Guidelines for Writing a Language Term Paper Foreword These guidelines are meant to serve as an aid to students intending to write a term paper in English with a language specialization. Before we start to offer advice, however, it is necessary to point out that there is no single perfect recipe for success in writing a term paper, or any other kind of scientific paper, journal article, book, etc. As is the case with any creative activity, the writing process entails a combination of keen analytical thinking and a good deal of old-fashioned hard work. What you will find in these brief guidelines is what we perceive to be a standard form of expression in scientific papers of the type that students are required to write at the B level in Swedish universities.
Good luck! Teaching and Support
• Supervision with an assigned supervisor. Each student is guaranteed 8 hours of supervision in total, including supervision sessions, preparations (e.g. reading and comments) and examination. NB Students will only be guaranteed supervision during the term that they are first registered on the course.
• Scheduled method and theory (term paper-writing) seminars (compulsory).
• Library support. You are free to book a librarian1 to help you with your specific term paper topic. Arrange this at the library desk of the Humsam library.
• A distributed term paper-writing schedule to be followed. The Language Term Paper Students are often under the misconception that writing a term paper mainly involves writing, and they are therefore anxious to start producing text as soon as possible.
However, the writing tends to come at a (much) later stage of the research process. Instead the term paper is built by constructing it part by part and section by section, working more or less from the inside out (see further details below). Only when all of these parts have been drafted is it then time to put the term paper together in its final order. Hence you should not be worried if you don’t have a mass of text which resembles a completed term paper until almost at the very end of the project. As far at the amount of pages goes, when all the parts of the text are properly in place, there will more or less automatically be “enough” pages. 1 Our contact librarian for modern foreign languages (including English) is Ran Jäger ([email protected]). 2 Research Questions The first step in writing a term paper is to formulate (a) research question(s) of relevance to the subject English [or to the teaching/learning of English*]. These will be preliminary in the early stages, but they will guide you in your reading and thinking and help to keep you on track. Naturally, these questions can and should be revised as the work progresses and you become better informed of the related research field. Finding Research Questions Your research questions can arise from your own observations (e.g. I have noticed that subtitles often mistranslate the English or miss out some of the content in x TV series, or I have noticed that pupils studying English often have problems with x), a broad topic of interest (e.g. I am particularly interested in communication in online computer games, the use of dialect in literature, student motivation, learning vocabulary) or they arise from the research literature (e.g. by looking at recent issues of academic journals that focus on linguistics (or a particular area in linguistics, e.g. pragmatics, communication, World Englishes, the teaching/learning of English to see what is topical). Your supervisor will also provide advice about narrowing down the aim of your study and formulating your research questions. Searching for Sources The second step is to search for and gather relevant academic sources [and/or (if relevant) education policy documents, e.g. the curriculum and syllabus*] related to your area of interest. Academic sources include research articles, dissertations/theses and academic textbooks, such as those providing overviews of the particular research field (and thereby offer further references to primary research).
As mentioned above (under “Teaching and Support), it is also possible to book a librarian1 to help you with the search process. *The criteria in square brackets only apply primarily to student teachers’ term papers. Structure of Your Term Paper In its final form, the term paper would normally include the following: Title Page (see template2) Contents (with page numbers) 1. Introduction 2. Theoretical Background 3. Data and Methodology 4. Results 5. Discussion and Conclusions References (Appendix/Appendices) 2 At the back of this compendium. The template can also be downloaded from the course room in Lisam or from the C essay course webpage: http://www.liu.se/ikk/english/e3/course-webpages/c-essay 3 The sections of your paper should not be written chronologically in the same order as they will appear in the final version. You are likely to be able to finish at least the first parts of section three (methodology) first, i.e. your data and how you gathered it, followed by section four (results). When the results of the empirical investigation have been written up, you can then complete your methodology section (how you analysed the data). Next you will need to discuss your results and draw reasonable conclusions (section 5) and fill the reader in on what theoretical background (section 2) you departed from in the study. Once sections two, three, four and five are in place, the introduction usually starts to fall in place as well. In other words, the introduction is the last section of the paper to be written, together with the references, the finalising of the title and the list of contents. To summarise, this is the order in which the sections are typically written: Data and Methodology (data & data collection) Results Data and Methodology (data processing & data analysis) Discussion and Conclusions Theoretical Background Introduction Title Page References (Appendix/Appendices) Contents (with page numbers) Title It is not until the end of the writing process that the exact title of your term paper can be settled, i.e. after you have established your definitive research questions (and been able to answer them).
The title page should use the template that can be downloaded from the Lisam course room or the course webpage: http://www.liu.se/ikk/english/course-webpages/term-paper?l=en 1. Introduction (including aims and research questions) The writing of the introduction is also best reserved until the end, when you know what you have achieved. It also needs co-ordinating with your title, since the introduction serves as an expansion of the title. Otherwise, the main purpose is to contextualise and present the main aim(s) or goal(s) of the term paper. The term paper often starts with a (personal or general) discussion about why the (broader) topic of your study is worthy of attention. When you then present your overarching aims, it is also recommended that you formulate them more specifically as research questions (see “Research Questions” above), which will then be explicitly addressed again (answered) in the discussion and conclusions. Here in the introduction you could inform the reader of whether there is there any hypothesis underlying your research questions (informed by previous research) or whether they are more open ended (data-driven). Bear 4 in mind that the answers to your research questions should offer a contribution (however small) to our current state of knowledge. The introduction should also give a brief indication of what data you have used and what method you have employed to analyse the data in order to answer your research questions. Moreover, in this type of writing there is nothing that prevents the author from providing a brief foretaste of the findings or even the implications of the study. In fact, this is one way to get the reader interested early on. This also means you cannot write this section until the very end. 2. Theoretical Background This section should aim to situate (contextualise) your own study within the relevant field of research. Thus it is in this section and in the discussion and conclusions (section 5) where most of the references to the background literature should be found. For the term paper, you need to include at least five references. Although the writing of this section comes at a relatively late stage in the writing process, you should begin your search for relevant literature early on (see “Searching for Sources” above). Your reading can then fruitfully inform your research design more or less from the outset. Basically, there are two aspects to cover here (though they may or may not be easily separable in your text): 1) a brief overview of the general field of study of relevance to your investigation; and 2) a review of related empirical studies. In conjunction with the first, one would expect to find a general introduction to the relevant theory or approach adopted in your study, together with definitions or explications and exemplifications of key theoretical concepts. To address the second, find out whether anyone else has done anything like your own study before, and if so, what they have found (in a nutshell). In your selection of studies to review consider their reliability (whether they appear in refereed journals) and their currency (how up to date they are). A final word of caution here: don’t write too much. Try to keep the argumentation focused on your specific study (i.e. your research questions) and your concrete results. The best way to do this is, of course, to have the results already clearly organised and formulated! 3. Data and Method This section should address three main issues: 1) the nature of your sources, 2) the procedure for gathering your sources and 3) the procedure for processing and analysing your sources. To cover the first, what sources of data were used for the study (corpora, databanks, texts, etc.)? Who participated in your investigation and in what context? Did you use any equipment or software and what were the ‘instruments’ of the data collection? For example, were there video recordings, field observations, structured interview questions or was there a questionnaire? In the case of the latter two, what did they consist of? (The full set of questions or questionnaire could be included as an appendix at the end of your paper.) To deal with the second issue, how did you go about collecting your data in concrete terms? How did you gain access to the data, was there a sampling procedure and were there any ethical issues3 to consider (e.g. did you need participants’ consent?)? 3 See an abridged version of the Swedish Research Council’s ethical guidelines here:
http://www.liu.se/ikk/english/files/Course%20Webpages/english-2/1.206360/EthicalPrinciples.pdf 5 Thirdly, what research methodology was chosen for the analysis of the data? Was it a quantitative (based on statistics) or qualitative (interpretive) approach, or something else (e.g. a mixed approach)? Explain concretely how you went about processing and then analysing your data. Depending on your research method, this may be two easily distinguishable steps, e.g. in Conversation Analysis, video recordings are usually transcribed before any formal analysis can take place. Finally, were there any significant methodological problems that arose at any stage of the process? If so, how did you resolve these (wherever possible)? 4. Results (=Analysis) The results section should tell the reader what you found by carrying out your empirical investigation. Below, a division has been made into reporting qualitative vs. qualitative results, but many studies will include elements of both. As regards a qualitative study (or qualitative aspects of the study), could you categorise the data in any way? If so, present an initial overview of the categories. Then take each category in turn and describe its general features (shared by all the examples belonging to this category). For each category, provide also a typical example or two, followed by a more detailed analysis of how each example typifies its features. As regards a quantitative study (or quantitative aspects of the study), consider presenting your data in tables, graphs, figures or charts. However, refrain from simply repeating in your text exactly what the tables, graphs, etc. show. Instead comment on the most significant aspects/trends. By looking at your tables, graphs, etc., the reader should get a clear picture of the results of your study and also be able to draw the same conclusions as you. Even quantitative studies will benefit from exemplification, so consider whether examples might help shed further light on how to interpret the results. Whichever approach you took, make sure all the tables, figures, graphs, examples, excerpts, etc. have headings and are numbered consecutively and consistently. At all times, bear in mind how your results are related to your (provisional) research questions, revising them whenever necessary. What ‘story’ are you wanting to tell and is this story easily discernible to the reader? Indeed, it is your results which will provide the backbone for your whole study (including the story you wish to tell) and which you and your supervisor will also have to agree on, before the remaining work on your paper can proceed profitably. 5. Discussion and Conclusions The fifth section should tell the reader in no uncertain terms what conclusions you think can be drawn from the results presented in section 4 and what contribution your study has made to the scientific field. In other words, this is where you interpret, discuss and evaluate your findings in relation to your research questions, as well as previous studies and theories presented in section 2. This involves addressing each question explicitly and systematically. If any hypotheses have been confirmed or refuted, you should also inform the reader of the grounds for your claims. Also, are there any implications of your findings either for the field of study or, say, for the particular practices you have studied (e.g. translating, learning/teaching)? The need to relate the findings explicitly to your research questions at this stage naturally necessitates the final revising or tweaking of the questions so that they match. When your whole 6 paper is written, it is essential in any case that none of the research questions raised in your introduction remain unanswered by the end of this section, and conversely that your main findings are closely reflected in corresponding research questions. To conclude this section, you may also suggest possible ways to continue your investigation in the future, given the time and resources (perhaps in a Bachelor’s thesis). References The final compulsory section should include all the works cited or referred to in your term paper. Don’t, however, list all the books you have ever read on the subject you have investigated. As stated earlier, you need to refer to at least five relevant sources. In the subject English we allow only two reference styles: MLA and Harvard.
MLA is used for literary studies but Harvard is used in linguistics. The following outlines how to format the main types of sources you are likely to come across according to Harvard reference style. Harvard Reference Style The Harvard reference style (like MLA) uses in-text citation, and not footnotes, e.g. (Hatim 1997: 157), with the author’s surname, year of publication, a colon followed by the page number within parentheses in the text. Make sure that you write the name of the author of the text (book, chapter, article, etc.) you are citing or referring to and not the name of the editor. Referring to a Source without Quoting In some cases, the reference may refer to a whole work, so page numbers may be omitted: Ferguson’s term ‘diglossia’ was calqued on the French diglossie (Marçais 1930). The term ‘diglossia’ refers to a particular linguistic division of labour (Ferguson: 2000 ). Note that in the second example there is an additional complication, since Ferguson’s work is a reprint of his earlier article (from 1959) reproduced in a collection of writings, which is why the original year is included in square brackets . Very frequently it is relevant to include the specific page number(s): Whereas Fasold (1990: 53) widens the boundaries of diglossia, in a contribution to the ongoing diglossia debate, Hudson (2002: 1) wishes to narrow the scope in an attempt to salvage many of Ferguson’s original criteria for diglossia. The page numbers here indicate exactly where in their texts Fasold and Hudson make their statements or claims. This will enable your reader to check your sources for whatever reason, i.e. if the claim is a controversial one. If there are more than two authors, the surname of the first author is followed by “et al.”, but all the authors are written out in full in the final reference list (see “Listing your References” below). Benson et al. (1986: 28) distinguish ten major groups of lexical differences when it comes to describing differences between British and American English. 7 Short Quotations Quotations of three lines or less are usually embedded in your own sentence using quotation marks: The idealised conception of the nature of bilingualism is what Martin-Jones and Romaine (1985: 32) have termed “the container view of competence”. Hudson argues that diglossia be defined as “a quite specific set of relationships between functional compartmentalization of codes, the lack of opportunity for the acquisition of H as a native variety, the resulting absence of native speakers of H, and the stability in the use of L for vernacular purposes” (2002: 40). Note that the authors’ names are mentioned in the embedding sentences above and therefore do not need to be repeated in parentheses. Note also that in the second example the final full stop comes after the reference in parenthesis, since this is where your sentence finishes.
Correspondingly, there should be no full stop at the end of the quotation. Make sure the quotation fits in with the syntax of your own sentence. This may mean making some minor changes to the quotation (without changing the original meaning). These changes are then indicated within square brackets [ ]: As Martin-Jones points out: “[w]ithin [Fishman’s] static model, it is not possible to account for the social and linguistic processes involved in language retention and shift among bilingual minorities” (1989: 110). The original quotation started with a capital letter (“Within”), since it was the beginning of the sentence. “Fishman’s” was added for clarity, since this is what the original implied. If you remove words from the original, this should be signalled in the quotation with three dots within square brackets […]: As Hudson argues: “[w]hat distinguishes diglossia from other instances of interlingual or intralingual situational alternation […] is that the functional distribution of codes in the diglossic case is one that specifically protects the role of the L variety as a natively learned variety” (2002: 7). What has been removed here is a parenthetical remark (“– even more than the sharp complementary distribution of linguistic varieties per se –”), the removal of which does not change the original sense. Long Quotations Quotations that are over three lines long should be indented (about 10 spaces in) in a smaller font (10 points) without quotation marks: Undoubtedly, the most widely known broad definition of diglossia has been proposed by Fasold: Broad diglossia is the reservation of highly valued segments of a community’s linguistic repertoire (which are not the first to be learned, but are learned later and more consciously, usually through formal education), for situations perceived as more formal and guarded; and the reservation of less highly valued segments (which are learned first with little or no conscious effort), of any degree of linguistic relatedness to the higher valued segments, from stylistic differences to separate languages, for situations perceived as more informal and intimate. (1990: 53) Note that here the full stop comes before the parenthetical citation, since it is not part of the original text. 8 Listing your References References should include all the works cited or referred to in your essay. The full reference is then given in alphabetical order in ONE list (without separating them into books, websites, etc.) under the single heading: “List of References” This is how the above-mentioned works will appear in the list of references: List of References Benson, Morton; Benson, Evelyn & Ilson, Robert F. (1986) Lexicographic Description of English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Fasold, R. W. (1990). The Sociolinguistics of Society. Oxford: Blackwell. Ferguson, C. A. (2000 ) ‘Diglossia’. In The Bilingualism Reader. ed. by Wei, L. London: Routledge, 65-80 Hatim, B. (1997) Communication across Cultures. Translation Theory and Contrastive Text Linguistics. Exeter: University of Exeter Press Hudson, A. (2002) ‘Outline of a Theory of Diglossia’. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 157, 1-48 Marçais, W. (1930) ‘La diglossie arabe’. L’Enseignement Public 97, 401-409 Martin-Jones, M. (1989) ‘Language, Power and Linguistic Minorities: The Need for an Alternative Approach to Bilingualism, Language Maintenance and Shift’. In Social Anthropology and the Politics of Language. ed. by Grillo, R. London: Routledge, 106-125 Martin-Jones, M. & Romaine, S. (1986) ‘Semilingualism: A Half-Baked Theory of Communicative Competence’. Applied Linguistics 7 (1), 26-38 However, before you can write your list of references, you need to know for sure who the author is of the text you are referring to. This is simple if the source is a book or article by a single author, but in a volume with several authors, edited by one or more persons, check very carefully who is the author of the chapter(s) you use. Capitalisation In titles, all words apart from articles (e.g. a, the), prepositions (e.g. for, to), co-ordinating conjunctions (and, but, or) should be capitalised, unless they appear as the first word: ‘Language, Power and Linguistic Minorities: The Need for an Alternative Approach to Bilingualism, Language Maintenance and Shift’. In Social Anthropology and the Politics of Language. ‘Outline of a Theory of Diglossia’.
International Journal of the Sociology of Language. The following examples show how to provide references for the categories you are most likely to need. Note the order, the punctuation and which elements must be included for each category. Although full first names are not required, some prefer to use full names to reveal which authors are women. Printed Sources Book Hatim, Basil (1997) Communication across Cultures. Translation Theory and Contrastive Text Linguistics. Exeter: University of Exeter Press 9 If there is more than one author, they should all be listed. Benson, Morton; Benson, Evelyn & Ilson, Robert F. (1986) Lexicographic Description of English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins You should add which edition it is after the title, e.g. 3rd edn., rev. edn.: Hutchby, Ian & Wooffitt, Robin (2008) Conversation Analysis. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Polity Press Chapter or essay in an edited volume/book Hopper, Paul (1998) ‘Emergent Grammar’. In The New Psychology of Language. ed. by Tomasello, M. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 155-175 Martin-Jones, Marilyn (1989) ‘Language, Power and Linguistic Minorities: The Need for an Alternative Approach to Bilingualism, Language Maintenance and Shift’. In Social Anthropology and the Politics of Language. ed. by Grillo, R. London: Routledge, 106-125 Journal article Martin-Jones, Marilyn & Romaine, Suzanne (1986) ‘Semilingualism: A Half-Baked Theory of Communicative Competence’. Applied Linguistics 7 (1), 26-38 Stroud, Christopher (2004) ‘The Performativity of Codeswitching’. International Journal of Bilingualism 8 (2), 145-166 Lecture notes Musk, Nigel (2015) History of English: Lecture Notes & Exercises. History of English Module, spring term 2015. Linköping: Linköping University Thesis or dissertation Musk, Nigel (2006) Performing Bilingualism in Wales with the Spotlight on Welsh: A Study of the Language Practices of Young People in Bilingual Education. Published PhD thesis. Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Sources Electronic/online book Thomason, Sarah Grey (2001) Language Contact: An Introduction [online] Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. available from [12 January 2015] Chapter or essay in an online edited volume/book Penhallurick, Robert (2007) ‘English in Wales’. in Language in the British Isles [online] ed. by Britain, David. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 152-170. available from [12 January 2015] Electronic journal article Jeon-Ellis, Gumock, Debski, Robert, & Wigglesworth, Gillian (2005) ‘Oral interaction around computers in the project-oriented CALL classroom’. Language Learning & Technology [online] 9, 121-145. available from [20 January 2014] 10 Online thesis or dissertation Musk, Nigel (2006) Performing Bilingualism in Wales with the Spotlight on Welsh: A Study of the Language Practices of Young People in Bilingual Education [online] PhD thesis. Linköping: Linköping University. available from [12 January 2015] Rizvanovic, Alena (2013) Spelling Correction in Collaborative Writing in English Project Work [online] MA thesis. Linköping: Linköping University. available from [12 January 2015] Website Chandler, Daniel (2002) Semiotics for Beginners [online] available from [20 January 2014] If there is no year on the website, write (n.d.) ‘no date’ instead: Barthram, Phil (n.d.) Old English Translator [online] available from [15 July 2014] For trickier questions of when, what, or how to cite or reference, we recommend the University of Coventry Harvard Style Guide available at the following web site: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/study-at-coventry/student-support/academic-support/centre-foracademic-writing A Word on Style In general, try to be as lucid and straightforward in your formulations as possible. However, you should not chat with your reader either. Scientific writing should, above all, be informative. Just tell your ‘story’ as plainly and clearly as you can and let the readers make their own judgements on your claims. If they find your claims valid and interesting, this is all the reward they can reasonably ask for in an academic paper. A Word on Quantity The paper should ordinarily be between 10 and 12 pages in length.
This does not necessarily mean 10-12 pages of solid text. Instead, this is usually the way it turns out when all the sections are properly written and gathered into one document. Nevertheless, quantity is not rewarded in academic writing. Indeed, brevity and quality are what readers want and what the author of the thesis should aim to deliver. Examination
• Submit a final draft of your term paper to the examiner by the stipulated deadline.
• Make revisions in accordance with the examiner’s feedback and resubmit your term paper (within one week) for the final assessment and grade. Examination Code See your general course guide for this, since it is different for different courses. 11 Examination Criteria To achieve a pass grade (G) a student will need to demonstrate that he/she can:
• formulate (a) viable research question(s) for a delimited empirical study,
• search for and select academic literature of relevance to the study,
• synthesise previous research findings,
• provide a relevant theoretical and methodological background based on the required volume of literature in the field, as well as link this to the research findings,
• follow research ethics where appropriate,
• select and gather suitable data to answer the research question(s),
• apply a suitable linguistic method,
• collate results and carry out analyses in a scientifically adequate manner,
• work with some degree of independence in planning and carrying out the study,
• follow the accepted norms for academic writing in linguistics in terms of structure, quoting and referencing,
• write in correct and stylistically adequate English.
To pass with distinction (VG) a student will need to demonstrate that he/she can:
• formulate (a) clearly defined and viable research question(s) for a delimited empirical study, which inform(s) and permeate(s) the whole term paper,
• search for and select academic literature of relevance to the study,
• adeptly and critically synthesise previous research findings,
• provide a relevant theoretical and methodological background based on the required volume of literature in the field, as well as deftly and coherently link this to the research findings,
• follow research ethics where appropriate, • select and gather suitable data to answer the research question(s), • skilfully apply a suitable linguistic method,
• collate results lucidly and carry out skilled analyses in a scientifically proficient manner, • work with a considerable degree of independence in planning and carrying out an academic study,
• consistently follow the accepted norms for academic writing in linguistics in terms of structure, quoting and referencing, • write a well-structured term paper in consistently correct, and stylistically proficient English. Examples of shortcomings that could result in a fail (U): • a low or uneven level of involvement, attendance and/or interest in the writing process
• inadequate grounding of the study in previous research • inadequate analysis of data • lack of a suitable linguistic method • a general lack of coherence between research questions and research findings • a severe lack of independence
• a poor command of English and/or a poorly structured text • faulty referencing (including plagiarism) 12 Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism Read carefully the “Guidelines for Examination” appended to these guidelines. You will be required to sign a form to confirm that you have read these guidelines on cheating and plagiarism. You will also be required to send your final version to your examiner’s Urkund address. Afterword To close this brief outline of our ideas on the art of writing a term paper, we wish to say that this process is an important first step towards the presentation of independent research of the type that is found in the articles of research journals. 13 Checklist for the Term Paper Contents
1. Is the aim of the study clear study (and are the research questions) clear?
2. Do you fulfil the proposed aim of the study as evident in the title or the introduction to the term paper (e.g. as reflected in the research questions)?
3. Is there a synthesis of previous empirical studies with comparisons and contrasts (as opposed to an unprocessed list of studies and their findings)?
4. Is the investigation methodologically properly conducted? (Are the steps for gathering, organising and analysing the data satisfactorily documented? Did you do what you should do when conducting scientific research?)
5. Do you need to expand any of the sections? (Use the term paper guidelines in this compendium for each section in turn to check whether anything is missing.)
6. Is there any irrelevant material presented in the paper (e.g. unused theoretical concepts, unnecessary diversions or lines of argument)?
7. Are the contents of the essay properly focussed on your aims/research questions, claims and conclusions?
8. Are the claims made in the paper properly supported by the evidence given? (Do you believe the author’s claim(s)?)
9. Can conclusions other than those made by the author be drawn from the evidence presented in the paper? Do these complement or contradict the author’s conclusions?
10. Does the discussion and conclusions section satisfactorily relate previous research to the discussion of the research question(s)?
1. Does the title match the contents and the proposed aim of the study?
2. Is the term paper logically structured? (Are the contents sorted into the appropriate sections?)
3. Is there sufficient linking and signposting between paragraphs and sections?
4. Do the section headings and numbers in the main body of the text match the section headings and numbers in the table of contents?
5. Does the page numbering for the sections in the main body match the page numbering in the table of contents? 6. Are all charts, tables, figures, examples, etc. given in a clear and readable manner and are they properly labelled and numbered according to section or subsection?
7. Are all references properly cited and registered in the reference list according to Harvard reference style?
8. Is the language used in the essay stylistically and grammatically appropriate for scientific writing? 14 Department of Communication & Culture Institutionen för språk och kultur (IKK) English Guidelines for Examination (both individual and in groups) Read the following text and confirm by signing the accompanying list that you know and understand existing rules and regulations as regards abstracts, references, summaries and citations/quotations of texts written by others, as well as working in pairs or group. Listing Sources In higher education, a common examination form is the writing of essays and theses of varying scope and depth, as well as other kinds of home exams in the form of written assignments. Virtually all such assignments require the student to read, comment and relate to other written texts published in books, magazines, or texts found in essays, theses or on the Internet. There are fairly strict guidelines to be followed as regards using texts produced by others in one’s own work. These vary according to academic discipline. For literature, we use the MLA (Modern Language Association) referencing conventions (cf. Writing: A College Handbook), whereas for linguistics we use Harvard (see your Reading List for a reference). If in doubt, consult your teacher/supervisor. The following description mainly comes from Siv Strömquist (2001), Konsten att tala och skriva (“The Art of Speaking and Writing”). Whether quoting […], commenting on, or re-writing in one’s own words what someone else has written, a listing of the source must accompany all such text passages.
One must state whose text one quotes, what source one uses and where the information comes from. […] Listing the sources really serves two purposes: the reader must be told that you use someone else’s text for support, and you must give sufficient information to make it possible to identify the sources you have used (the bibliographic references). Based on your information, the reader should be able to find the text and read it in its original form, should she or he wish to do so. (Strömquist 2001: 225, our translation) Relating the content of someone else’s text using one’s own words is called a paraphrase or a summary.
To learn about how sources should be listed and quoted, please refer to Heffernan et. al. (2001: 571–573) in Writing: A College Handbook. Copying a short or a long passage from someone else’s text is called a citation or quotation: “When one wants to reproduce what someone else has written verbatim, one must both indicate the quoted passage using quotation marks […], as well as making sure that the passage is quoted exactly as it is” (Strömquist 2001: 225, our translation). If one uses the content of someone else’s text as a quotation, summary or paraphrase, it is vital that the original source is listed. Using the thoughts and ideas, and/or the formulations of someone else without stating the source, is seen as intellectual theft. It is called plagiarism and is a form of cheating. Plagiarism, the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one’s own. The fraudulence is closely related to forgery and piracy – practices generally in violation of copyright laws. (Encyclopædia Britannica) 15 Using the Internet Downloading, copying or using texts from the Internet and claiming to be the author without stating the correct source is plagiarism and therefore cheating. Please note that this includes the written answers used in the literature seminars, which are to be handed in.
All assignments will be examined by Urkund, a program used by the University for checking texts. Hence, all texts must be sent to the teacher concerned through a specific Urkund e-mail address, listed below. Keep this list and refer to it when in need of a teacher’s Urkund address. Working in Pairs or Groups University studies may require students to collaborate with their peers regarding certain tasks. These tasks may be prepared/carried out/presented/examined in pairs or in groups, or they may be prepared/carried out in pairs or in groups but presented/examined on an individual basis. If pair or group work forms the basis for the grade on the course or part of it, students are expected to participate, individually and actively in the group’s shared work. A student who does not participate actively, but tries to benefit from the results produced by other members of the group, will be regarded as cheating; his/her action is considered as a form of plagiarism. Students are often encouraged to collaborate and discuss together in groups, e.g. before a seminar; however, if answers are to be submitted individually, it is very important that the texts are written separately