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Lexi Gassman

Foundations of a Scientific Inquiry

Dr. Butela

15 November 2016

There are many different elements that can be looked at from an ethical

standpoint for this assignment. If Jill, who was only a sophomore in college, was having

such a huge struggle with understanding the material that was provided by Professor

Manson she should have directly asked Professor Manson for help not George. Jill even

considering copying and pasting the research topic is cause for concern. If she was

feeling uneasy after talking to George than she should have gone directly to Professor

Manson or if he was too busy for her then she should have found another professor to

talk to about it. Many different people could be affected from her discussion. If caught

for plagiarism she could be brought in front an academic counsel and potentially lose

scholarships, lose the funding for the research project and there could even be a

possibility that she could get kicked out of school. Professor Manson could also be in a

lot of trouble for allowing plagiarism from a potential lab assistant. I think that if Jill had

any doubt that what she was doing was wrong than she should not have done it.

I believe that the awards committee was both ethical and unethical at the same

time. I think that they were right in denying her proposal if there was any doubt in their

minds that what she said in her proposal was her own original work. If it was obvious

that Jill wouldn’t be able to write the proposal, simply based on the fact that she hasn’t

been in the lab long enough to write in the detail she does in the report. Since there was
a doubt that she wrote the proposal the committee had every right to question her and

to deny her proposal. I also think that the committee was unethical for a few reasons. If

there was any question as to if she plagiarized the lab report than I feel like more action

should have been taken to look into it instead of just denying the proposal. I think in a lot

of ways the Jill got off kind of easy because there should have been way more serious

actions taken than to just suspect plagiarism and not further pursue it. I think that Dr.

Wolf had the right idea in wanting to further investigate the proposal and I do think that

they might be sending the wrong message to other students that as long as they do not

get caught copying and pasting than its okay to do it.

Personally I believe that since there was question if the research proposal was

Jill’s own work that the review committee should have taken more action. I understand

that they did not want to question Professor Manson and Jill without any actual proof but

I also think that if there was any suspicion of plagiarism than they should have checked

it out more closely. I think that perhaps the review committee should have looked closer

at the other 40 candidates too who could potentially receive the fund for research

fellowship. I only bring that up because there is a possibility that they too plagiarized

and were just better at in then Jill.

There are many things that I would like to think I would do if I was ever put into

Jill’s position. I believe that if I was very confused on the proposal material given to me

that I would take even more time to try and to understand it and if after that I was still

very confused I would look for help. I think that I would seek out Professor Manson to

talk to him about the confusion and difficulty I was having understanding the proposal

and papers that he supplied me with. I know that he was busy preparing for a
conference but If he really wanted Jill working in the lab with him than I believe he would

have taken the time out to help. I also think that if Professor Manson didn’t help me out

and I had to talk to George about the proposal and he gave me the same advice he

gave to Jill, I probably would have told him that I did not think that was good advice and

I did not feel right doing that. After that I’d like to think that I would find another

Professor that I felt like I could trust and who could give me advice about what to do.

This all being said I think it is difficult to know what someone would do in a situation like

this one until they are actually put in the situation.

I think that Dr. Brown did not want to deal with the fact that there could have

potentially been plagiarism and so he chose to look past it which is something I would

not do and do not agree with. Dr. Brown planted doubt in the other review committee’s

heads how they did not know for sure if Jill plagiarized and how they could not decline

her application based on suspicion. He also made it seem like it would be more work

than it was worth to look into the situation and reprimand Jill and Professor Manson. I

would like to believe that if I was in Dr. Brown’s position I would have been more

insistent on looking into the situation with Jill. Also he says the in some of the other

proposals he read the that they seemed to be cut and pasted together by other students

from lab documents, if this was the case then it was not only Jill who copy and pasted

and she should not have been the only one declined. I think if I was Dr. Brown I would

have agreed with what Dr. Wolf said and agreed to further examination.

I think that there are a lot of other ethical standpoints that can be looked at for

this scenario. Ethics is a hard thing to talk about because there are so many different
ways that someone can look at the situation. I think that this scenario can be looked at

from both an ethical and unethical standpoint, it’s just a matter of how one perseveres it.