Thu, 24 Mar 1994 19:01:33 EST

To quote or not to quote, aye...

I view interlining of comments on e-mail postings as the
performative creating of dialogue: he said and then she said
and he got to say, and so say we all!

Hadn't thought of it as niggly ol' fighting stance, but maybe
one could think of it that way ("May I remind you that on the
5th of May you said...and etc.").

I tell my students there are three reasons for using footnotes
(or endnotes): when you are quoting another directly; for the
odd fact not generally known; AND for the idea not your own.
This is not a paraphrasing, it's giving credit where credit is
due. If you're paraphrasing...ooo, bad idea, that's plagiarising
and I'm gonna get you for it (and I often do grab 'em by the
scruff of their neck). In scholarly writing there's nothing
wrong with a string of little numbers down the page which
direct the reader to a lovely essay tucked away in the annotated
notes wherein may be found the original text quotation which
gave rise to such glorious insight from you, the author.
Annotated notes are a wonderful place to put all those juicy
quotes you've so laboriously copied onto note cards. Sometimes
it's hard to say goodbye to them.

Now, please note, I am not talking about the social science
style of notes with which more and more of my students seem
to be infested. The method I've described above, my daughter
(trained by me and my old Turabian manual) was just told was
acceptable, but archaic. Archaic? Ouch!

Stringing quotes together indeed suggests to me that you've not
got one new idea to contribute, but are only writing to hit
a certain page length. Paraphrasing however is worse. Somewhere
out there are high school teachers, too, who tell their students
that one may take anything from the encyclopaedia without citation.
Golly, gee whiz. 'n and I always have to disabuse the hapless
student that, too, will not do.

This is why I avoid assigning research papers, but instead give
problem and field assignments and set up contracts with each
student (undergraduates all) stating how the work will be done.

Hate to say it, but many of the problems I have with unsuspecting
plagiarism comes from my upper-level students in social sciences.
Are we (Humanities folks) out of synch with what you Social
Sciences people are teaching?

Maureen Korp, PhD
Religious Studies
University of Ottawa

mkorp@uottawa mkorp@acadvm1.uottawa.ca