Category Archives: Assignment 2

Assignment #2: Information Ethics historicallyanxious


By the CNN Wire Staff. A 2011 Investigation by British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds

 This article is excellent to show the damage that can be done with the falsification of evidence.  Dr. Wakefield tried to link autism to the MMR vaccine by falsifying his data and misrepresenting or altering the medical histories of the 12 children involved in the study.  Investigators show that Dr. Wakefield was receiving money from lawyers who were planning a lawsuit.  The investigation showed that five of the children studied had developmental problems before they received the vaccine and three children never actually had autism.  Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license and the BMJ retracted his study.

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Example: Assignment 2: Information Ethics athenaegis


Remember, you may need to hunt around to find the information for the citation.

Various Authors.  A 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case. All about Romance:  the Back Fence for Lovers of Romance Novels.  May 1, 2001.   (This whole thing is a citation.)

Do you have to write as much as I do below?  No.  You do have to write enough to provide all the necessary information.  In my experience, that means a minimum of 4-5 sentences.

This source is a series of messages that originally came from the All about Romance Potpourri Message Board and that were collected on the 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case web page cited above.   The original message board is no longer available. (This is one of the problems with using non-academic web sources – they can disappear.  Academic websites can vanish, but it’s much less common.)  The case referred to was a copyright infringement case in which best-selling romance author Janet Dailey admitted to plagiarizing from the even better selling romance author Nora Roberts.  Dailey settled the case, with Roberts donating the settlement money to literacy and writers’ organizations.

I would probably not use this source for a paper since the original message board is no longer in existence – the page I cite is a copy.   I”m using it here for three reasons:  1.) the current site ( owned the original message board.   2.  personal sources confirmed the copy was good & 3.  it’s a good example (see below). 

Reading the different messages, it is clear that the posters hold a variety of opinions as to whether Dailey’s plagiarism is really a bad thing..  One poster considered Dailey’s plagiarism/copyright infringement bad, but saw nothing wrong with copying music from less famous bands on the original Napster, even though that was copyright infringement too.

I think that what makes this source really valuable is that Nora Roberts, the writer who was plagiarized, posted.  Ms. Roberts points out that the plagiarism was not a single incident, but lasted more than seven years and involved 13 books.  She says that it was not a “victimless crime,”  and writes that she “would not wish this experience on anyone.”  Roberts states that there are moral  issues in addition to the legal/criminal issue of copyright infringement. (Roberts 30 April 2001)  I used only the last name and date in this note because the context of the paragraph makes it clear I’m referring to the web page cited above.  If I were doing a “real-life” parenthetical reference, I’d need to add information about the web page as well since her name doesn’t appear in the citation.

Note that I linked to Nora Robert’s post (above).  For many web uses, this is considered adequate – you are acknowledging that it’s not your work and referring back to the source.  For academic use (and best practice web use) you need to use a note (explanation in the text, footnote, endnote or parenthetical reference) to give specific credit for the quoted passages.  

 I’m using a parenthetical reference in this case.  Footnotes are at the bottom of a page, endnotes at the end of a paper (or book, etc.).  Since the note is to give credit for the quotes from Ms. Roberts’ posts, I used the date of her post and not the date of the web page.

I think this is a good example of plagiarism because it explains what it is, shows how people have differing views of the seriousness of  plagiarism and tells how being plagiarized affected the victim – in this case, Nora Roberts.



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