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MSc project - final presentation - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Sep. 8th, 2004

01:37 pm - MSc project - final presentation

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From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
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I think that the ``personal communication'' reference is about the lowest possible form of reference; it's really only to give credit.

And I think that the temptation is simply too great for most people if they have the actual written essay in front of them.

If you're hiring the report for yourself in the company, that would be okay IMHO, but not if you hire the report, change the name at the top and submit it as your own. That would be illegal, unethical and wrong :)
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From:johnckirk
Date:September 8th, 2004 10:10 am (UTC)
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How would it work if I wanted to cite your MSc/PhD thesis? Admittedly unlikely given that we do different subjects, but hypothetically :) As far as I know, they aren't published anywhere, so would you say something like "Available from university library"? For that matter, do universities normally archive all theses, or just the ones that pass? (Thinking about my failed project from last year.) I could also see a citation being tricky to pin down if it's "forthcoming" (something that hasn't been submitted yet).
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From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
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Theses are at least theoretically available (there are copies of mine in the IC and UL libraries). So you'd just cite ``L J P Kilford, University of London PhD thesis, 2002''. Most of the meat of it is (or will be) available as published papers, so you should cite those. My thesis will also be on my Oxford webpage when I get it set up, but you can't rely on such things.

Some universities make their students' PhD theses available online. This is clearly a civilised thing to do :)

For mathematics, one often gives at least a sketch of what the reference actually says, so that someone a long way away can actually reconstruct the argument.

Forthcoming citations are indeed often problematic. See this great reference card, section 1.22.
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From:overconvergent
Date:September 8th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
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Universities only archive theses that pass, I think.
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From:johnckirk
Date:September 8th, 2004 10:20 am (UTC)
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Regarding temptation, I think that would happen at an earlier stage (when requesting the subject). E.g. with my bee project, I might pay them to come up with a list of all British plants that are pollinated by bees, with the replenishment rates, ideal soil Ph levels etc. for each one. That's not something that I could submit, but it would allow me to focus on the computing aspects of the problem, and delegate someone else to summarise the biology issues. Whereas if I said "write me a paper about modelling bees", I'd probably have succumbed to temptation before I even got the essay.
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