Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 601–604 | Cite as

Ethics Corner—Case Studies Made Simple: It Is About the Story!

  • Arthur M. MichalekEmail author
  • Camille P. Wicher


Storytelling has long been used as a teaching tool. A Native American Proverb states: “Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” Mankind is fascinated by a good story. Stories allow us to escape our own, sometimes, humdrum existence and to experience another person’s reality without fear of risk or consequences. Stories are a form of cerebral voyeurism. They act as cognitive simulators which transport the learner into contrived situations, requiring them to understand and negotiate moral/legal/policy/intrapersonal issues and arrive at “the truth.” This edition of Ethics Corner presents a simplistic, easy-to-follow approach to constructing a case study.

Lessons conveyed through storytelling are more easily absorbed and retained than facts presented in a conventional didactic format. Perhaps, it is because we view our own lives as a series of stories and not as a series of seemingly unrelated...


Ethics Case study 



A version of this was presented at the 2012 European Association for Cancer Education in Vienna, Austria.


  1. 1.
    Resnick DB (2007) What is ethics research and why is it important? www.niehs.nih.hov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/. Accessed 1 May 2012
  2. 2.
    Pimple KD (2007) Using case studies in teaching research ethics.
  3. 3.
    Procassini AA (2000) Creating case studies in commercial diplomacy (Chapter 2. Developing the written case—structure and form).
  4. 4.
    ELLSA (2004) The five important elements of a short story.
  5. 5.
    Michalek AM, Wicher CC (2005) Ethics corner—conflicts of interest/commitment. J Cancer Educ 20(1):8–9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wicher CC, Michalek AM (2005) Ethics corner—when is informed consent not enough? J Cancer Educ 20(1):10–11Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Michalek AM, Wicher CC (2005) Ethics corner—mentorship. J Cancer Educ 20(4):210–211PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Michalek AM, Wicher CC (2006) The case of the purloined phrase. J Cancer Educ 21(3):123–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wicher C, Michalek AM (2008) Ethics corner: to expedite or not to expedite. J Cancer Educ 23(3):140–141PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Michalek AM, Wicher CP (2011) Ethics corner—biospecimen banking: poetry of the flesh. J Cancer Educ 26(2):212–214PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Michalek AM, Wicher CP (2012) Ethics corner—inequality and injustice for some. J Cancer Educ 27:199–201PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rehema S (2004–2005) Character development.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Roswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Health Policy DepartmentD’Youville CollegeBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Corporate Ethics and Research Subject ProtectionRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations