In one of my PhD papers I am using a statistical model that is not known in my field, and many readers (including my PhD supervisors) will not be familiar with it. I therefore dedicate a subsubsection of the paper to describing the method. Essentially I restate the mathematics of the original paper and describe how certain variables and parameters ought to be interpreted for the research question under consideration.

In light of recent PhD thesis plagiarism scandals in Germany, I try to be extra careful to make sure the audience understands that I am not claiming any original authorship over the method or even the presentation of the mathematics (which by nature of similar) in my own paper, but merely include because it will be difficult to understand my work otherwise.

How would you recommend going about this?

  • This subsubsection will be 2-3 pages in a paper of roughly 20 pages (excluding all tables and references)
  • Not describing the method accurately and simply referencing the original paper and ask the reader to look it up themselves, seem like a less appealing solution right now.

2 Answers 2


I suspect you're overthinking this. I would just write something like:

II. Related Work

A. Statistical Model

Our work uses a statistical model from X et al [44]. As this model is of fundamental importance in our work, we will present a thorough summary of their work in this subsection.


B. Something Else.

  • Since the statistical model mightn't be related work (I suspect it isn't), I'd opt for: II. Related work and III. Background: Statistical model.
    – user2768
    Nov 5, 2019 at 10:12

You could put this statistic background into an appendix of the paper instead of the main body. Give it proper credit and then nobody should get the mistaken impression that you claim this to be your own work.

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