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Haque, Farhana
Natalie Clarkson
9 April 2014
Different perspectives into ethics
Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not
only our thinking, but also our feeling.-Valdemar W. Setzer. What is ethics? What is right and
what is wrong? Who defines ethics? How do different cultures and different norms affect an
individuals viewpoint on ethics? Does ethical behavior make a difference? Why is ethics
important in a workplace? Is there a way to compromise when there are different opinions on
what ethics is? How can ethics be introduced to students? What methods can be or should be
utilized in order to teach students about morals? Is ethics education beneficial to students? Why
do students need ethics education? What are some problems with ethic education? What serious
consequences can an individual or group face if they are not ethical? What role do values play in
an individuals career?
The word "ethics" is derived from the Greek word ethos (character), and from the Latin
word mores (customs). Together, they combine to define how individuals choose to interact with
one another (Ethic). In professions, these principles are known as professional ethics. Many
professions such as accounting have a code of ethics that people has to follow in their
professions respectively. Morals play a significant role when people seek to find solutions to
ethical dilemmas they face in the workplace. Unfortunately, ethics is not taken seriously in
professions. An example would be a classic Dilbert cartoon, the pointy-haired boss
approaches Dilbert in his cubicle and asks, Have you taken the mandatory training for business
ethics? No, Dilbert replies, but if you say I did then you'll save some money on training,
which you can spend to decorate your office. Luckily, I haven't taken the training myself, the

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boss says. Dilbert answers, I hear it's mostly common sense anyway supporting the impression
that ethics is not valued nearly as much as it should be (Haggerty 409-32). This impression of
ethics as common sense or something taught in a persons childhood would not necessarily apply
to a persons profession.
The problem is that it is not always clear on which things are legal and which are
illegal, which is ethical and which is unethical (Haggerty 409-32). There are different
perspectives on ethics and how to define ethics. The different culture and different norms clash
because there is a lot of confusion on what ethics is. These religious and cultural differences
create different opinions on what is right and what is wrong that do not necessarily apply to
every culture and religion. An ethics professor, Parmar remarks, How do we think about ethics
in a place where there's a lot of different opinions about what's right and wrong? (Haggerty
409-32). Haggerty argues that ethicists believe ethics education can help people understand how
to weigh conflicting interests and philosophies when an ethical decision is unclear and also
help people deal with moral problems that arise in a profession (409-32). Nevertheless, teaching
ethics is difficult when taking into account the different opinions born of different cultures and
norms. Apostolous findings of a teaching method that incorporates heroes into ethics education
demonstrates an approach that differs from the traditional approaches, but still appears to be
effective as it does not conflict with students value system. As ethics has significant role in an
individuals life, ethical decision-making and ethics should be introduced to students as well as
the significant role it holds in careers or politics while taking into context the different cultures
and religions.
Ethics provoke different responses amongst people on different issues. This is because
ethics is a broad term and is based on an individuals understanding and judgment of the term. A
persons ability to recognize societal norms defines his or her definition of ethics. With many

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perspectives of ethics, ethics is subjective. Essentially, ethics is based on ones interpretation of
the term. In politics, there are five issues that should be taken into consideration when dealing
with ethics: the people, the government, consequences of being unethical, the media, and
political speeches.
Politics is not just about conflict, it relies on cooperation, negotiation, compromise, and
choices related to leadership, structure, policies, and institutions. Ethics is a combination of
many principles, but political morality and political justice are the major principles that play a
role in politics. Political morality is defined as what are generally good for policies. It advances
policies for the common good of the people by addressing the moral concerns of the public,
but this term is misleading for two reasons. While it is understood that it is for the good of the
community, it is the different perspectives on how to achieve this common good. Also, it may
be for the common good, it does not necessarily include all of the citizens. It can be generally
good for most of the citizens, but it is not for all of the citizens. Political justice is the various
ideologies of the equality among individuals and groups. Political justice is the belief that all
individuals should be equally effected and those with the greatest need should have those needs
meet. The morality and justice principles that officials hold and apply are inadequately captured
by their ideological orientations- whether these [are] attribution or self-definition (Schumaker
236). These ideologies are not adequately defined so political leaders are able to put different
issues into different context.
The first issue is citizens and their trust in the government. Recently, the topic of political
leaders presenting the public with lies has become very controversial since Rep. Joe Wilson, RS.C., shouted You lie! during one of President Obama's early addresses to Congress ("Lies and
Politics 145-68). False charges from competing candidates and lies by government officials to
hide their actions from the public are a staple of politics going back to 1800 presidential

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campaign Thomas Jefferson and John Adamsinnuendo, half-truths, cheap shots, smears, and
outright lies ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). This tradition has continued throughout the twentyfirst century, though not to the extent it was in the nineties. Recently, the public are becoming
concerned about the lies crafted by not only the political candidates and the media, but also the
government itself has grown immensely. In the mid-century, lying had common for the United
States presidents. During the Cold War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's admission of
covering up the shoot-down of a U.S. spy plane in the Soviet Union with a lie upset the citizens.
While the public believed it was justified, they were upset that their president lied to them. The
situation continued to deteriorate after Nixon to the point citizens believed that the politicians
were alike and it would not make a difference who got elected.
The second issue is the government and its view on lies. The government argues that lies
are necessary to protect its citizens. Lies told by the government officials ostensibly for the
sake of the public have long been a staple of public life, philosopher Bok wrote ("Lies and
Politics" 145-68). The government believes that lies are essential to keep citizens from news
that may upset an average citizen. Some people argue during times of crisis that it is necessary
for government officials to lie in order to protect citizens from danger. Secrets and lies are
connectedYou need rules and agencies to protect secrecy, and once you have the institutions
for this, there is the temptation to keep all sorts of secrets that, if they saw the light of day, might
upset average AmericansTo keep secrets, government officials find themselves needing to lie,
if only by omission ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). Unfortunately, political figures are bound to
overreach especially if the political figures are prone to lie. For example, Senator Joseph
McCarthy who claimed that communists had infiltrated many U.S. institutions in 1950s
purposefully lied. Most rulers see their deceits in the benign light of such social purposes, she
wrote. The powerful tell lies believing that they have greater than ordinary understanding of

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what is at stake ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). Senator Joseph McCarthy is an example of
political figure that believes by carrying out his deceit that he is helping society and he has a
greater understanding of what is at stake than others.
Another issue to consider would be the consequences of being unethical. The lies that are
presented by the government have serious consequences in society. As American government is
predicated on citizenry that is informed and active, keeping their leaders aware of their
preferences, and holds elective officials accountable at elections; trust is necessary if it is to be an
engaged democracy. When elites such as government officials or political candidates
provide information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading, citizens may have mistaken
evaluations of policy alternatives, wrote Jennifer Jerit and Jason Barabas, associate professors of
political science at Florida State University in Talahassee undermine the publics trust in the
government and its authority ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). As citizens lose trust in their
government, citizens lose the perception that they are able to influence the government and
politics also known as political efficacy. If citizens do not trust the government, they are unlikely
to be informed, active, engage their elected officials or participate in elections. Many Americans
are not very knowledgeable about their government and it is because of this lack of knowledge
that citizens do not believe they can affect the government.
The next issue of ethics in politics is media and medias spin on news. Scholars argue that
social media seems to be the root of this problem as media instantly transmits falsehoods since it
allowed the audience to choose the information that would fit their bias. Media has been too
closely associated with the government that it has become a tool for the government. The media
is no longer a source of communication for the people, but the government. Wendell Potter,
author of Deadly Spin, public relations has been- and is being- used to good ends to clarify
facts, disseminate information, and counter unfair arguments. but, in todays mass media

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reality the stakes of spin has become incredibly high. And ethics do slip. PR often crosses the
line into misleading, withholding, or simply lying, activities that fuel public mistrust and fog
policy debates ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). With misinformation, the people are reluctant to
participate in political affairs or have a skewed version of reality that differs from the actual
events. The press has grown too close to the sources of power in this nation, making it largely
the communication mechanism of the government, not the people, contends University of
Washington communication professor Lance Bennett and for the most part, reporters are
reluctant to challenge these sources because they fear losing access to those sources ("Lies and
Politics" 145-68).The press motivation to a great extent was to avoid conflict with a
governmentand the standards often were honored in the breach. The result was a mix of
puffery, opportunism, toadying to authority and concern for truth (Price 821-44). The media is
too closely connected to politics to be an independent press. Many Americans argue the news
media as biased and untrustworthy, with both conservatives and liberals complaining that
coverage of political races and important public policy issues is often skewed and argue
slanted reporting is replacing media objectivity (Kiener 401-24). With slanted reporting, it is
difficult to decipher the truth from a lie. As early as the nineteenth century, newspapers have
been an outlet for politics. Newspapers with sensational stories and lies known as yellow
journalism often involved politicians in a deception or the politicians were the main targets. With
majority of the focus on scandals and deceptions rather than political issues, political issues are
often ignored or pushed aside in favor of sensational news. The press embellishment of news
largely contributes to public cynicism. Rabin-Havt, aide to prominent Democrats argues that
misinformation will grow dangerous as it continues to spread (Farhi 3).
The last issue would be political speeches and the obscurity of those speeches. Political
speeches can be interpreted in many ways. Political speech can be deceptive, manipulative,

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demagogic and full of false inferences, all without including anything that fits the strict
definition of lie, ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). Political speeches establish compelling reasons
and are narrowly defined. It relies on tactics other than outright lying to misinform viewers.
Political speeches lead the viewers to wrongfully form a conclusion of the issue. As these
political speeches are vague, carefully chosen words [that] can be used to make misleading
statements that [it is] hard to peg actual lies, says Stephen Wechsler, an associate professor of
linguistics at the University of Texas, Austin ("Lies and Politics" 145-68). Political speeches are
deliberately vague, leaving the interpretation to the person and allows the person to wrongfully
form a conclusion of his or her own accord.
With newfound knowledge of the issues, executing an actual plan to educate students
about ethical decision-making and ethics is the next step. Research is only the first step in
developing plan. With only research it is impossible to carry out a successful plan, but by
implementing this plan into a realistic setting a reliable solution to educate students of ethics can
be developed. A major issue in educating people about ethics is blatant disregard of the
importance of ethics. Many people argue ethics is common sense or ethics is something learned
in childhood (Haggerty 409-32). Ethics is a fundamental part of our lives because we constantly
deal with ethics daily even if we do not realize it. Ethics education helps individuals realize the
significant role it holds in a career. Ethics education to help already ethical people deal with
moral problems that that arise in [the workplace] (Apostolou 121).
Ethics is a word that deals with morals, but the interpretation of ethics is for the
individual to define. An individual can define ethics in many different ways since ethics is
subjective. Ethics is basically an individuals moral compass. Ultimately, ethics is up to
individuals outlook as to what could be defined as ethical or unethical. Kenneth W. Goodman,

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director of the University of Miamis ethics program states It is about thoughtful people
making difficult decisions. (Haggerty 409-32).
Ethics can be observed in service learning for the Women in Math and Science (WIMS).
While ethics found in WIMS is subtle, it plays an important part nevertheless. In Women in Math
and Science, we plan and participate in Girl Scout events related to math and science. Whenever
there is a Girl Scout event, it would take planning and precision. Otherwise, many mistakes can
occur when the event actually takes place. Through my interactions with WIMS club, time and
effort are important when hosting events and those students that manage to attend and participate
in the events take part whole-heartedly; however, in the midst of those who are actively
participating, there are those who do not participate or contribute in any way even though they
are in WIMS club. This contrast of members displays a difference in values. Morals are
important and utilized even in the most mundane of activities that it is often overlooked; this
display of the members principles shows the difference of peoples perceptions of ethics and
how it affects the effort they are willing to contribute. This type of behavior at WIMS club
proves ethics are integral even in the most ordinary of activities.
A persons preconception can influence his or her outlook on ethics. The origin of an
individuals moral values has a major role in ethics. Globalization raises questions of dealing
with different cultures, different norms How do we think about ethics in a place where theres
a lot of different opinions about whats right and wrong? (Haggerty 409-32). For example, if a
person is in a specific culture he or she adopts the moral values of that culture and if another
person is brought up in different culture; both individuals is bound to have an viewpoint of what
ethics means that differs greatly from the other individual. With different norms and cultures,
there are many ways to interpret ethics. Diverse value systems born of religious and cultural
differences is an important issue to consider when dealing with ethics (Apostolou 121). For

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some individuals, religion is the basis for their code of ethics. What is considered as acceptable
in a religion is not necessarily acceptable for another religion. Ethics is up to individual and his
or her behavior. Different societal norms and religious norms lead to the question to who defines
ethics. With these different viewpoints on ethics, it is crucial to introduce the concept of ethical
behavior to students.
Ethics education is fundamental to the integrity and success because students
generally have little or no awareness of ethics (Langlais 552). Considering many students do not
have awareness of ethics, attention should be placed into educating students on ethics. The
purpose of ethics education to help already ethical people deal with moral problems that that
arise in business (Apostolou 121). As ethics decisions are not always clear in the workplace,
ethics education would be effective means for instilling ethics in the workplace. Brian Moriarty,
director of the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, asserts ethics education for
adults is more about people building a framework- that is a way to build decisions in their
workplace (Haggerty 409-32). Principles in the workplace involve weighing conflicting
interests and philosophies and ethicists say education [would] help in the workplace
(Haggerty 409-32).
Bidhan L. Parmar, ethics teacher, expresses A lot of the business issues that the
headlines come from a place where managers are not necessarily breaking any laws, but theyre
not using their best judgment very well. What we try to do is to teach our MBAs to use their
judgment about principles, consequences, and character (Haggerty 409-32). Ethics education is
teaching students to use their own judgments in the workplace and to consider the consequences
of those actions. Education is beneficial since it helps students realize the importance of ethics
in a business setting, creates awareness in students about ethical issues, make moral decisions in

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the workplace, and teaches students about social and moral responsibility as well as being
accountable for their actions.
In Blind Spot: Why We Fail to Do Whats Right and What to Do About It, lead ethicists
Max Bazerman and Ann Tenbrunsel examine individuals who behave unethically without
realizing they are being unethical and how individuals overestimate the ability to act ethically.
Traditional approaches to ethics include philosophy-based approaches with case studies,
critiques of unethical behavior, and study of AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (1992).
(Apostolou 121). Unfortunately, Bazerman and Tenbrunsel states traditional approaches to
ethics lack an understanding of the unintentional-yet-predictable cognitive patterns that result in
unethical behavior and only teach how to recognize ethical dilemma (Bazerman 53). Ethics
education has other flaws as well. Mary Gentile, a cross-disciplinary business curriculum that
aims to foster ethical values in the workplace, points out ethic education focuses on awareness
of ethics issues, but the issues that have caused the greatest consternation have been those
concerning fraudulent behavior. Thus she says awareness that ethical issues exist is not
sufficient, nor is learning how to analyze those issues and weigh competing models (Haggerty
409-32). Opinions differ on the issue of ethics education and whether it helps improve ethics. For
example, Brian Moriarty believes ethics education helps improve business ethics; however, many
people view ethics as something that is taught in their childhood. Gentile points out that while
people may have learned as children not to steal, no one taught them as youngsters about the
ethics of designing and selling subprime mortgages (Haggerty 409-32). Many people have
different styles to ethics education and viewpoint on which approach is more effective. For
instance, Gentiles approach of putting ethical decision to practice and Kirsten Martins
practical approach of staple courses such as accounting and finance [that] include ethics

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education differs greatly from each other (Haggerty 409-32). Debate on how to teach ethics and
different methods to ethics education persists, but the importance of ethics education remains.
An innovative technique to teaching ethics would be using heroes as a role model for
ethical behavior. There are problems to teaching ethics which entail: different cultural and
religious norms and the values students of these different religions and culture would have that
the faulty must be aware and considerate of. The practice of using heroes to teach ethics
awakens even a resistant student to his or her already-existing personal and social value system,
leading to a lifelong means of dealing with ethical situations and dilemmas (Apostolou 121).
Heroes are someone individuals strive to imitate. Cohen states the importance of heroes in
modeling values that will endure for a lifetime. A hero, according to Cohen, is an ordinary
citizen who displays extraordinary conviction to doing the right thing (168). Cohen approached
the importance of heroes in context of the German Holocaust, namely, the heroes of conscience
who assisted their persecuted Jewish friends and neighbors at great personal risk. Although
heroes arise from diverse origins and experiences, research has shown a recurring theme of
personal attributes (Cohen 169-170). Heroes have a lot of influence on societies and
individuals. These heroes serves as personal value system to individuals and helps individuals
identify ethical issues and behave ethically more readily. French and Pena claim that children
learn early to act out hero themes (e.g., unselfish behavior, honesty, bravery) as a means of
integrating with and understanding their role in society. Heroes help teach children to lay the
groundwork for negotiating the subtleties of daily life and the intricacies of personal
relationships (French 81). Heroes are used as a model for ethical behavior in which an
individuals own values are present in the hero.
Employing heroes as a way to teach ethics provides a means for discussing ethical issues
that transcends traditional religious or philosophical modelspersonalizing the study of ethics in

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this fashion paves the way for productive classroom discussion of how to approach ethical
dilemmas in today's business environment in a way that can be transferred to real-life
experiences (Apostolou 121). Heroes have characteristics or traits that students wish to emulate
because of this when faced with an ethical decision they ask the question of what would their
hero do in this situation. By using heroes in ethics education, it promotes critical thinking and
leads the students to analyze their view of ethical behavior as well as how their heroes influence
their behavior.
Former students who have learned in a traditional setting about values in the workplace
have experienced job-related ethical dilemma that pressure them to behave unethically. The
majority of the participants reported the belief that "sleaze" advances careers in business, but
they qualified their comments, suggesting that ethical behavior really makes no difference. The
respondents reported that unethical managers were not punished, whereas those not following the
unethical road feared punishment. They believed that implicit ethical norms supersede written
codes of conduct in the reward/punishment structure (Apostolou 121). The participants state
they relied on their own personal values for ethical guidance rather than relying on what they
learnt from the classroom. Implementing heroes in teaching ethics rather than the traditional way
because it helps students create their own ethical beliefs and prepares the students better when
faced with ethical issues in the workplace.
Implementation of heroes is one non-traditional method to teaching ethics as it provides a
basis for ones personal value system in the workplace. My technique to teaching ethics differs
slightly from the hero approach since involves using a board game to teach people how to deal
with ethical situations and dilemmas in the workplace. Games that allow students to be actively
involved are better teaching tools since the students can engage in such higher-order thinking
tasks as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Weigel 21).

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In order to further education of ethics, it is imperative to have education on ethics.
Therefore, my final product employs a rather nontraditional approach of teaching ethics by using
a board game. Oftentimes, the traditional approach of teaching entails instructors lecturing in
front of class, but this method of teaching does not work well for all students. Some students
learn better when they are actively involved. Instructors should [engage] their students at a
more thoughtful level [and] consider expanding their repertoires of educational methods beyond
a death by PowerPoint approach to lecturing in order for the students to learn and retain the
material (Weigel 21). The board game teaches ethics by incorporating active learning. According
to the definition of active learning, active learning entails:
instructional activities involving students in doing things and thinking about what they
are doing. Active learning can be looked at in contrast to the traditional classroom in
which the instructor does most of the talking, moving, and doing, while the students sit
and observe passively. Two assumptions on which Active Learning is built, apparent;
learning is by nature an active endeavor and different students learn differently. Active
learning can be achieved through a variety of educational activities that focus on
engaging students and rely less on instructor activity. These instructional activities can be
problem-solving exercises, informal small groups, simulations, case studies, role
playing, and other activities, all of which require students to apply what they are learning
(Weigel 22).
Traditional methods of teaching are ineffective since this method of teaching stunts the students
reasoning and does not allow the students to apply their knowledge of what they have learned.
On the other hand, lecture is considered as one [of] the oldest method of teaching and
learning in all type of education (Ismail 51). Lecture is a one way of communication where the
instructor conveys facts and data in order to teach the students. Students can gain interest in

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lecture when it is relevant for their career and the teacher is engaging. Often, the teachers
personality and approach to teaching can encourage students to pay attention.
Although lecture has been a well-known traditional method to teaching, it is not very
effective and does not allow students to be directly involved in their learning (Ismail 51). The
problem with traditional method of teaching does not engage the students at a deeper level and
does not allow them to enjoy learning. The traditional approach of teaching, with instructors
standing at a podium in front of the class before the students, imparting the wisdom of the
collective years of their education and experience, may not be the best method for all students to
learn and retain material. Cognitive research supports that this derisively labeled sage on the
stage lecturing approach to teaching does not work well for all students. With the traditional
approach, it is difficult for instructors to instill their students with the deep understanding of the
material the instructors share. Chickering and Gamsons quote Learning is not a spectator
sport is apt, but conventional methods does not adhere to quote (Weigel 21). Often, in lectures
where the students observe passively, the students are unlikely to pay attention or enjoy the class
in that type of environment. These conventional approaches do not promote critical thinking and
does not allow the students to apply the knowledge they have gained.
The end-product consists of a board game that is geared toward adults. The board game
will have case studies of ethical dilemmas so it can be applied to the workplace. During the
course of this whole project, I have learned that even the most minuscule of details play a major
importance when constructing something especially if it is a major project. I have learned just as
planning and dedication is important in WIMS; it is the minor details that we overlooked until
after the event that could have decided whether the event ran smoothly. When we had the Girl
Scouts event, a minor detail such as organizing the activities better could have helped
immensely. The minor details are important in accounting as well. If an accountant overlooks

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something, it becomes a long and arduous process to figure out the mistake since the smallest of
details are crucial in accounting. Richland mission statement of Teaching, learning, and
community building has the same lesson that was incorporated in my service learning and my
career in my opinion because Richland statement is an example where a slightest of detail is not
neglected. The teachers and the students both play importance in community building. The
teachers role is to educate while the students whose purpose is to learn, building a community
with teachers and diversity of students. When these students attain the profession of their choice,
they eventually contribute to the community with teachers guidance thus building community.
Each object has its purpose and is important even though it seems insignificant in comparison to
the rest.
Works Cited
Apostolic, Barbara, and Nicholas Apostolou. "Heroes as a Context for Teaching Ethics." Journal
of Education for Business 73.2 (1997): 121. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Feb.
Bazerman, Max, and Ann Tenbrunsel. "Blind Spots." (2011). Web. 23 Feb. 2013.
Clemmitt, Marcia. "Lies and Politics." CQ Researcher 18 Feb. 2011: 145-68. Web. 16 Feb.
"Ethics." Legal Information Institute. n.p., n.d. Web. 4 March. 2014.
Farhi, Paul. Outfoxed by Fox News? No way. Washington Post. 3 Dec. 2010: 1-3. Web. 16
Feb. 2014.
Haggerty, Maryann. "Business Ethics." CQ Researcher 6 May 2011: 409-32. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
Ismail, Salwani, et al. "Preference Of Teaching And Learning Methods In A New Medical School
Of Malaysia." Gerofam 4.2 (2014): 48-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Kiener, Robert. "Media Bias." CQ Researcher 3 May 2013: 401-24. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
Price, Tom. "Journalism Standards in the Internet Age." CQ Researcher 8 Oct. 2010: 821-44.
Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
Schumaker, Paul, and Marisa Kelly. "Ethics Matter: The Morality and Justice Principles of
Elected City Officials and Their Impact on Urban Issues." Journal of Urban Affairs 34.3
(2012): 231-253. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

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Weigel, Fred K., and Mark Bonica. "An Active Learning Approach to Bloom's Taxonomy: 2
Games, 2 Classrooms, 2 Methods." U.S. Army Medical Department Journal (2014): 2129. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.