Background: For this research project you will be investigating the controversy between autism and vaccination.  Briefly, in 1998 a group of British physicians, lead by Andrew Wakefield, published a report that the MMR vaccine was linked to autism.  The claim lead to many parents not vaccinating their children and even evoked celebrity spokespeople to campaign against the vaccine.  In 2010, the journal, The Lancet, which originally published the report, retracted the story and Wakefield’s medical license was stripped.  You will write a 1000 word report discussing this controversy.  Follow the directions and guidelines below. 

Basic Report Guidelines

·    The report should be typed, 12 point font & double spaced.

·    Spelling & grammar count and points will be taken off.

·    The report must be written in the 3rd person. Do not refer to yourself in the 1st person!!

·    Make sure you cite all your references & do not copy & paste from the internet.

·    NO WIKIPEDIA!!!! Only credible websites may be used. If you are unsure, ASK YOUR Instructor BEFORE you start writing your report.

·    Add pages numbers to the main body of the report.

·    Include your word count on the Title page.

·    Report should be printed out & stapled, with a title page as first page. In the title page include a title, your name, date, word count & course number.

·    You MUST do your OWN work. Do NOT plagiarize material for this report. If you are found to have plagiarized, you will be punished to the fullest extent of HCC policy described in their handbook.


This course utilizes TurnItIn. TurnItIn is an anti-plagiarism program integrated into Canvas. You must submit a hard-copy AND upload your reports through TurnItIn, which will then compare your paper to a wide range of sources, including Internet & all other papers submitted though HCC.  A detailed report will be provided to your Instructor showing any sources that have high degrees of similarity (i.e. have been plagiarized). Your assignment  WILL NOT BE GRADED unless it has been uploaded onto TurnItIn by the beginning of the class period.  Failure to upload your assignment onto TurnItIn will result in a 0 for the assignment.

Report Instructions

Title Page (5 pts)

  • Develop a title for the report
  • Name, date, course # and word count

Introduction (50 pts)

Use the bulleted points below to gather information about the topic.  You do not need to include every point in your report, but it helps to read through them and write the report on which angle interests you.  Note that this section must include citations from all sources used.

  • Discuss what the MMR vaccine is.
  • Briefly discuss what autism is.
  • Who was Andrew Wakefield? 
  • What kind of physician was Wakefield?
  • Mention the original paper published in The Lancet (reference information listed below).
  • What was the sample size of patients he used to draw his conclusions?
  • Discuss the retraction from The Lancet (reference information listed below) published in 2010.
  • Discuss any information on parents and the public reaction to the original publication.

Discussion (30 pts)

In this section you are to discuss your analysis and opinion on the subject.  You may write in 1st person in this section.  It should include at least 1 paragraph on the final conclusion of this ordeal and at least 1-2 paragraphs on your interpretation and opinion.  If you have any personal experiences you would like to include, please do!

References (15 pts)

References should be on their own, individual page separate from the rest of the report. You will need to use at least 4 sources, including the original paper and the retraction (i.e. the 2 required sources count as part of the 4.)  You may only use credible sources (i.e.,,, journals, etc).  Two of the 5 sources MUST be:

  • The original paper from Wakefield:  Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell, Casson DM, Malik M, et al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 1998; 351:637-41.
  • The retraction from the journal, The Lancet:  Editors of the Lancet. Retraction: ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 2010; 375:445.
  • To find the original and retraction, you can access The Lancet and other online journals from the HCC Library though Canvas.
    • Or just go onto Canvas and find the folder “Supporting documents for Project 2” J
  • You may use any citation style you like (MLA, etc) – just be consistent throughout the paper.

 Example citations:

  • Journal article/textbook:
    • Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell, Casson DM, Malik M, et al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 1998; 351:637-41.
  • Websites:
    • Carson, V. (2011, July 7).  The Fun Fascinating World of Microbiology. Retrieved from

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