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Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: 6 July 2010


  • How many pages should my paper be?
    Hard to say. To put it bluntly, you paper should have the exact length needed for you to develop and sustain your argument.

    30-35 pages seems like a reasonable minimum. Most papers in the English Department are around 40 to 50 pages long.

    However, remember: We are reading your papers and not measuring them with a ruler for thickness!

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  • If I write a longer paper, shall I get a bigger grade?
    C'mon, we're not gauging your papers by the kilogram!

    If your paper turns too bulky, you might actually run the risk of being suspected of having "beefed" up with unnecessary material, or even plagiarized material. This might put our Plagiarism Police at your heels!

    To put this in some figures while a 70-100 pages are not that infrequent, a paper of, say, 180 pages might raise some suspicions...

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  • I see there are two conflicting Guidelines for the writing of a thesis: the Dean's and the Department of Modern Languages. The former says one thing, the other another thing. So, whose guideline should we follow?
    The Dean's Office issued a Guideline that is generic and attempts to be a "one size fits all". The requirements for graduation papers differ from Department to Department, because so do their methods and style of working. Thus the students in Ethnology often work with massive field data they collected (legends, folk poetry, dialect), which obviously occupy a lot of space. It is customarily for students in Romanian Lit to write ample reviews of criticism.

    The Anglo-Saxon style tends to be more compact. This is why we have formulated our own set of rules.

    And a simpler way to answer your question: who will be the members of your Thesis Examination Board: the people in the Ethnology, or Romanian, or Theology department, OR the Modern Languages Dept?

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  • And if I follow your guideline... won't I get somehow hurt?
    No, because we have realistic common-sense expectations for our students. And we work by those guidelines.
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  • Traditionally our colleagues writing theses in Romanian get higher grades. So, why should I write a thesis in English?
    If your aim is just a high grade and a no-brainer topic, then go for the easiest choice!

    If you really came to study here because of your love for English, maybe you should not betray your love at the last minute.

    So, here are some reasons to choose English:

    - you love the English language and the culture;
    - you intend to be a teacher of English, or a translator;
    - you don't mind the challenge of having to rummage and rake longer for your materials;
    - you plan to proceed your academic career, either by attending a Master's of a PhD;
    - you plan to study abroad; In both these cases, proving that your wrote your paper in English will be an advantage;
    - you know that the teachers in the English Dept really help you in the only way a teacher should help his/her students: by being demanding, by training them for performance, and by reading your paper carefully at all stages of its completion.
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  • How many titles should there be in my Bibliography?
    That again is variable. It depends on your subject. However, a paper with less that, say, 15 titles will appear to be poorly documented.

    The average number of titles in the Bibliography tends to be around 30.

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  • Should the thesis show that (A) I have read many books or (B) I have original ideas about a certain theme?
    A is a precondition of B.

    A show-off of your reading skills might be ridiculous if you ultimately have nothing to say.

    On the other hand, having original ideas without having reviewed the bibliography might appear as arrogant.

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  • I heard that one has to start thinking about one's thesis well in advance. Is that true? If so, how long in advance..?>
    Ideally, you should have an idea about your thesis in the summer before your final year. Yeah, that's one year before the actual completion of your thesis.

    If you start early enough, you will have the whole summer to read the author's works and start exploring the possible issues you might talk about.

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  • My "ideal" bibliography is full of titles I cannot find locally. How can I procure such hard-to-find books?
    There are several ways:

    1. Check the availability of the book in local libraries.
    Biblioteca Judeteana Maramures has its catalogue searchable online, here

    2. Try the academic libraries in nearby Cluj:

    3. Try an inter-library load (imprumut interbibliotecar).
    Now that Romania is a EU member state, international library loans are becoming easier to establish and faster to get. To start such a procedure, you need to fill in a form with the staff of the Biblioteca Judeteana or UNBM Library.

    Remember that this may take several weeks, or even months to get the book.

    4. Buy the book yourself from an international library. Now it is possible to buy books on the internet, on condition that you have an online card. Most banks now have on offer such cards. However, remember that they take about 3 weeks to be issued. Some independent info about internet banking can be found on

    If you're in a hurry, you may of course, have someone use their card for you.

    As for the online shop, the best place to start is of course, Still, better check first in UK, as shipping from UK is far cheaper. You should consider about 13-15 euros as shipping fees (postal taxes) per package. Hence it makes sense to either order several books at once, or order together with several colleagues.

    5. (Added 12 June 08): The travelling bookseller from Hungary who exhibited books for sale for two days in May has promised to come back in October or November with more books. As he is actually the representative of a large bookstore chain from Budapest, you may view their offer on the internet here, at They bring every possible book from major western publishers. Their advantage: transport costs are low, you pay just a Budapest-Baia Mare tariff. If more people order together, then I was told that thre transport costs will tend to zero.

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  • Many of my sources are internet sources. Is it OK to use them?
    Yes, as long as they appear to be reliable. Mind that a lot --and I mean a lot of websites contain information that either is unchecked, or was simply stolen from books or other websites.

    And, by the way, the popular Wikipedia is no exception.

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  • How can I distinguish an internet source that is useful and credible from an unreliable source?
    First, it should not contain information that may be found elsewhere on the web in the same form and without quotation.

    Secondly, it should provide the name of an Author, a Title and a Date of Publication as a minimum. Webpages signed with pseudonyms or nicknames are usually not worth considering.

    You should also avoid like pest the so-called "cheat mills", i.e. sites that offer (often against a sum of money) ready-made essays for lazy students. These are the counterparts of "". Such websites are absolutely disreputable, because they encourage internet fraud. Here's our short blacklist:,,,, Remember that these cheat mills are searchable as well --sometimes by means of specialized anti fraud search engines academics may use--, which means that your teacher will be able to crackdown your deceit!

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  • How should I quote internet sources?
    Check a good tutorial on How to Cite Internet Sources at Yale College.

    Basically, internet sources should contain the same elements as any print source, that is:

    • - Author
    • - "Article" (=an article in an electronic journal, an individual webpage)
    • - Title (= the title of an electronic journal, the title of a website)
    • - Date (=usually found as "Last saved" date)
    • - Date when you visited the website (will be placed between square brackets [..] )
    • - Periodicals should also contain a volume and number.
    Here's an example of a review of a book in an online periodical (Guardian):
    Le Guin, Ursula K. "The Real Uses of Enchantment". [Review of The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie]. Guardian. 29 March 2008, Online:<,,2268950,00.html> [30 March 2008]

    NOTE 1: The first date (29.03.2008) is the date of the issue of the magazine; the second date 30.03.2008) is the date when you visited that website.
    Note 2: If you check this website here, you will note that the name of the author is not placed directly under the title, but just "hidden" at the end of the first presentation paragraph.
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  • What if my internet source has no author?
    In most cases the author name is somewhere on the website, but you failed to find it. So, first try harder to find it. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Check if the author's name appears at the bottom of the page. Sometimes modest authors place their name in small print at the bottom of the page, often with the (C) Copyright symbol before it.

    2. In book reviews (=recenzii) such as this, the author's name might appear only in an introductory paragraph (a blurb). "Salman Rushdie's sumptuous mixture of history and fable in The Enchantress of Florence is magnificent, says Ursula K Le Guin". Here the author's name is Ursula K Le Guin, hence Le Guin, Ursula K.

    3. You might have landed on page 2 or 10 of a longer document. In this case you need to navigate to the title page. To do so, hit either "Page 1" (if such a button exists) or the button bearing the title of the whole article, or the "Home" button.

    4. If none of the above produced any result, then there are two options:

    4A. You landed on a cheat mill ("free essay" type of site), where all material, being stolen from elsewhere, is of course anonymous. In this case forget about this source", as it will disqualify you professionally.

    4B. You landed on a personal page or a blog or on a fan page, all of little academic interest. The information there might originate very often in encyclopedias or professional websites. You can check this by Googl-ing a search phrase from the article --member to put it between inverted commas. If the search produces results, therefore if the exact phrase exists in several websites, such as Encarta, Britannica, Websters, then it's obvious that your author has been pilfering around. Advice: abandon this source!

    4C. Your source might be an institutional one. Its contents represents the official point of view of a governmental authority, a publisher, an research institute. Most websites from *.gov or *.org domains belong to this type. Advice: treat the institution as an author.

    4D. Your source is an encyclopedia or dictionary, the result of anonymous collective work. Advice: consider it a legitimate anonymous source. In MLA you do not need to mention its author; in APA you write "Anonymous" instead of the Author's name.

    I will come back soon with some examples.

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  • What if my internet source has no date?
    Be sure you have checked for a less visible position of the date:

    - the bottom of the page, maybe after (C) Copyright, or after "Last updated..."

    - the HOME page of the website

    - the source code of the page. That's a bit more technical. You have to save the page and then open it with WordPad or NotePad. You will see a lot of coded mumbo-jumbo. Search the first 20-30 lines for a date.

    If none of the above has worked, you might then assume that the web page has no date, and then just write n.d. (=no date)

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  • I heard all kind of horror stories about crashed computers, virused data, lost files. Is there any way I could prevent such things happening with my thesis?
    Unfortunately many of such stories are true. You know, there's a saying in the computer world: "the question is not if a computer hard disk might crash but when it might crash"

    Advice 1: Save your file as often as possible. You might enable the Autosave option of Word. Remember however that this only protects you from power failures and not from hard disk crashes.

    Advice 2: Take time to save your file in several alternative locations, if possible on a different medium that your hard disk. Save it on:

    • (A) a second hard disk (if you have one);

    • (B) a CD or DVD. Take your time to burn 2-3 CDs and update their contents frequently; CDs are so incredibly cheap nowadays (0.7-0.8 lei) and so are DVDs (1-1.3 lei), so it's not gonna break your bank. Keep those CDs for you paper only, do not record music or anything else on them. Do not carry them around. Keep at least on of these CDs in a different location (you best friend's house), just in case you house catches fire or anything (God forbid!).

    • (C) a USB storage stick; Remember that USB sticks are so easy to lose or forget in your pants and shirt and get some washing. Don't make your USB stick the only alternative storage you use.

    • (D) a specialized website for file storage. The same way you may store photos on the web, you may store files. Many of these solutions are free of charge. Trey one of these: X-drive, or (2 GB storage space), or (1 GB storage space), or (1 GB space). Considering that your whole graduation paper will seldom be bigger than 2MB --say 5MB if you have pictures in it-- which means 0.002 GB, then 1 or 2 GB is really a lot of space! (It would suffice for 500 to 1000 graduation papers!)

    • (E) emails. Yes, emails! You may simply email the graduation paper to yourself (or to a good friend), and you know you will be able to find it on gMail or Yahoo at any time, from any location.

    Advice 3: Save several versions of your paper. After every major revision or change in the paper, save a new version. Of course you should give them names with incremental numbering that will help you identify the chronology of those versions. Such as: MyPaper_ver.1.doc, then MyPaper_ver.2.doc. Or for smaller versions you may use the software developers' solution: MyPaper_v.1.0, then v.1.1, then v.1.2. The use of such versions is that, if you made a mistake, or an unwelcome change, you may always revert to the previous version. It is also possible that sometimes your thesis supervisor's advice will force you to delete parts of your file that you feel sorry about. If, sometime in the future, you feel like re-using those parts, in order to write a conference paper for instance, then you can always return to those previous versions and use them.
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  • Some former students boast about theses finished the night before. Shouldn't this work fine for me?
    Yeah, if you want to ruin your life / heart / brain / blood pressure / psychic life, yeah, then try this!

    Now, seriously, what if your computer breaks that very night? Or a tooth starts aching? Or you have a headache?

    Writing a graduation paper is a serious business. It's the most ambitious project you have ever carried out. It is meant to prove others --and, most importantly, yourself-- that you have learned something while in school, that you can use your brain for research and creation.

    If you ruin this chance, you might be very sorry, and you might never learn if you were truly able to do it... So, think twice before deciding to let everything for the last minute...

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  • In cazul in care dau un citat dintr-o carte,citat care la randul lui e luat dintr-o alta carte, cum procedez in cazul bibliografiei? Dau cartea din care am luat eu citatul sau cartea initiala din care a fost luat citatul?
    Regula 1:
    Totdeauna sa va referiti la cartea / editia pe care ati avut-o efectiv in mana.

    Regula 2 (corolar):
    Nu faceti referiri la carti pe care nu le-ati avut fizic in mana. Puteti gresi si veti fi prinsi "cu ocaua mica".

    Text original --sa zicem ca-i de Nicolae Balota, intr-o carte a lui din 1991, la pagina 208--:
    "E ceea ce Maiorescu numeste "Forme fara fond" (1890: 43)."
    (Deci ati citit cartea lui Balota, iar de Maiorescu ati auzit de la el).

    Textul dvs.:
    ...Aici putem folosi termenul impus de Maiorescu, si anume "forma fara fond" (qtd. in Balota 1991:208)...

    unde qtd in = citat in
    se mai zice si "as cited in"

  • Am luat niste informatii de pe un forum. cand scriu referinta in eseu, cum fac? scriu de exemplu (Sweet Pie, "Puppy") , sau nu mai scriu numele userului?
    Forumurile se considera o sursa de informatie mai apropiata de oralitate si se vor trata la fel ca informatiile dintr-o conferinta, un discurs public, corespondenta, email-uri, informatii orale, folclor.

    In acest caz:

    1. Nu se trece sursa la bibliografie (mai bine zis, nu e necesar).

    2. Se precizeaza in corpul eseului, sursa, iar fiecarui "informator" i se da numele, cam asa:

    "Date interesante despre atitudinea fata de caini apar pe forumul, unde utilizatorii au diverse opinii. De pilda, cel care foloseste pseudonimul Buldogu_trist zice:
    "Bla bla bla..." (data...)
    Cineva care semneaza Canisul crede ca:
    "Bla bla bla..." (data)
    Data din paranteze este facultativa. In principiu, daca ati anuntat numele forumului si user-ul n-ar mai fi nevoie sa spuneti altceva. Data insa ar fi utila pentru identificarea postarii userului.

  • Daca la Introducere avem page range notat cu cifre romane, in paranthetical reference si in Referece list pastram cifrele romane sau scriem > cu cifre arabe?
    Se pastreaza ciftele romane, fiindca, evident orice conversie in arabe ar crea confuzie cu paginatia cartii propriu zise. Deci: (Barthes xii)
  • Cand parafrazez doi autori care au aceeasi opinie despre un subiect cum scriu in paranteza page range? De exemplu Both X and Y consider that.... in paranteza scriu cu punct si virgula intre page numbers? (231; 542)
    Solutia eleganta:

    Some authors consider that the chicken came before the egg (Richardson 1994; Cheng 1997).
    Solutia mai tehnica:
    Both Richardson (1994), and Cheng (1997) consider that the chicken came before the egg.
    In ambele exemple nu am mai mentionat numarul paginii. De ce? Fiindca intrebarea dvs se referea la "opinie", care cred ca ocupa mai multe pagini, posibil un capitol intreg sau chiar cartea intreaga. In aceste cazuri am socotit ca referinta indica intreaga carte, nemaifiind nevoie de pagina specifica.
  • Cand vreau sa folosesc un citat dintr-o carte cum il recunosc (ar fi ceva de genul citat in citat)? De exemplu, sa zicem ca Ion Negoitescu are in cartea sa un citat din Mihai Eminescu. Eu cum recunosc citatul din Eminescu? Scriu " Eminescu states that.... (as discussed in Ion Negoitescu)"?
    Eminescu states that: "gop gop erio penjkljkl"... (qtd. in Negoitescu 1997:32)
    Ideea este ca niciodata in referintele parentetice sa nu aveti nume care sa nu se regaseasca in Bibliografie.
  • Daca am articole luate de pe internet, dar nu au autor unde le asez in reference list? Le las la sfarsit sau le pun in ordine alfabetica dupa titlul articolului?
    In primul rand in 85% din cazuri, cand un student spune ca articolul nu a re autor, acesta este de fapt prezent in alta parte a website-ului. De verificat:
    1. Partea de jos a paginii (derulati pana la capat);
    2. Pagina de la nivel imediat superior (pentru a naviga acolo, stergeti ultima parte din adresa de internet pana la primul slash "/", socotind de la dreapta la stanga);
    3. Pagina de Home;
    4. Header-ul invizibil al paginii de web (pentru a-l vedea, salvati fisierul si deschideti-l in NotePad sau Wordpad, si cautati in partea de cod html de la inceput orice ar semana cu un nume).
    Daca pagina de web pare sa reprezinte punctul de vedere al unei institutii (Academie, parlament, revista, universitate, ONG), atunci aceata institutie va fi trecuta pe post de Nume Autor.

    Daca nu gasiti totusi nici un nume, atunci veti avea in mod cert un "Articol" (numele paginii de net), sau un Titlu (resursa de web generala). Acest titlu sau articol devine primul element dupa care veti alfabetiza totul (omitand insa articolele A, An, The sau prepozitiile "slabe" gen "On" sau "About". Iata un exemplu cu ordonarea a 4 titluri fictive:

    Cheng, M. Metode de cercetare in psihologie

    "Chestionarul psihologic". 2007. Online available: http://.... [27.06.2008]

    "Creativitate, Despre"

    Cuceu, F. "Bateriile de teste psihologice". Revista de psihologie....

  • Daca am doi autori la acelasi articol in parantethical reference scriu (Jones and Williams) sau (Jones & Williams)?
    Merge cu "&" (Jones & Williams) in parenthetical reference.

    In schimb in Bibliografie se scrie "and":

    Jones, Patrick, and Williams Alma.
    Al doilea nume nu se mai inverseaza, fiindca el oricum nu conteaza in momentul cand ordonati totul alfabetizat.
    In Argument ce trebuie sa scriu? De ce am ales aceasta tema si care ar fi my thesis, nu? Ca am auzit tot felul de pareri, dar am nevoie de una avizata.
    Argumentul, ideal, trebuie sa fei un fel de "Executive summary", adica sa contina toata informatia de care este nevoie pentru ca o persoana neavizata sa inteleaga despre ce ati scris.

    Argumentul nu este nici un "blurb" (reclama pentru o carte publicata pe prima pagina la editiile comerciale), nici un "trailer" ca la filme, nici un "appetizer", nici o caseta pe prima pagina de ziar care incearca sa vanda articolul ingropat in pagina 10.

    Structura Argumentului:

    1. Aria de interes a lucrarii. Autorul sau fenomenul cultural de care va ocupati.
    2. Ce anume latura a operei / fenomenului va intereseaza.
    3. Ce se doreste lucrarea dvs: Monografie, Analiza pe text, Studiu comparativ, Studiu cultural, genetic etc?
    4. Care sunt INTREBARILE pe care vi le puneti in momentul initial. Cu alte cuvinte ce IPOTEZE de LUCRU aveti in minte.
    5. Cu ce metode critice sau de analiza intentionati sa lucrati (gen deconstructivism, gender studies, historicism, postcolonial studies, psycho-criticism, archetypal criticism...)
    6. Din ce zone provine bibliografia pe care o veti folosi (numiti doar 3-4 autori majori)
    7. Care este structura pe capitole / sectiuni a lucrarii. Nu e nevoie neaparat sa dati titlurile capitolelor, e insa important sa spuneti cu ce va ocupati in fiecare capitol.
    8. Se pot include (in partea de inceput) si considerente personale ca v-au determinat sa alegeti tema respectiva.
    Un asemenea argument va fi de sine statator, autonom fata de Introducere. El va putea, la nevoie, sa fie folosit pentru a fi pus online (intentionam sa facem asta incepand de anul asta).

    Argumentul va face pereche cu Concluziile care vor trebui sa arate:

    1. Daca Ipotezele de lucru s-au verificat. Si daca da, in ce masura.
    2. Ce descoperiri ati facut; ce ati aflat in plus fata de ceea ce (nu) stiati initial.
    3. Care este contributia / elementul de noutate / sinteza a lucrarii.
    4. Ce deschideri intrevedeti din punctul in care incheiati lucrarea.
    Am mai auzit ca Argumentul este acelasi lucru cu Introducerea. E adevarat?
    Mda, e parerea Studentului Lenes Generic.

    Cred ca am raspuns mai sus.

    Argumentul e autonom, introduce lucrarea unui public care nu a avut (inca) timpul sa o citeasca.

    Introducerea este deja o parte integranta a lucrarii si reprezinta punerea in tema, prezentarea personalitatii autorului, ori a contributiei lui ,trecerea in revista a bibliografiei...

    Trebuie sa scriem undeva ce am tratat in fiecare capitol? Daca da, unde?
    In Argument. Necesitatea depinde foarte mult de structura lucrarii. Important insa esta ca nu cumva sa dublati pur si simplu Tabla de Materii (Cuprinsul).
    Trebuie sa scriem Keywords sau nu? Daca da, unde trebuie asezate? Pe aceeasi pagina cu Argument- ul?
    Nu. Keywords sunt pentru articole publicate in reviste.
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