General writing advice

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Papers should be polished -- papers with run-on sentences, sentence fragments, serious errors in spelling and grammar, and sloppiness cannot get an A or a B.

Put page numbers on the paper.
Italicize foreign words (i.e. samsara) but not proper names (i.e. Siddhartha Gautama or the Theravada). Italicize or underline book titles (i.e. The Sovereignty of Good), but put short pieces or sutras in quotation marks (ie. "The Mangala Sutta").


Plagiarism is taking someone else's ideas or words and representing them as one's own. It is a form of intellectual theft, as well as dishonesty and cheating. Direct copying or paraphrasing from any source (including the web) without proper citation is plagiarism. A paper which plagiarizes will receive an F for the course grade and will be reported to the Dean's office.


All paraphrases and direct quotations must be cited properly, otherwise the paper is plagiarizing. Every time you include something from another source you must cite it. How does one cite a source? See below:

1) A direct quotation: Include the author's words inside quotation marks. Then, at the end of the quotation, put author's name and the page number in parenthesis (or in a footnote). For example,
Mitchell argues that we should be aware of the time and place of the Buddha's life to understand him. He says, "it is important to view the story of Siddhartha Gautama's departure from his home in the social context of the sixth century" (Mitchell, 15).
Note the placement of the punctuation marks and the proper form of the citation. Note also that Mitchell is mentioned in the writer's text outside of the citation, so the reader knows whom the writer is drawing from. Also, when you provide direct quotations, you still need to include your analysis and comments on the idea quoted.
If you are quoting a primary text, put the translator’s name, but make it clear in your text that it is a primary source.
The Buddha said that “there are ways of making merit by giving, by moral discipline, and by the development of meditation” (Bodhi, 167).
2) A paraphrase: Sometimes it is preferable to put an author's ideas into one's own words; it will still need to be credited to the author with a citation. For example,
Mitchell argues that although it was not easy for Gautama to leave his family, he was responding to a religious calling that could not be answered within the confines of the household life. Moreover, his wife and son would still be taken care of by the extended family after he left (Mitchell 2002: 15).
3) Bibliography: Even though you are using sources from the course materials, you must provide a bibliography at the end of your paper. All sources used must be listed. One way to do a bibliographic reference is thus:

Mitchell, Donald. Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Hallisey, Charles, trans. "A Life of the Buddha." In Buddhist Scriptures, ed. Donald Lopez. London: Penguin, 2004.
Swearer, Donald. "Hypostasizing the Buddha: Buddha Image Consecration in Northern Thailand." History of Religions, vol. 34.3. 1995:263-280.

Papers that do not follow these guidelines will be returned to you without a grade and will need to be resubmitted in proper form.
I am willing to read rough drafts and discuss your paper with you. Also, the Writing Center can be enormously helpful and is a resource for all students. Please take advantage of these opportunities to improve your writing.

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