Legal Issues

Make sure you are citing the correct legislation that is relevant to your topic.  It is not sufficient to cite any law, arbitrarily, that you happen to think is relevant.  There must be some precedent or basis for doing so (has the law actually been used or applied in your topic area?).  The legislation you cite should also be applicable to the context of your topic (i.e. the country or region you are looking at). For example, US law on copyright might not be relevant in the UK, and UK law on Computer Misuse might not be relevant in China, etc, etc.

Social issues

Ensure that you understand what a “social issue” is with regard to the impact of information systems and ICT. Revisit the slides for Lectures 2 and 10 (particularly slide #15). Make sure you understand what the social aspects of your topic are (i.e. what are the issues raised by the impact of your topic on society, and on social relationships, attitudes and behaviour). At the very least, you should aim to describe what that impact is, or has been.

Ethical issues

Make sure that you explicitly identify the underlying ethical principles that your topic involves. These were discussed in lectures 1, 2 and especially 10, and in the weekly seminars on different topics. State the ethical principles involved, and keep these in sight throughout your essay.

Make sure you understand the difference between a) identifying an ethical issue and b) making a personal moral judgement.  You should refrain from making moral judgements that close down an issue. You should also refrain from offering your own personal opinions, at least in the main body of your essay, and especially if these are unsupported by evidence and sound reasoning.  A particular viewpoint may be expressed in the conclusion, but only after a balanced consideration of other viewpoints and arguments in your topic area.


Ensure that you consult a range of quality academic sources in your essay. A list of URLs at the end of your essay is insufficient. Newspapers articles can be cited, particularly when referencing a case study or story that is relevant to your topic.  However, these are not authoritative academic sources. Scholarly books and journal articles are. Academic journal articles will invariably contain the most current research. Books may not always be the most up-to-date sources, but they should be referenced as sources of key arguments, concepts and principles. You should try to include as many books as possible in your list of references, including, at the very least, the core text.

However, it is not sufficient to simply produce a list of references at the end of your essay. You must show that you have read these sources, and that you have incorporated them into your work. You must do so by referencing them in the body of your essay. Ensure that you use the correct referencing style (Harvard) for doing this, as outlined in the EIS style guidelines posted on OASISPlus.

Source: Middlesex University