of the Catholic Church 
to look up your topic / value / issue, etc. There are a number of
copies kept in the Library at 238.2CAT.

Search the Online Catechism here. 

Scroll down to: Part Three: Life in Christ (1691-2550).

The Beatitudes


Primacy of Conscience 

Pope Francis Sunday Angelus 2013-06-30

"So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful."

Francis emphasizes a core teaching of the Catholic tradition: this is the sacred obligation of all Christians to follow their informed consciences.

Mercy Health Bulletins 
Contains Catholic related perspectives on a number of Heath related topics, including euthanasia, IVF, cloning, etc.