I received an email during the week from an American student who claims to be attending a top 20 university in the US. He said he’s referencing my PhD thesis in an essay he’s writing. I haven’t received one of these emails for a while, so it was nice to know my work is still relevant. Completed in 1998, I would have thought it was now out of date.

Anyway, Jonny wanted citations for my thesis. His email was vague and confusing, so I replied asking him to clarify what he meant. If he has seen my thesis he should have seen its bibliography. When he replied, it became clear that he wanted me to write an MLA style citation for my thesis so he could list it in his essay. I was incredulous, and replied saying that if he wasn’t capable of doing that for himself (all the required information is in the thesis of course) then he shouldn’t be writing research.

If he’d wanted to check that he had the details right he could have supplied his draft and asked me if it was correct, but he was so lazy he expected me to do it for him. I told him what I thought of this, then he became rude. Literacy is wasted on some people…

Jonny’s an American

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