It is clearly unethical to write references based on one’s memory or untrue information from a book one read earlier. It is unethical for Alessandra to write quotations based on her memory of earlier reading. Claiming something to be true when you are not too sure is unethical. If Alessandra got caught by her lecture, she would suffer for it. Maybe she would get a lesser grade if the untrue reference was picked for marking her work (Reich, 1978). Mr. Allan, the lecturer, would find it unethical since he would not be able to locate the context surrounding statements of facts of Alessandra’s work. Alessandra could have cleared herself up by explicitly mentioning that her work had some bias and this would be clearly ethical.
The fact that the article could be using another person’s work to pad the robustness of the bibliography is entirely unethical. If Alessandra were asked for more information about the facts in her references or to base her arguments on the untrue reference, it would put her in a compromising situation (Lucas, 2008). Her reputation could be compromised too, and she could get a lesser grade. Mr. Allan could be skeptical of her claims even if she were right. The innocuous, freak mistake that Alessandra did could easily blemish her reputation despite working very hard. Despite how she would try to explain to her lecturer, it counts as unethical and can leave her red-faced.
However, we can also say that this was ethical under some circumstances. Alessandra Was running out of time, and she was determined to complete her work on time (Pratt, 1977). She was sure about the details of her references, and therefore this was ethical. She was honest.
The ethical obligations that Alessandra has on her sources are truthfulness, accuracy, honesty and reason, which are essential to the integrity of communication. As a speaker, she should provide an honest information. A speaker can blatantly lie to an audience by trying to prove a point, omitting some facts about the information that outweigh their message, or distorting information (Jensen, 1987). A speaker builds a relationship with their audience by providing truthful information. She could be more persuasive by using reason and logical arguments supported by facts rather than relying on emotional appeals designed to manipulate the audience.
It is critical for Alessandra to be honest about where all her information comes from in her speech. As a speaker, she should examine her information sources and determine whether they are biased or have hidden agendas. Although Alessandra may not know all her sources of information, she should test them and find objective sources that do not have an overt or covert agenda that skews the argument she is making (Pratt, 1977). She should fully disclose where she obtained her information from, whether read from a newspaper or an article. Failure to this, she would be plagiarized: that is, using someone else’s idea or words without giving credit.
During her speech, she needs to tell her audience when she is using someone’s information. In writing, use of quotation makes show that the words come from somebody else. The consequences for failing to cite sources during a public speech could be severe. As a student, citing sources is important (Brydon & Scott, 2003). Some universities have strict policies that include dismissal from the institution in case of student plagiarism of academic work, including public speeches. Failing to cite your sources might lower credibility with your audience or result in a low grade that could lead to expulsion from your school.
Reich, W. T. (1978). Encyclopedia of bioethics. In 4 vols.
Lucas, S. E. (2008). The Art of Public Speaking 11th Edition. McGraw-Hill.
Jensen, J. V. (1987). Ethical tension points in whistleblowing. Journal of Business Ethics, 6(4), 321-328.
Pratt, M. L. (1977). Toward a speech act theory of literary discourse.
Brydon, S. R., & Scott, M. D. (2003). Between one and many: The art and science of public speaking. McGraw-Hill.
Lantz, C. M. (2007). Teaching spiritual care in a public institution: Legal implications, standards of practice, and ethical obligations. Journal of Nursing Education, 46(1).