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How to Quote in a Research Paper

Last Updated: September 30, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 901,497 times.

A research paper can be made stronger through the use of quotations. You may use quotes when you need to cite a key piece of primary source material, strengthen your argument through another writer's work, or highlight a term of art. It is important to both use quotations effectively and cite them properly to write an effective paper and avoid plagiarizing.

how to quote for research paper

Using Different Types of Quotes

Step 1 Understand how to use dropped quotes.

  • Use a complete sentence to incorporate a dropped quote. Ex: As Rembrandt’s skill developed, he began painting landscapes that are “romantic and visionary” (Wallace 96).
  • Use a short phrase to incorporate a dropped quote: Rembrandt’s landscapes are “romantic and visionary” (Wallace 96).

Step 2 Understand how to use full sentence quotes.

  • Use a complete sentence to introduce a full sentence quote. Ex: Over the course of time Rembrandt’s work began to change and focus on different themes, but as Wallace points out: "Rembrandt’s great gift as an etcher lay in preserving a sense of spontaneity while scrupulously attending to close detail” (142).
  • Use a signal phrase to introduce your full sentence quote. Ex: As Wallace states, “Rembrandt’s great gift as an etcher lay in preserving a sense of spontaneity while scrupulously attending to close detail” (142).

Step 3 Understand how to use block quotes.

  • Introduce your block quote with a colon. Ex: According to Wallace: (add a line break here, and then indent the entire quote).
  • Block quotes do not use quotation marks. You have already stated who the author is/what is being referred to in the introduction sentence. Add the in-text parenthetical citation after the period at the end of the quote, though.
  • If your block quote is inside a paragraph, you don’t have to start a new paragraph at the end of it. Simply add another line break and begin writing along the left margin (with no indent). [4] X Research source However, you will need to indent the second paragraph by an extra 0.25 in (0.64 cm) if you are citing more than 1 paragraph. [5] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 4 Understand how to use indirect quotes.

  • Change the structure of the sentence by moving clauses around. Aim to change at least half of the sentence into a new structure, but also make sure that the grammar is correct and the meaning of the sentence is still clear. You can use a thesaurus to exchange words with synonyms.
  • Paraphrasing should only be done if you are certain that you understand the content you are copying. If you are unclear as to the meaning of the quote, you won’t be able to put it adequately into your own words.
  • When you write your paraphrase, don’t look at the quote. Keep the meaning in your head and create a new sentence to match. [7] X Research source

Formatting Your Quotes

Step 1 Know where to place commas and periods.

  • To use a comma, you might structure the quote with in sentence like this: “Yogurt provides beneficial bacteria to your gut,” so it is good to include 1 serving per day in your diet.
  • To use a period, you might structure the quote like this: “Carrots are a valuable source of vitamin A.”

Step 2 Know where to place exclamation points and question marks.

  • Example of a quotation that comes with a question mark: Alice said “but where will I go?” (24).
  • Example of asking a question about a quotation: With so much contention, will literary scholars ever agree on “the dream-like quality of Alice’s adventure” (39)?
  • Example of a question about a quoted question: At this point in the story, readers communally ask “but where will I go?” (24).

Step 3 Use ellipses correctly.

  • Ellipses can be used in the center of a quote to leave out words that you feel add unnecessary length to the statement without adding value. For example: As the man stated, “reading the book was...enlightening and life-changing.” This is done rather than: As the man stated, “reading the book over the last few weeks was not only incredibly enjoyable, but also enlightening and life-changing.”
  • Ellipses should be used only before or after a quote, not both. If you are only use a part of a quote from the center of a selection, it is just a partial or dropped quote. However, keep in mind that ellipses rarely come at the beginning of a quotation. [11] X Research source

Step 4 Use brackets correctly.

  • For example: As scholars have noted, “Rembrandt’s portrait of her [Henrickje, his mistress] was both accurate and emotion-filled” (Wallace 49).

Step 5 Use colons and semicolons correctly.

  • Ex: As Dormer has noted, “his work is much more valuable now then [sic] it was at the time of its creation.”

Quoting in Different Styles

Step 1 Quote in MLA format.

  • Ex: We can therefore ascertain that “Rembrandt’s decline in popularity may have been his dedication to Biblical painting” (Wallace 112).
  • Ex: According to some, “another reason for Rembrandt’s decline in popularity may have been his dedication to Biblical painting” (Wallace 112), but not everyone agree on this matter.
  • Ex: Wallace states that “another reason for Rembrandt’s decline in popularity may have been his dedication to Biblical painting” (112). [15] X Research source

Step 2 Quote in APA format.

  • Ex: As Billy’s character is described, we learn “Billy wasn’t a Catholic, even though he grew up with a ghastly crucifix on his wall” (Vonnegut 1969).
  • Ex: Vonnegut gives a factual statement with a clear opinion thrown in when he says “Billy wasn’t a Catholic, even though he grew up with a ghastly crucifix on his wall” (1969).
  • Ex: With the knowledge that “Billy wasn’t a Catholic, even though he grew up with a ghastly crucifix on his wall” (Vonnegut 1969), we begin to understand his philosophical standings.

Step 3 Quote in Chicago style.

Quoting Successfully

Step 1 Choose the quotations you want to use in the paper with care.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Keep a list of quotations as you take research notes, and star your favorites to return later. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Watch for quotations that are quoted by other researchers again and again. Often secondary material will give you hints to finding the best parts of the primary sources. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Quote the opposition so that you can directly pick apart their argument. It's easier to argue against someone if you're using exactly what they said and pointing out its flaws. Otherwise, the opposition can claim that you simply twisted their meaning. Rely on their words and attack directly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to quote for research paper

  • Don't let a research paper become a sea of he-said, she-said. While you want to set up the arguments that have been made on both sides in the past, you also want to make a compelling argument for yourself. Rephrasing, re-organizing an argument, and synthesizing different arguments in your own words makes it clear that you understand what you've researched and makes the paper interesting to read. The reader is searching for a new way to understand the research or a new idea. Too many quotes tend to bury the lead. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't rely too heavily on one source. It's easy to fall in love with a single book when doing research, particularly if there aren't a lot of books on the subject and one author particularly agrees with you. Try to limit how much you quote that author, particularly if a lot of your argument is relying on his or her groundwork already. Look for quotations that complement or challenge that person, and provide your own analysis. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't be a sloppy note-taker. Unfortunately, accidental plagiarism is all too common, and it has serious consequences. You may not have meant to plagiarize, but if you write someone else's words down without indicating that you are using a direct quotation, you are plagiarizing whether it was intentional or not (after all, merely relying on lecture notes and not on your own research is lazy and not acknowledging direct quotes as you take notes from texts reflects poor organization). Always indicate quotations in your notes. It's also better to write down a lot of quotations and then paraphrase them later than to write down a paraphrased version. The danger here, particularly if you don't alter the quote much, is that you'll unwittingly change it back to the quotation later, in revision. It's better to have the original right in front of you. If you find yourself unable to choose better language, just quote it properly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Write a Research Paper

  • ↑ https://midway.libguides.com/c.php?g=1100261&p=8025172
  • ↑ https://facultyweb.ivcc.edu/rrambo/eng1001/quotes.htm
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_formatting_quotations.html
  • ↑ http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/engl402/cited.htm
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/punctuation/quotation_marks/index.html
  • ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QPA_paraphrase2.html
  • ↑ http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/ellipses.html
  • ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/mla-quotation-punctuation
  • ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/mlacitation/intext
  • ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03/
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/quotations
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/quoting-paraphrasing-summarizing
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/quotations/
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/evidence/quotation

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To quote in a research paper in APA style, use in-text parenthetical citations at the end of quotes that have the author's last name and the year the text was published. If you mention the author's name in the sentence with the quote, just include the year the text was published in the citation. If you're citing a quote in MLA style, do the same thing you would for APA style, but use the page number instead of the year the text was published. To learn how to quote a research paper in Chicago style, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

In any study of a subject, people engage in a “conversation” of sorts, where they read or listen to others’ ideas, consider them with their own viewpoints, and then develop their own stance. It is important in this “conversation” to acknowledge when we use someone else’s words or ideas. If we didn’t come up with it ourselves, we need to tell our readers who did come up with it.

It is important to draw on the work of experts to formulate your own ideas. Quoting and paraphrasing the work of authors engaged in writing about your topic adds expert support to your argument and thesis statement. You are contributing to a scholarly conversation with scholars who are experts on your topic with your writing. This is the difference between a scholarly research paper and any other paper: you must include your own voice in your analysis and ideas alongside scholars or experts.

All your sources must relate to your thesis, or central argument, whether they are in agreement or not. It is a good idea to address all sides of the argument or thesis to make your stance stronger. There are two main ways to incorporate sources into your research paper.

Quoting is when you use the exact words from a source. You will need to put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite where they came from. For example:

“It wasn’t really a tune, but from the first note the beast’s eyes began to droop . . . Slowly the dog’s growls ceased – it tottered on its paws and fell to its knees, then it slumped to the ground, fast asleep” (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to cite a passage:

  • Choose to quote passages that seem especially well phrased or are unique to the author or subject matter.
  • Be selective in your quotations. Avoid over-quoting. You also don’t have to quote an entire passage. Use ellipses (. . .) to indicate omitted words. Check with your professor for their ideal length of quotations – some professors place word limits on how much of a sentence or paragraph you should quote.
  • Before or after quoting a passage, include an explanation in which you interpret the significance of the quote for the reader. Avoid “hanging quotes” that have no context or introduction. It is better to err on the side of your reader not understanding your point until you spell it out for them, rather than assume readers will follow your thought process exactly.
  • If you are having trouble paraphrasing (putting something into your own words), that may be a sign that you should quote it.
  • Shorter quotes are generally incorporated into the flow of a sentence while longer quotes may be set off in “blocks.” Check your citation handbook for quoting guidelines.

Paraphrasing is when you state the ideas from another source in your own words . Even when you use your own words, if the ideas or facts came from another source, you need to cite where they came from. Quotation marks are not used. For example:

With the simple music of the flute, Harry lulled the dog to sleep (Rowling 275).

Follow these guidelines when opting to paraphrase a passage:

  • Don’t take a passage and change a word here or there. You must write out the idea in your own words. Simply changing a few words from the original source or restating the information exactly using different words is considered plagiarism .
  • Read the passage, reflect upon it, and restate it in a way that is meaningful to you within the context of your paper . You are using this to back up a point you are making, so your paraphrased content should be tailored to that point specifically.
  • After reading the passage that you want to paraphrase, look away from it, and imagine explaining the main point to another person.
  • After paraphrasing the passage, go back and compare it to the original. Are there any phrases that have come directly from the original source? If so, you should rephrase it or put the original in quotation marks. If you cannot state an idea in your own words, you should use the direct quotation.

A summary is similar to paraphrasing, but used in cases where you are trying to give an overview of many ideas. As in paraphrasing, quotation marks are not used, but a citation is still necessary. For example:

Through a combination of skill and their invisibility cloak, Harry, Ron, and Hermione slipped through Hogwarts to the dog’s room and down through the trapdoor within (Rowling 271-77).

Important guidelines

When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components:

  • Introductory phrase to the source material : mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase.
  • Source material : a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.
  • Analysis of source material : your response, interpretations, or arguments regarding the source material should introduce or follow it. When incorporating source material into your paper, relate your source and analysis back to your original thesis.

Ideally, papers will contain a good balance of direct quotations, paraphrasing and your own thoughts. Too much reliance on quotations and paraphrasing can make it seem like you are only using the work of others and have no original thoughts on the topic.

Always properly cite an author’s original idea, whether you have directly quoted or paraphrased it. If you have questions about how to cite properly in your chosen citation style, browse these citation guides . You can also review our guide to understanding plagiarism .

University Writing Center

The University of Nevada, Reno Writing Center provides helpful guidance on quoting and paraphrasing and explains how to make sure your paraphrasing does not veer into plagiarism. If you have any questions about quoting or paraphrasing, or need help at any point in the writing process, schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.

Works Cited

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A.A. Levine Books, 1998.

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How to Quote Sources – Comprehensive Guide With Examples

Published by Olive Robin at October 17th, 2023 , Revised On October 17, 2023

In academia, research, journalism, and writing, the skill of quoting sources is fundamental. Accurate and proper quoting adds credibility to your work and demonstrates respect for the original authors and their ideas. Whether you’re working on a research paper , an essay , or any other form of written communication, understanding how to quote sources is crucial. This comprehensive guide will take you through the ins and outs of quoting, with examples and tips to help you become proficient in citation.

Understanding the Basics of Quoting

Proficiency in the fundamentals of quoting is integral to scholarly writing . This proficiency encompasses the ability to distinguish between primary and secondary sources and the skill of sourcing quotations.

Primary Source Vs. Secondary Source

Before discussing our journey of quoting sources, it’s crucial to distinguish between primary and secondary sources.

Primary Source 

A primary source is direct, firsthand information or an original work. Examples include original research papers, letters, diaries, speeches, and interviews.

Secondary Source 

On the other hand, a secondary source interprets, analyses, or summarises primary sources. It provides commentary or analysis based on primary sources. Examples include books, articles, documentaries, or reviews.

In most cases, it’s preferable to quote from primary sources as they offer the most direct and credible information.

How to Find a Quote Source

Finding the right source to quote is the first step in the quoting process. Here are some tips on how to locate suitable sources:

Online Databases and Libraries

Utilise online databases and library resources like PubMed, JSTOR, Google Scholar, and your university library’s website. These platforms provide access to a vast collection of scholarly materials.

Credible Websites

When searching online, focus on credible websites, such as government agencies, academic institutions, and well-established news outlets. Check for the author’s credentials and the publication date to ensure reliability.

Books and Journals

Physical and digital books and academic journals are excellent sources for quotes. Libraries and digital libraries like Project Gutenberg and the Library of Congress offer extensive collections.

Interviews and Personal Communications

If quoting from an interview or personal communication, ensure you have proper consent from the source. Use these quotes sparingly and only when they add unique value to your work.

How to Quote Sources in a Research Paper

Now that we have laid the foundation, let us explore the specifics of quoting within a research paper.

Inline Quotations

Inline quotations are short snippets of text integrated into your writing. 

Here’s how to format them correctly:

  • Use Quotation Marks: Enclose the quoted text in double quotation marks.
  • Include Page Numbers: If available, add the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
  • Credit the Source: Mention the author’s name and the publication date within or after the quotation.

According to Smith (2020), “Quoting sources properly enhances the credibility of your research” (p. 45).

Block Quoting

When a quote exceeds 40 words or more, it should be formatted as a block quote.  

Follow these guidelines:

  • Indentation: Indent the entire quote from the left margin, typically by 0.5 inches.
  • Omit Quotation Marks: Block quotes do not require double quotation marks.
  • Maintain Spacing: Keep the spacing consistent with the original text.
  • Cite Source: Include the author’s name and publication date either before or after the block quote .

Example: Markdown

Smith (2020) highlighted the importance of proper quoting:

    Quoting sources properly enhances the credibility of your research. It shows that you have conducted thorough research and are building upon established knowledge. (p. 45)

Verifying Quotes

In quotes, especially when dealing with secondary sources that include quotes, it’s wise to verify the accuracy of the quoted material. Take the extra step to go back to the original source to ensure that the quote is complete, accurate, and not taken out of context. This diligence is essential for maintaining the integrity of your work.

Using Ellipses and Square Brackets

Quoting often involves adapting source material to fit within your narrative. When omitting words or phrases from a quote, use ellipses (…) to indicate the omission. When adding clarifications or explanations within a quote, enclose them in square brackets [].

These tools allow you to maintain the integrity of the original quote while ensuring it fits smoothly into your text.

Quoting a Source in An Essay

Quoting within an essay follows similar principles to research papers, with minor differences.

Signal Phrases

Signal phrases are used to introduce quotes in your essay. They provide context and indicate that you are incorporating someone else’s ideas. Examples of signal phrases include:

  • According to…
  • Smith argues that…
  • In the words of…

Using signal phrases helps smoothly integrate quotes into your essay’s narrative.

Paraphrasing

While quoting is a valuable skill, it’s worth noting that paraphrasing—expressing someone else’s ideas in your own words—is another essential technique in writing. Paraphrasing allows you to integrate source material smoothly into your text while giving proper credit. When quoting is not necessary, consider paraphrasing as a viable alternative.

How to Cite a Quote: Harvard Style

Citing quotes correctly is crucial to avoiding plagiarism and giving credit to the original source. The Harvard referencing style is one commonly used for citing sources. Here’s how to cite a quote in Harvard style:

In-Text Citation

In-text citations should include the author’s last name, the publication year, and the page number (if applicable) within parentheses. Place this citation immediately after the quote or paraphrased content.

Example: (Smith, 2020, p. 45)

Reference List

In your reference list or bibliography, provide a full citation for each source you’ve quoted or referenced. The Harvard format typically includes the author’s name, publication year, title of the work, publisher, and other relevant information.

Example: scss

Smith, J. (2020). The Art of Quoting. Academic Press.

The research done by our experts have:

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how to quote for research paper

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Quoting Sources

Even knowing how to quote sources effectively, it’s easy to make mistakes. Being aware of common pitfalls can help you avoid them. Here are some mistakes to watch out for:

1. Over-Quoting

Quoting should enhance your work, not dominate it. Avoid the temptation to fill your paper with lengthy quotes. Instead, use quotes selectively to support your arguments or provide evidence.

2. Improper Citation

Only accurate or consistent citations can lead to clarity and allegations of plagiarism. Make sure your in-text citations and reference list entries match the citation style required (e.g., Harvard, APA, MLA) and follow the prescribed format.

3. Lack of Context

Quotes should never stand alone; they should fit seamlessly into your narrative. Provide context by introducing the quote, explaining its relevance, and connecting it to your main argument.

4. Not Verifying Quotes

Refrain from relying on secondary sources that misquote or take original quotes out of context can lead to inaccuracies. Always verify quotes fromprimary sources w henever possible.

5. Overlooking Proofreading

Typos, missing punctuation, or formatting errors can detract from the professionalism of your work. Proofread your quotes, citations, and the surrounding text carefully.

Best Practices for Quoting

To ensure your quoting is impeccable, consider these best practices:

  • Always attribute quotes to their respective authors.
  • Ensure that the quotes you select are relevant and enhance your work’s context.
  • Use quotes sparingly, with your voice and analysis dominating the text.
  • Double-check the formatting style required by your institution or publication for consistency.
  • Proofread to ensure accuracy in quotation marks, citations, and source details.

Online Tools and Resources For Quoting

Consider using online tools and resources to simplify the quoting process and ensure accuracy. Here are a few valuable options:

1. Citation Management Tools

  • Zotero: A free, open-source tool that helps you collect, organise, cite, and share research materials.
  • EndNote: A reference management program that offers advanced features for organising and citing sources..

2. Online Style Guides

  • Purdue OWL: An online writing lab by Purdue University that provides extensive style guides for APA, MLA, Chicago, and more.
  • CiteULike: A free service that helps you create and manage citations in various styles.
  • Citation Machine: An easy-to-use tool for generating citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, and other styles.

3. Plagiarism Checkers

  • Turnitin: A widely used plagiarism detection tool that helps you ensure the originality of your work.
  • Grammarly: Besides grammar and spelling checks, Grammarly also offers a plagiarism checker for academic writing.

Integrating these tools and resources into your quoting process allows you to streamline your work and reduce the risk of errors in citations and quotations.

In conclusion, quoting sources is an integral part of academic and professional writing. Understanding the nuances of quoting, finding credible sources, and citing them correctly will elevate the quality of your work. Always prioritise accuracy, attribution, and context when incorporating quotes into your writing.

By following the guidelines and examples provided in this comprehensive guide, you’ll master quoting and enhancing the credibility of your research, essays, and papers. Remember that quoting is not just about using someone else’s words; it’s about building upon the knowledge of others while giving credit where it’s due.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to quote sources in a research paper.

To quote sources in a research paper, use double quotation marks, include an in-text citation with the author’s name and publication year, and integrate the quote smoothly into your text.

How to Cite a Quote?

To cite a quote, provide an in-text citation with the author’s name, publication year, and page number (if applicable), and include a full citation in your reference list following the required citation style.

What Are the Key Differences Between Primary and Secondary Sources in Quoting?

In the context of quoting, primary sources are firsthand accounts or original works, while secondary sources interpret or analyze primary sources. Explain the significance of these distinctions and their impact on effective quoting practices.

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Information literacy is more than just the ability to find information; it encompasses the skills to recognise when information is needed and the competence to locate, evaluate, use, and ethically disseminate it.

The ability to effectively incorporate multiple sources into one’s work is not just a skill, but a necessity. Whether we are talking about research papers, articles, or even simple blog posts, synthesising sources can elevate our content to a more nuanced, comprehensive, and insightful level.

In research and information acquisition, locating credible sources is paramount. Whether you are a scholar engaged in academic discourse, a professional endeavouring to remain abreast of developments in your field, or an inquisitive individual plunging into a specific subject, the capacity to procure dependable sources is an essential skill.

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  • How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA

Published on 15 April 2022 by Shona McCombes and Jack Caulfield. Revised on 3 September 2022.

Quoting means copying a passage of someone else’s words and crediting the source. To quote a source, you must ensure:

  • The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you’re consistent) or formatted as a block quote
  • The original author is correctly cited
  • The text is identical to the original

The exact format of a quote depends on its length and on which citation style you are using. Quoting and citing correctly is essential to avoid plagiarism , which is easy to detect with a good plagiarism checker .

How to Quote

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Table of contents

How to cite a quote in harvard and apa style, introducing quotes, quotes within quotes, shortening or altering a quote, block quotes, when should i use quotes, frequently asked questions about quoting sources.

Every time you quote, you must cite the source correctly . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style you’re using.

Citing a quote in Harvard style

When you include a quote in Harvard style, you must add a Harvard in-text citation giving the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. Any full stop or comma appears after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

Citations can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in brackets after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) . Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to Harvard style

Citing a quote in APA Style

To cite a direct quote in APA , you must include the author’s last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use ‘p.’; if it spans a page range, use ‘pp.’

An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative. In a parenthetical citation , you place all the information in parentheses after the quote. In a narrative citation , you name the author in your sentence (followed by the year), and place the page number after the quote.

Punctuation marks such as full stops and commas are placed after the citation, not within the quotation marks.

  • Evolution is a gradual process that ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (Darwin, 1859, p. 510) .
  • Darwin (1859) explains that evolution ‘can act only by very short and slow steps’ (p. 510) .

Complete guide to APA

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how to quote for research paper

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Make sure you integrate quotes properly into your text by introducing them in your own words, showing the reader why you’re including the quote and providing any context necessary to understand it.  Don’t  present quotations as stand-alone sentences.

There are three main strategies you can use to introduce quotes in a grammatically correct way:

  • Add an introductory sentence
  • Use an introductory signal phrase
  • Integrate the quote into your own sentence

The following examples use APA Style citations, but these strategies can be used in all styles.

Introductory sentence

Introduce the quote with a full sentence ending in a colon . Don’t use a colon if the text before the quote isn’t a full sentence.

If you name the author in your sentence, you may use present-tense verbs, such as “states’, ‘argues’, ‘explains’, ‘writes’, or ‘reports’, to describe the content of the quote.

  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • In Denmark, a recent poll shows that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that support for the EU has grown since the Brexit vote: ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Introductory signal phrase

You can also use a signal phrase that mentions the author or source but doesn’t form a full sentence. In this case, you follow the phrase with a comma instead of a colon.

  • According to a recent poll, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • As Levring (2018) explains, ‘A membership referendum held today would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ (p. 3).

Integrated into your own sentence

To quote a phrase that doesn’t form a full sentence, you can also integrate it as part of your sentence, without any extra punctuation.

  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (Levring, 2018, p. 3).
  • Levring (2018) reports that EU membership ‘would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters’ in a referendum (p. 3).

When you quote text that itself contains another quote, this is called a nested quotation or a quote within a quote. It may occur, for example, when quoting dialogue from a novel.

To distinguish this quote from the surrounding quote, you enclose it in double (instead of single) quotation marks (even if this involves changing the punctuation from the original text). Make sure to close both sets of quotation marks at the appropriate moments.

Note that if you only quote the nested quotation itself, and not the surrounding text, you can just use single quotation marks.

  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘ ‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, ‘ he told me, ‘ just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had ‘ ‘ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘”Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had “  (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway introduces his narrative by quoting his father: ‘“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”’ (Fitzgerald 1).
  • Carraway begins by quoting his father’s invocation to ‘remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’ (Fitzgerald 1).

Note:  When the quoted text in the source comes from another source, it’s best to just find that original source in order to quote it directly. If you can’t find the original source, you can instead cite it indirectly .

Often, incorporating a quote smoothly into your text requires you to make some changes to the original text. It’s fine to do this, as long as you clearly mark the changes you’ve made to the quote.

Shortening a quote

If some parts of a passage are redundant or irrelevant, you can shorten the quote by removing words, phrases, or sentences and replacing them with an ellipsis (…). Put a space before and after the ellipsis.

Be careful that removing the words doesn’t change the meaning. The ellipsis indicates that some text has been removed, but the shortened quote should still accurately represent the author’s point.

Altering a quote

You can add or replace words in a quote when necessary. This might be because the original text doesn’t fit grammatically with your sentence (e.g., it’s in a different tense), or because extra information is needed to clarify the quote’s meaning.

Use brackets to distinguish words that you have added from words that were present in the original text.

The Latin term ‘ sic ‘ is used to indicate a (factual or grammatical) mistake in a quotation. It shows the reader that the mistake is from the quoted material, not a typo of your own.

In some cases, it can be useful to italicise part of a quotation to add emphasis, showing the reader that this is the key part to pay attention to. Use the phrase ’emphasis added’ to show that the italics were not part of the original text.

You usually don’t need to use brackets to indicate minor changes to punctuation or capitalisation made to ensure the quote fits the style of your text.

If you quote more than a few lines from a source, you must format it as a block quote . Instead of using quotation marks, you set the quote on a new line and indent it so that it forms a separate block of text.

Block quotes are cited just like regular quotes, except that if the quote ends with a full stop, the citation appears after the full stop.

To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf’s hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more. (16)

Avoid relying too heavily on quotes in academic writing . To integrate a source , it’s often best to paraphrase , which means putting the passage into your own words. This helps you integrate information smoothly and keeps your own voice dominant.

However, there are some situations in which quotes are more appropriate.

When focusing on language

If you want to comment on how the author uses language (for example, in literary analysis ), it’s necessary to quote so that the reader can see the exact passage you are referring to.

When giving evidence

To convince the reader of your argument, interpretation or position on a topic, it’s often helpful to include quotes that support your point. Quotes from primary sources (for example, interview transcripts or historical documents) are especially credible as evidence.

When presenting an author’s position or definition

When you’re referring to secondary sources such as scholarly books and journal articles, try to put others’ ideas in your own words when possible.

But if a passage does a great job at expressing, explaining, or defining something, and it would be very difficult to paraphrase without changing the meaning or losing the weakening the idea’s impact, it’s worth quoting directly.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: ‘This is a quote’ (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarises other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA  recommends retaining the citations as part of the quote:

  • Smith states that ‘the literature on this topic (Jones, 2015; Sill, 2019; Paulson, 2020) shows no clear consensus’ (Smith, 2019, p. 4).

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase ‘as cited in’ in your citation.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate ‘block’ of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

APA uses block quotes for quotes that are 40 words or longer.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. & Caulfield, J. (2022, September 03). How to Quote | Citing Quotes in Harvard & APA. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/working-sources/quoting/

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Shona McCombes

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

Used effectively, quotations can provide important pieces of evidence and lend fresh voices and perspectives to your narrative. Used ineffectively, however, quotations can clutter your text and interrupt the flow of your argument. This handout will help you decide when and how to quote like a pro.

When should I quote?

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). And quotations are only one type of evidence: well-balanced papers may also make use of paraphrases, data, and statistics. The types of evidence you use will depend in part on the conventions of the discipline or audience for which you are writing. For example, papers analyzing literature may rely heavily on direct quotations of the text, while papers in the social sciences may have more paraphrasing, data, and statistics than quotations.

Discussing specific arguments or ideas

Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

“At the beginning of World War Two, almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly.”

If it is especially important that you formulate a counterargument to this claim, then you might wish to quote the part of the statement that you find questionable and establish a dialogue between yourself and John Doe:

Historian John Doe has argued that in 1941 “almost all Americans assumed the war would end quickly” (Doe 223). Yet during the first six months of U.S. involvement, the wives and mothers of soldiers often noted in their diaries their fear that the war would drag on for years.

Giving added emphasis to a particularly authoritative source on your topic.

There will be times when you want to highlight the words of a particularly important and authoritative source on your topic. For example, suppose you were writing an essay about the differences between the lives of male and female slaves in the U.S. South. One of your most provocative sources is a narrative written by a former slave, Harriet Jacobs. It would then be appropriate to quote some of Jacobs’s words:

Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from North Carolina, published an autobiographical slave narrative in 1861. She exposed the hardships of both male and female slaves but ultimately concluded that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women.”

In this particular example, Jacobs is providing a crucial first-hand perspective on slavery. Thus, her words deserve more exposure than a paraphrase could provide.

Jacobs is quoted in Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Jean Fagan Yellin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987).

Analyzing how others use language.

This scenario is probably most common in literature and linguistics courses, but you might also find yourself writing about the use of language in history and social science classes. If the use of language is your primary topic, then you will obviously need to quote users of that language.

Examples of topics that might require the frequent use of quotations include:

Southern colloquial expressions in William Faulkner’s Light in August

Ms. and the creation of a language of female empowerment

A comparison of three British poets and their use of rhyme

Spicing up your prose.

In order to lend variety to your prose, you may wish to quote a source with particularly vivid language. All quotations, however, must closely relate to your topic and arguments. Do not insert a quotation solely for its literary merits.

One example of a quotation that adds flair:

President Calvin Coolidge’s tendency to fall asleep became legendary. As H. L. Mencken commented in the American Mercury in 1933, “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”

How do I set up and follow up a quotation?

Once you’ve carefully selected the quotations that you want to use, your next job is to weave those quotations into your text. The words that precede and follow a quotation are just as important as the quotation itself. You can think of each quote as the filling in a sandwich: it may be tasty on its own, but it’s messy to eat without some bread on either side of it. Your words can serve as the “bread” that helps readers digest each quote easily. Below are four guidelines for setting up and following up quotations.

In illustrating these four steps, we’ll use as our example, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous quotation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1. Provide context for each quotation.

Do not rely on quotations to tell your story for you. It is your responsibility to provide your reader with context for the quotation. The context should set the basic scene for when, possibly where, and under what circumstances the quotation was spoken or written. So, in providing context for our above example, you might write:

When Franklin Roosevelt gave his inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, he addressed a nation weakened and demoralized by economic depression.

2. Attribute each quotation to its source.

Tell your reader who is speaking. Here is a good test: try reading your text aloud. Could your reader determine without looking at your paper where your quotations begin? If not, you need to attribute the quote more noticeably.

Avoid getting into the “he/she said” attribution rut! There are many other ways to attribute quotes besides this construction. Here are a few alternative verbs, usually followed by “that”:

Different reporting verbs are preferred by different disciplines, so pay special attention to these in your disciplinary reading. If you’re unfamiliar with the meanings of any of these words or others you find in your reading, consult a dictionary before using them.

3. Explain the significance of the quotation.

Once you’ve inserted your quotation, along with its context and attribution, don’t stop! Your reader still needs your assessment of why the quotation holds significance for your paper. Using our Roosevelt example, if you were writing a paper on the first one-hundred days of FDR’s administration, you might follow the quotation by linking it to that topic:

With that message of hope and confidence, the new president set the stage for his next one-hundred days in office and helped restore the faith of the American people in their government.

4. Provide a citation for the quotation.

All quotations, just like all paraphrases, require a formal citation. For more details about particular citation formats, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . In general, you should remember one rule of thumb: Place the parenthetical reference or footnote/endnote number after—not within—the closed quotation mark.

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Roosevelt, Public Papers, 11).

Roosevelt declared, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”1

How do I embed a quotation into a sentence?

In general, avoid leaving quotes as sentences unto themselves. Even if you have provided some context for the quote, a quote standing alone can disrupt your flow.  Take a look at this example:

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

Standing by itself, the quote’s connection to the preceding sentence is unclear. There are several ways to incorporate a quote more smoothly:

Lead into the quote with a colon.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

The colon announces that a quote will follow to provide evidence for the sentence’s claim.

Introduce or conclude the quote by attributing it to the speaker. If your attribution precedes the quote, you will need to use a comma after the verb.

Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression. He states, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

When faced with a twelve-foot mountain troll, Ron gathers his courage, shouting, “Wingardium Leviosa!” (Rowling, p. 176).

The Pirate King sees an element of regality in their impoverished and dishonest life. “It is, it is a glorious thing/To be a pirate king,” he declares (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

Interrupt the quote with an attribution to the speaker. Again, you will need to use a comma after the verb, as well as a comma leading into the attribution.

“There is nothing either good or bad,” Hamlet argues, “but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet 2.2).

“And death shall be no more,” Donne writes, “Death thou shalt die” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Dividing the quote may highlight a particular nuance of the quote’s meaning. In the first example, the division calls attention to the two parts of Hamlet’s claim. The first phrase states that nothing is inherently good or bad; the second phrase suggests that our perspective causes things to become good or bad. In the second example, the isolation of “Death thou shalt die” at the end of the sentence draws a reader’s attention to that phrase in particular. As you decide whether or not you want to break up a quote, you should consider the shift in emphasis that the division might create.

Use the words of the quote grammatically within your own sentence.

When Hamlet tells Rosencrantz that he “could be bounded in a nutshell and count [him]self a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2), he implies that thwarted ambition did not cause his depression.

Ultimately, death holds no power over Donne since in the afterlife, “death shall be no more” (“Death, Be Not Proud,” l. 14).

Note that when you use “that” after the verb that introduces the quote, you no longer need a comma.

The Pirate King argues that “it is, it is a glorious thing/to be a pirate king” (Pirates of Penzance, 1983).

How much should I quote?

As few words as possible. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, so quote only the most pithy and memorable parts of sources. Here are guidelines for selecting quoted material judiciously:

Excerpt fragments.

Sometimes, you should quote short fragments, rather than whole sentences. Suppose you interviewed Jane Doe about her reaction to John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She commented:

“I couldn’t believe it. It was just unreal and so sad. It was just unbelievable. I had never experienced such denial. I don’t know why I felt so strongly. Perhaps it was because JFK was more to me than a president. He represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

You could quote all of Jane’s comments, but her first three sentences are fairly redundant. You might instead want to quote Jane when she arrives at the ultimate reason for her strong emotions:

Jane Doe grappled with grief and disbelief. She had viewed JFK, not just as a national figurehead, but as someone who “represented the hopes of young people everywhere.”

Excerpt those fragments carefully!

Quoting the words of others carries a big responsibility. Misquoting misrepresents the ideas of others. Here’s a classic example of a misquote:

John Adams has often been quoted as having said: “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John Adams did, in fact, write the above words. But if you see those words in context, the meaning changes entirely. Here’s the rest of the quotation:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

As you can see from this example, context matters!

This example is from Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press, 1989).

Use block quotations sparingly.

There may be times when you need to quote long passages. However, you should use block quotations only when you fear that omitting any words will destroy the integrity of the passage. If that passage exceeds four lines (some sources say five), then set it off as a block quotation.

Be sure you are handling block quotes correctly in papers for different academic disciplines–check the index of the citation style guide you are using. Here are a few general tips for setting off your block quotations:

  • Set up a block quotation with your own words followed by a colon.
  • Indent. You normally indent 4-5 spaces for the start of a paragraph. When setting up a block quotation, indent the entire paragraph once from the left-hand margin.
  • Single space or double space within the block quotation, depending on the style guidelines of your discipline (MLA, CSE, APA, Chicago, etc.).
  • Do not use quotation marks at the beginning or end of the block quote—the indentation is what indicates that it’s a quote.
  • Place parenthetical citation according to your style guide (usually after the period following the last sentence of the quote).
  • Follow up a block quotation with your own words.

So, using the above example from John Adams, here’s how you might include a block quotation:

After reading several doctrinally rigid tracts, John Adams recalled the zealous ranting of his former teacher, Joseph Cleverly, and minister, Lemuel Bryant. He expressed his ambivalence toward religion in an 1817 letter to Thomas Jefferson:

Adams clearly appreciated religion, even if he often questioned its promotion.

How do I combine quotation marks with other punctuation marks?

It can be confusing when you start combining quotation marks with other punctuation marks. You should consult a style manual for complicated situations, but the following two rules apply to most cases:

Keep periods and commas within quotation marks.

So, for example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.”

In the above example, both the comma and period were enclosed in the quotation marks. The main exception to this rule involves the use of internal citations, which always precede the last period of the sentence. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries” (Poe 167).

Note, however, that the period remains inside the quotation marks when your citation style involves superscript footnotes or endnotes. For example:

According to Professor Poe, werewolves “represent anxiety about the separation between human and animal,” and werewolf movies often “interrogate those boundaries.” 2

Place all other punctuation marks (colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, question marks) outside the quotation marks, except when they were part of the original quotation.

Take a look at the following examples:

I couldn’t believe it when my friend passed me a note in the cafe saying the management “started charging $15 per hour for parking”!

The coach yelled, “Run!”

In the first example, the author placed the exclamation point outside the quotation mark because she added it herself to emphasize the outrageous nature of the parking price change. The original note had not included an exclamation mark. In the second example, the exclamation mark remains within the quotation mark because it is indicating the excited tone in which the coach yelled the command. Thus, the exclamation mark is considered to be part of the original quotation.

How do I indicate quotations within quotations?

If you are quoting a passage that contains a quotation, then you use single quotation marks for the internal quotation. Quite rarely, you quote a passage that has a quotation within a quotation. In that rare instance, you would use double quotation marks for the second internal quotation.

Here’s an example of a quotation within a quotation:

In “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “‘But the Emperor has nothing on at all!’ cried a little child.”

Remember to consult your style guide to determine how to properly cite a quote within a quote.

When do I use those three dots ( . . . )?

Whenever you want to leave out material from within a quotation, you need to use an ellipsis, which is a series of three periods, each of which should be preceded and followed by a space. So, an ellipsis in this sentence would look like . . . this. There are a few rules to follow when using ellipses:

Be sure that you don’t fundamentally change the meaning of the quotation by omitting material.

Take a look at the following example:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus and serves the entire UNC community.”

“The Writing Center . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

The reader’s understanding of the Writing Center’s mission to serve the UNC community is not affected by omitting the information about its location.

Do not use ellipses at the beginning or ending of quotations, unless it’s important for the reader to know that the quotation was truncated.

For example, using the above example, you would NOT need an ellipsis in either of these situations:

“The Writing Center is located on the UNC campus . . .”

The Writing Center ” . . . serves the entire UNC community.”

Use punctuation marks in combination with ellipses when removing material from the end of sentences or clauses.

For example, if you take material from the end of a sentence, keep the period in as usual.

“The boys ran to school, forgetting their lunches and books. Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

“The boys ran to school. . . . Even though they were out of breath, they made it on time.”

Likewise, if you excerpt material at the end of clause that ends in a comma, retain the comma.

“The red car came to a screeching halt that was heard by nearby pedestrians, but no one was hurt.”

“The red car came to a screeching halt . . . , but no one was hurt.”

Is it ever okay to insert my own words or change words in a quotation?

Sometimes it is necessary for clarity and flow to alter a word or words within a quotation. You should make such changes rarely. In order to alert your reader to the changes you’ve made, you should always bracket the altered words. Here are a few examples of situations when you might need brackets:

Changing verb tense or pronouns in order to be consistent with the rest of the sentence.

Suppose you were quoting a woman who, when asked about her experiences immigrating to the United States, commented “nobody understood me.” You might write:

Esther Hansen felt that when she came to the United States “nobody understood [her].”

In the above example, you’ve changed “me” to “her” in order to keep the entire passage in third person. However, you could avoid the need for this change by simply rephrasing:

“Nobody understood me,” recalled Danish immigrant Esther Hansen.

Including supplemental information that your reader needs in order to understand the quotation.

For example, if you were quoting someone’s nickname, you might want to let your reader know the full name of that person in brackets.

“The principal of the school told Billy [William Smith] that his contract would be terminated.”

Similarly, if a quotation referenced an event with which the reader might be unfamiliar, you could identify that event in brackets.

“We completely revised our political strategies after the strike [of 1934].”

Indicating the use of nonstandard grammar or spelling.

In rare situations, you may quote from a text that has nonstandard grammar, spelling, or word choice. In such cases, you may want to insert [sic], which means “thus” or “so” in Latin. Using [sic] alerts your reader to the fact that this nonstandard language is not the result of a typo on your part. Always italicize “sic” and enclose it in brackets. There is no need to put a period at the end. Here’s an example of when you might use [sic]:

Twelve-year-old Betsy Smith wrote in her diary, “Father is afraid that he will be guilty of beach [sic] of contract.”

Here [sic] indicates that the original author wrote “beach of contract,” not breach of contract, which is the accepted terminology.

Do not overuse brackets!

For example, it is not necessary to bracket capitalization changes that you make at the beginning of sentences. For example, suppose you were going to use part of this quotation:

“The colors scintillated curiously over a hard carapace, and the beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello.”

If you wanted to begin a sentence with an excerpt from the middle of this quotation, there would be no need to bracket your capitalization changes.

“The beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Not: “[T]he beetle’s tiny antennae made gentle waving motions as though saying hello,” said Dr. Grace Farley, remembering a defining moment on her journey to becoming an entomologist.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Barzun, Jacques, and Henry F. Graff. 2012. The Modern Researcher , 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gibaldi, Joseph. 2009. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Quoting: When and how to use quotations

On this page, when should you quote, quoting basics, framing your quotations.

Quoting is an important technique used to include information from outside sources in academic writing. When using quotations, it is important that you also cite the original reference that you  have taken the quotation from, as your citations provide your reader with a map of the research that you have done. Making effective use of quotations in your writing requires you to carefully assess the value of including someone else’s own words in the advancement of your own argument.

According to Jerry Plotnick (2002, Director of the University College Writing Workshop) using a quotation is appropriate in the following situations:

1.       The language of the passage is particularly elegant, powerful, or memorable.

2.       You wish to confirm the credibility of your argument by enlisting the support of an authority on your topic.

3.       The passage is worthy of further analysis. 

4.       You wish to argue with someone else’s position in considerable detail. [1]

Research that involves participants (for example, interviews and participant-observation research) also often makes extensive use of quotations in order to foreground the unique voices and perspectives of the participants.

When you quote, you include the words and ideas of others in your text exactly as they have expressed them. You signal this inclusion by placing quotation marks (“ ”) around the source author’s words and providing an in-text citation after the quotation. Direct quotations differ from other in-text citations because they require that you include the page number on which the words can be found in the source text.  For example:

According to scholars of rhetoric Graff and Birkenstein (2014), when you are inserting a quotation in your writing “you need to insert it into what we like to call a ‘quotation sandwich,’ with the statement introducing it serving as the top slice of bread and the explanation following it serving as the bottom slice” (p. 46). [2] This "sandwich" method ensures that your reader can clearly see the source you are referencing and also understands how this quotation supports your overall argument.

When you are quoting from a source that does not have page numbers (such as a website), you will consult your style guide to determine how best to reference your source. For example, both MLA and APA suggest listing the paragraph number or relevant heading.

You quote materials from a source text to support the arguments and ideas you are presenting in your own essay. Therefore, you must introduce the quotation and explain to your reader why you have included it and how it relates to, and helps to build, your argument. This is known as framing. It directs your reader’s attention to the specific elements of the quotation that are most directly relevant to your own arguments and ideas.

Here is an example of a quotation that is successfully “framed” within a text:

Citing the islands of Fiji as a case in point, Bordo notes that “until television was introduced in 1995, the islands had no reported cases of eating disorders. In 1998, three years after programs from the United States and Britain began broadcasting there, 62 percent of the girls surveyed reported dieting” (149-50). Bordo’s point is that the Western cult of dieting is spreading even to remote places across the globe. [3]

Remember that quoting is only one way of bringing someone else’s work into your own discussion. See the SLC handouts “Techniques for paraphrasing” and “Summarizing” for ideas on other ways to incorporate sources into your writing.

[1] http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/images/stories/Documents/quotations.pdf

[2] APA formatting

[3] Example taken from Graff, G. & Birkenstein, C. (2014). They say/I say: The moves that matter in academic writing. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.

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A detailed guide to quoting

Jessica Malnik

Jessica Malnik

how to quote for research paper

Quotations have the power to elevate your written work when used correctly. But in order to use a quote properly, you must give full credit to the original source.

Before you can learn how to properly include quoted material, you need to have a firm understanding of what a quotation is, the purpose for using one, and the difference between quoting and paraphrasing.

What is a quotation in writing?

Quotations serve multiple purposes in writing. Students and professionals alike can benefit from using quotations in their work. Whether you’re writing a research paper or a blog article, you’ll likely find yourself needing to use them at some point. Quoting can add perspective, validation, and evidence to your piece.

What do you mean by quoting?

Quoting is a technique that allows you to include an original passage from a source in your work as a direct quote. You do this by framing or surrounding the quote in quotation marks like this, “This is an example of a sentence framed by quotation marks.” 

However, you can’t just add quotation marks and call it a day. You also need proper attribution for your source. 

Keep in mind that there is a difference between direct quoting and indirect quoting. With direct quoting, you include the source’s exact words framed within quotation marks. 

With indirect quoting, you can paraphrase what the person or text said in your own words instead of copying it verbatim. Indirect quoting, also known as indirect speech or discourse, is mostly used to summarize what someone said in a talk or interview. Indirect quotations are never placed within quotation marks.

How do you properly quote? 

To properly quote someone, you’ll need to follow some general quoting rules along with properly citing your source using your preferred MLA, APA, or Chicago style guide. 

For example, many people incorrectly use punctuation with quotation marks. Do you know whether or not to include punctuation inside the quotation marks?

Here’s how to handle punctuation marks with quotes, as well as a few more rules to consider when including quotations in your work:

Punctuation

As a good rule of thumb, periods and commas should go inside quotation marks. On the other hand, colons, semicolons, and dashes go outside of the quotation marks. 

However, exclamation points and question marks aren’t set in stone. While these tend to go on the inside of quotation marks, in some instances, you might place them outside of the marks. 

Here are a few examples to illustrate how this would work in practice:

“ You should keep commas inside the quotation marks, ” he explained.

She wanted to help, so she said, “ I’m happy to explain it ” ; they needed a thorough explanation, and she loved to teach her students.

It gets a little trickier with exclamation marks and question marks when quoting. These can be either inside the quotation marks or outside of them, depending on the situation. Keep question and exclamation marks inside the quotations if they apply to the quoted passage. If they apply to your sentence instead of the quote, you’ll want to keep them outside. Here’s an example:

He asked the students, “ Do you know how to use quotation marks? ”

Did the students hear the teacher when he said, “ I will show you how to use quotation marks ”?

Closing quotations

Once you start using a quotation mark, you have to close it. This means that you can’t leave a quote open like the example below because the reader wouldn’t know when the quote is over.

how to quote for research paper

Capitalization

The rule of capitalization changes depending on the context. 

For example, if you quote a complete sentence, then you should capitalize the first word in the sentence. However, if you are quoting a piece of a sentence or phrase, then you wouldn’t need to start with capitalization, like this:

She said, “ Here’s an example of a sentence that should start with a capital letter. ”

He said it was “ a good example of a sentence where capitalization isn’t necessary. ”

Sometimes, you’ll want to split a quote. You don’t need to capitalize the second half of the quote that’s divided by a parenthetical. Here’s an example to show you what that would look like:

“ Here is an example of a quote, ” she told her students, “ that doesn’t need capitalization in the second part . ”

What is the purpose of quoting? 

As stated above, quotations can serve multiple purposes in a written piece. Quotes can signify direct passages or titles of works. Here are a few of the reasons to include a quote within your written work:

To establish credibility with the words of an authority on the topic. To share a particularly powerful, meaningful, elegant, or memorable message. To expand on the point or analyze it further. To argue the position of the source material.

These intentions can apply whether you’ve interviewed your source or are taking a quote from an existing, published piece. 

However, before you use a quote, you’ll want to understand how it can strengthen your work and when you should use one. We’ll discuss when you should use quotes and how to properly cite them using different style guides in the next section.

When you should use quotes

Quotations should be used strategically, no matter what type of writing you’re doing. For instance, if you’re a professional copywriter crafting a white paper or a student writing a research paper, you’ll likely want to include as much proof as possible in your work. However, stuffing your paper with a ton of quotations can do more harm than good because the piece needs to represent your ideas and interpretations of the source, not just good quotes.

That being said, quoting reputable sources in your work is an excellent way to prove your points and add credibility to the piece. Use quotations in your work when you want to share accurate ideas and passages from source materials.

You should also use quotes when you want to add emphasis to a source on the topic you’re covering. 

For example, if you’re writing a research paper, then it would be beneficial to add quotes from a professor involved in the study you’re referring to in your piece.

How to cite a quote in MLA, APA, and Chicago 

MLA, APA, and Chicago are three of the most common citation styles. It’s a standardized way of crediting the sources that you quote. Depending on your assignment, you may need to use a specific one when citing your sources.

This section shares how to cite your quotes in these three popular citation styles, along with several examples of each.

Modern Language Association (MLA) is most often associated with academics in English or philosophic fields. With this style of citation, you’ll need to include quotes word-for-word. It’s fine to use only phrases or pieces from a specific quote, but you’ll need to keep the spelling and punctuation the same.

Here are some other criteria to keep in mind when citing using MLA style:

• If the quote goes longer than four lines, you must use a blockquote. Do not indent at the start of the quote block.

• Start quotes on the next line, ½ inch from the left margin of the paper.

• Quotes must be double spaced like the rest of the paper.

• Only use quotations when quotation marks are a part of the source.

• Include in-text citations next to the blockquote.

• If a blockquote is longer than a paragraph, you must start the next paragraph with the same indent.

• Don’t include a number in the parenthetical quotation if the source doesn’t use page numbers.

Here’s an example of a short, direct quote with MLA using a website resource without page numbers:

She always wanted to be a writer. “ I knew from a young age that I wanted to write a novel . ” (Smith)

And an example of a blockquote from page 2 of the source:

John Doe shares his experience getting his book published in the prologue:

I never expected so many people to be willing to help me publish this book. I had a lot of support along the way. My friends and colleagues always encouraged me to keep going. Some helped me edit, and others reminded me why I started in the first place. One of my good friends even brought me dinner when she knew I was going to be working late. (2)

With MLA, the reader can reference the full sources at the end in the Work Cited section. For this example, it could look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, J. (2021). Example Blog Post. Retrieved 2021, from www.example.com

Doe, J. (2021). Book Title One (1st ed., Vol. 1). Example, TX: Example Publishing.

See this article for more information on MLA style citations.

American Psychological Association (APA) is used often in psychology, education, and criminal justice fields. It often requires a cover page and abstract.

Here are a few points to consider when using APA style to cite your sources:

• Citation pages should be double spaced.

• All citations in a paper must have a full reference in the reference list.

• All references must have a hanging indent.

• Sources must be listed in alphabetical order, typically by the last name.

Using the same source examples as we did with MLA above, here is how they would be cited in APA:

Doe, Jane. Example Blog Post . 2021, www.example.com. 

Doe, John. Book Title One . 1st ed., vol. 1, Example Publishing, 2021. 

See this article for more information on APA style citations.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is commonly used in history and humanities fields. It was created to help researchers. Here are a few points to keep in mind for Chicago Style:

• There are 2 types of referencing styles:

    → Notes and Bibliography

    → Author-Date

• The list of bibliography must be single-spaced.

• The text should be double spaced, except for block quotations, tables, notes, and bibliographies.

• The second line should be indented for sources.

•Author last names must be arranged alphabetically.

Here’s how the same example sources used above would be cited using Chicago style:

Doe, Jane. “Example Blog Post,” 2021. www.example.com. 

Doe, John. Book Title One . 1. 1st ed. Vol. 1. Example, TX: Example Publishing, 2021.

See this article for more information on Chicago style citations.

Types of quotes and examples

There are two main types of quotes: direct and indirect.

Whenever you want to use someone’s statement word-for-word in your text, you’ll need to include properly cited, direct quotations. However, if you want to paraphrase someone’s words then indirect quotes could be more appropriate.

For example, say that you’re writing a press release for a company. You could interview different people within the company’s staff and paraphrase their quotes. This is particularly useful if the direct quote wouldn’t work well within your piece. For instance, you could change this direct quote example into an indirect quote that would more succinctly represent the speech:

Direct quote:

“I just found out we’ll be publishing some new textbooks on quotations. That’s so exciting because we’ve wanted to do that for a while now. I really can’t wait. It’s great news for the company, and I’m looking forward to it,” said Becky.

Indirect quote:

Becky says she’s excited about the company’s new opportunity to publish textbooks on quotations.

Keep in mind when using quotations that you should aim for using as few words as necessary. You don’t want to quote an entire paragraph when only one sentence contains the key information you want to share. If you need to add context, do so in your words. It’ll make for a much more interesting piece if you’re using quotes to support your stance alongside your interpretation instead of just repeating what’s already been said.

--> “A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.” -->

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Working with Quotations

Using quotations in a paper.

A research paper blends your own ideas and information from expert sources. It is NOT a series of direct quotations strung together. A common complaint of faculty is that students use too many direct quotes in their papers instead of formulating their own ideas about the paper topic and using quotes rather sparingly as one way to substantiate their point of view on the topic.

Use summaries and paraphrases most often to support your own ideas. Use direct quotations only when the information is so well-presented (or in the interest of clarity, emphasis, or accuracy), that you think the exact language of the source should be used.

Remember that when you do choose to use direct quotations, you need to retain the exact wording, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the original source. And remember, too, that just like when using a direct quotation, you must cite your source when summarizing or paraphrasing.

How to Leave Out Part of a Quotation

Yes, you can leave out words you deem unnecessary in a quotation, but you can't take out words that will change its meaning.

For example, if the quotation is "This movie is wonderful drivel," you can't quote it as "This movie is wonderful . . ." and leave out the word "drivel," since it changes the meaning of the quotation.

  • Deleting Words at the Start of a Quotation - If you are deleting words at the beginning of a quotation, simply start the quotation at the appropriate place to show that words have been left out: The New York Times reports, however, that screening for cystic fibrosis is "quietly creeping into clinical practice" (Swerdlow 66). [MLA format]*
  • Deleting Words in the Middle of a Quotation - To delete words in the middle of a quotation, show that words have been omitted by using ellipses, a series of three periods separated by spaces. For example, the whole quotation is this: "'Human improvement' is a fact of life, not because of the state eugenics committee, but because of consumer demand" (Kevlev 75). [MLA format] If you choose to leave out the middle phrases you could do it this way: "'Human improvement' is a fact of life . . . because of consumer demand" (Kevlev, 1994, 75). [APA format]*
  • Deleting Words at the End of a Quotation - If you leave out words at the end of a quotation and the end of the quotation also coincides with the end of your sentence, place the ellipses at the end of your sentence: Today we have the "Republicans, who are more nationalist than socialist, and the Democrats, who are more socialist than nationalist . . . ." (Smith, 1995, 3). [APA format] If you leave out words at the end of a quotation and more of the sentence follows, then simply work the quotation into the structure of your sentence, without using ellipses: Today we have the "Republicans, who are more nationalist than socialist, and the Democrats, who are more socialist than nationalist," thus confirming the dilemma of modern U.S. politics (Smith, 1995, 3). [APA format]

Adding Information to a Quotation

You can add information to a quotation in order to define a word or phrase, to clarify the quotation's information, or to make a brief comment on the quotation's information. The information that you add always should be brief; reserve your major comments on the quotation's information to be placed after the quotation ends.

Show any added information by placing that added information in square brackets within the quote.  You CANNOT substitute parentheses for brackets, since they carry a different meaning. (Parentheses indicate that the added information is part of the direct quotation itself and not your own.)

For example:

Holmes stated that "The chair on which the body was found was covered in a formerly yellow, now a brownish, blood-stained tabaret [upholstery with satin stripes]" (5). [MLA format]

(In this case, you'd need to define "tabaret" for a general reading public.)

"He [William Dean Howells] was 'fierce to shut out' of his study the voices and faces of his family in 'pursuit of the end' which he 'sought gropingly, blindly and with very little hope but with an intense ambition, and a courage that gave way under no burden, before no obstacles'" (Kirk and Kirk xxxvi). [MLA format]

(In this case, you'd need to clarify the person to whom the "he" refers.)

"Stephen Crane's experience as a journalist [as Berryman affirms] provided the impetus for his fiction" (Walcutt 22). [MLA format]

(In this case, the writer provides a brief comment on the information to let the reader know that two major critics of Crane agree.)

Long Quotations

If you decide to use a quotation that is longer than four lines, it is not put in quotation marks but rather block-indented from the left.

Once again remember that you will need to document or show the source of the quotations you use, so make sure that you have recorded all necessary information about the source.

Using a Quote within a Quote

If you need to quote something that already includes a quotation in it, then place the regular "double" quotation marks at the beginning and the end of the complete quotation, and use special "single" quotation marks for the quote within the quote. It looks like this:

"Blake disposes of Menroy's definition of realism, which he calls 'naturalism in disguise'" (Zwerbe 13). [MLA format]   *Notice the different types of formatting indicated after each example. Be sure to follow the correct type (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) that your mentor or area of study requires.

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7 Tips for integrating quotes into a research paper [Updated 2023]

Tips for integrating quotes into a research paper

What are the best strategies for integrating quotes into your research paper? This post offers 7 tips for using evidence effectively.

1. Decide on the best quotes

As you're reading through the research that you've gathered for your paper, take note of the quotes that you might like to integrate into your work.

From there, you'll want to decide which are the best and most useful, since you'll likely have more material than you ultimately need. Some information can be paraphrased or left out entirely.

The best quotes express an idea or point in a way that perfectly captures the situation, concept, or thought. Keep this in mind as you decide which quotes to integrate into your paper.

2. Create quote sandwiches

How do you integrate a quote? You need to "sandwich" your quote within your own words. Never simply plop a quote into your work and assume that your reader will understand its significance. Instead, lead into the quote with your own words and then close it by providing analysis.

Here's an example of a quote sandwich:

In their 2016 study on transportation planning and quality of life, Lee and Sener argue that "efforts to incorporate health [into transportation planning] have primarily been framed from a physical health perspective rather than considering broader QOL [quality of life] impacts." Although planners have consistently addressed physical health and well-being in transportation plans, they have not necessarily factored in how mental and social health contributes to quality of life. Put differently, transportation planning has traditionally utilized a limited definition of quality of life and this has necessarily impacted data on the relationship between public transit and quality of life.

4. Use block quotes sparingly

Unless you're writing a literary analysis in which you need to closely read large sections of texts, you should use block quotes sparingly.

Typically, for every quote that you use, you need to supply analysis that is at least as long as the quote itself. So, if you use a block quote, you'll need to provide enough substantive analysis to justify the use of a longer quote.

3. Segment longer quotes

To avoid using too many block quotes, you can segment longer quotes into shorter snippets or sentences. Excise the key words or phrases from the quote and then sandwich those within your own words.

Alternately, you can skip parts of longer quotes by removing material and substituting an ellipsis [...]. Here's an example of both quote segments and ellipsis:

“The blank spaces of Renaissance books,” Sherman explains, “were used to record not just comments on the text but penmanship exercises, prayers, recipes, popular poetry, [...] and other glimpses of the world in which they circulated” (15).

5. Provide adequate analysis

Every quote that you use needs to be accompanied by thorough analysis. If you're writing a literature paper , you'll need to provide a close reading of the quotes that you've included from literary texts.

For other types of papers, you might provide an analysis of what the quote said, but you'll also want to consider how that quote fits into your broader argument.

6. Make your quotes talk to each other

The point of utilizing quotes in your research is not simply to provide evidence in support of your main points. Quotes also represent significant instances of an ongoing scholarly conversation. As a result, you should make your quotes talk to each other.

You might do this in a formal way through a literature review or state-of-the-field, but you can also consider throughout your paper how different pieces of evidence reflect patterns, points of comparison, or divergences in the research landscape. Here's an example:

Elizabeth Patton, in her research on Catholic women’s “bookscapes,” contends that the staunchest Catholic families maintained textual networks in which they circulated books that were banned in Protestant England, including copies of medieval devotional manuscripts. Likewise, Jenna Lay claims that “Catholic women resisted any easy demarcation between a Catholic medieval past and a Protestant, reformed present in both their religious practices and their print and manuscript books,” an argument that can be extended to include entire Catholic families, as I will explore below (16). However, despite the fact that scholars such as Patton, Lay, and Jennifer Summit have argued that “we stand to learn much when we determine […] whether the early modern collector of a medieval devotional book was a Catholic or Protestant,” few studies have explored in any depth how Catholics used their books in the post-Reformation period.

7. Include correct in-text citations

If you are integrating direct quotes into your research paper, you'll need to include in-text citations that give proper credit for the borrowed material.

You can use BibGuru's citation generator to create your in-text citations and copy them to your document. Be sure to consult your assignment guidelines , or your instructor, to find out what citation style is required.

The bottom line

Integrating quotes into your paper can be overwhelming, especially if you are writing a longer paper. However, if you plan ahead and follow the above tips, you'll be able to incorporate evidence effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions about class presentations

To integrate quotes into your essay, create a quote sandwich. That is, always lead into a quote with your own words and then provide analysis after the quote.

You can integrate a long quote into your paper in one of two ways: through block quotes or by breaking quotes up into smaller segments.

To skip part of a quote, simply remove the unwanted text and substitute an ellipsis like this: [...]. Be sure that the statement retains its meaning and logic.

If you want to end a quote before its formal punctuation, you can simply provide a full stop or other ending punctuation where you would like to quote to end. However, make sure that the statement still makes sense in relation to the sentences and/or phrases that occur before and after it.

All borrowed quotes need accompanying in-text citations. You should consult your assignment guidelines, class syllabus, or instructor to find out which citation style is required. Use BibGuru's citation generator to create in-text citations and copy them to your document.

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Academic Skills: Writing: Reusing Your Work and Citing Yourself

As you progress in your Walden program, you may find that you research and write about a topic more than once. This is typical as you engage with key concepts and specialize in your field of study. See the information and best practices on this page to ensure you follow APA citation guidelines and Walden policy if you plan to reuse past written work.

Your Published Writing

If you have published your writing outside of the Walden classroom—in a journal or even in a local newsletter or blog—and would like to reuse portions of it or refer to the findings or ideas in that work, you will need to cite yourself.

Follow APA’s guidelines for citing and referencing published works.

Your Previous Coursework

If you are considering reusing your previously submitted Walden coursework in a new course or term, review the following best practice and policy sections.

Best Practices for Reusing Work

  • During your studies at Walden, you may write on the same topic for a second, third, or fourth time; regardless, your writing should reflect new approaches and insights into that topic to demonstrate intellectual growth.
  • Your writing submitted for previous Walden courses will show up in the Turnitin Similarity Report when reused. Contact your faculty if you plan to reuse your work to avoid concerns about possible plagiarism. Additionally, you could cite your unpublished writing (see How to Cite Your Unpublished Work below).
  • Your faculty for your current course can guide you about whether reusing your previous writing seems appropriate for a particular assignment or writing task.

Walden University’s Policy on Reusing Work

The following comes from the Walden Student Code of Conduct :

Walden Students’ Use of Their Own Scholarly Work

  • Students may reuse their work without an expectation that previously awarded grades or credit will attach to the new assignment. Any work previously published by the student must be appropriately cited if reused. 
  • Field Experience Exception: Any assignments or documentation submitted related to field experience (work, hours, client or patient logs, etc) must be new, current, accurate, and relate to clients or patients seen during the term and in direct reference to the assignment.

How to Cite Your Unpublished Work

Although not required in the policy above, in rare instances, you may need to or want to cite your unpublished Walden coursework.

If you cite or quote your previous work, treat yourself as the author and your own written document as the source. For example, if Marie Briggs wanted to cite a paper she wrote at Walden in 2022, her citation might look like this:

Briggs (2022) asserted that previous literature on the psychology of tightrope walkers was faulty in that it "presumed that risk-taking behaviors align neatly with certain personality traits or disorders" (p. 4).

And in the reference list:

Briggs, M. (2022). An analysis of personality theory [Unpublished manuscript]. Walden University.

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How to Block Quote | Length, Format and Examples

Published on April 25, 2018 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on May 31, 2023.

A block quote is a long quotation, set on a new line and indented to create a separate block of text. No quotation marks are used. You have to use a block quote when quoting more than around 40 words from a source.

In APA and MLA styles, you indent block quotes 0.5 inches from the left, and add an  in-text citation  after the period. Some other citation styles have additional rules.

Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered DO haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts HAVE wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I CANNOT live without my life! I CANNOT live without my soul! (Brontë, 1847, 268)

Table of contents

How long is a block quote, step 1: introduce the quote, step 2: format and cite the quote, step 3: comment on the quote, when to use block quotes, other interesting articles.

The minimum length of a block quote varies between citation styles . Some styles require block quote formatting based on the number of words, while others require it based on the number of lines.

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how to quote for research paper

Every time you quote a source , it’s essential to show the reader exactly what purpose the quote serves. A block quote must be introduced in your own words to show how it fits into your argument or analysis.

If the text preceding the block quote is a complete sentence, use a colon to introduce the quote . If the quote is a continuation of the sentence that precedes it, you don’t need to add any extra punctuation .

lawmakers and regulators need to stop pharmaceutical companies from marketing drugs like OxyContin and establish stronger guidelines about how and when doctors can prescribe them. These drugs are often the last resort for people with cancer and other terminal conditions who experience excruciating pain. But they pose a great risk when used to treat the kinds of pain for which there are numerous non-addictive therapies available. (The Editorial Board, 2018)

Block quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks . Instead, they must be formatted to stand out from the rest of the text, signalling to the reader that the words are taken directly from a source. Each citation style has specific formatting rules.

APA and MLA format both require an indent of 0.5 inches on the left side. Block quotes are double spaced, the same as the rest of the document. Some other citation styles also require indentation on the right side, different spacing, or a smaller font.

To format a block quote in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:

  • Hit Enter at the beginning and end of the quote.
  • Highlight the quote and select the Layout menu.
  • On the Indent tab, change the left indent to 0.5″.

Block quotes of more than one paragraph

If you quote more than one paragraph, indent the first line of the new paragraph as you would in the main text.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. (Rowling 1)

Citing block quotes

All block quotes must end with a citation that directs the reader to the correct source. How the citation looks depends on the citation style. In most styles, including APA and MLA , the parenthetical citation comes after the period at the end of a block quote.

A paragraph should never end with a block quote. Directly after the quote, you need to comment on it in your own words. Depending on the purpose of the block quote, your comment might involve:

  • Analyzing the language of the quoted text
  • Explaining how the quote relates to your argument
  • Giving further context
  • Summarizing the overall point you want to make

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Block quotes should be used when the specific wording or style of the quoted text is essential to your point. How often you use them depends partly on your field of study.

  • In the arts and humanities, block quotes are frequently used to conduct in-depth textual analysis .
  • In social science research involving interviews or focus groups , block quotes are often necessary when analyzing participants’ responses.
  • In scientific writing, block quotes are very rarely used.

Avoid relying on block quotes from academic sources to explain ideas or make your points for you. In general, quotes should be used as sparingly as possible, as your own voice should be dominant. When you use another author’s ideas or refer to previous research, it’s often better to integrate the source by paraphrasing .

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Paraphrasing

 Plagiarism

  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Gahan, C. (2023, May 31). How to Block Quote | Length, Format and Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/block-quote/

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Other students also liked, how to quote | citing quotes in apa, mla & chicago, how to paraphrase | step-by-step guide & examples, how to avoid plagiarism | tips on citing sources.

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How To Use Direct Quotations In Research Papers

Posted by Rene Tetzner | Apr 15, 2021 | Referencing & Bibliographies | 0 |

How To Use Direct Quotations In Research Papers

How To Use Direct Quotations In Research Papers When an author directly quotes sources in scholarly writing, it is essential to enclose each quotation within quotation marks or set it off as a block quotation, and also to maintain appropriate and correct patterns of punctuation in every sentence that includes a quotation. Only if the quotations you use are properly punctuated will they be successfully integrated into your text and succeed in supporting your argument as you intend.

The punctuation that precedes a quotation is particularly important because such introductory punctuation helps determine the way in which readers approach and read that quotation within a piece of academic or scientific writing. In some cases, no punctuation at all is needed immediately before a quotation, whether it is embedded in your main text or set off as a block quotation, but this is only so if no punctuation would be required were the entire sentence constructed of your own words. My next sentence provides a simple example. Smith and Jones conducted a similar trial and ‘discovered that over half of the participants could not complete the four tasks.’

how to quote for research paper

In other cases, nothing more than the full stop closing the preceding sentence is required before a quotation, whether embedded or block, if the logic of the quotation naturally follows that of the preceding sentence and can start (or already is) a sentence of its own. My next two sentences demonstrate how this works in running prose, but the second sentence could easily be displayed as a block quotation, especially if it were longer. Thompson read the manuscript very carefully and discovered clear evidence of several early readers. ‘Marginal notes in three different hands appear on most pages, while an earlier hand corrected the text and a later one added drawings that are themselves a commentary on the treatise.’

Often a comma is the correct punctuation to introduce a quotation, as is the case in the following sentence. In an early study of the effects of chemotherapy, ‘patients were shown to recover much more quickly and with fewer negative side effects when they did not receive chemotherapy as part of their treatment.’ Again, if the quotation is long, it can be formatted as a block quotation using the exact same punctuation. Commas are also used to present dialogue effectively, and are therefore common when reporting and discussing interviews: ‘Are you sure,’ the researcher repeated, ‘that you didn’t see anything else before the bridge collapsed?’

how to quote for research paper

In many cases, however, and especially in formal English, a colon is more appropriate than a comma. A colon is often used to introduce scholarly quotations, and it is a good choice when more than one sentence or passage is quoted or when emphasis is required. A colon also tends to clarify sentence structure as well as the line between your own text and quoted passages, so it can improve the clarity and legibility of a complex text. My next sentence provides an example. Question 4 was designed to help us refine our understanding of any limitations perceived by the participants: ‘Was there any task the domestic robot was not able to accomplish due to its size?’ A colon is especially well suited to introducing block quotations, with the colon coming at the end of your own running text and the block quotation following on a new line.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Paraphrase: Write It in Your Own Words

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.

Paraphrasing is one way to use a text in your own writing without directly quoting source material. Anytime you are taking information from a source that is not your own, you need to specify where you got that information.

A paraphrase is...

  • Your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
  • One legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
  • A more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.

Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because...

  • It is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.
  • It helps you control the temptation to quote too much.
  • The mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.

6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing

  • Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
  • Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
  • Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
  • Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
  • Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
  • Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.

Some examples to compare

Note that the examples in this section use MLA style for in-text citation.

The original passage:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers . 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 46-47.

A legitimate paraphrase:

In research papers, students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

An acceptable summary:

Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

A plagiarized version:

Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

A note about plagiarism: This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to deploy any citation. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. However, we acknowledge that plagiarism is a difficult term to define; that its definition may be contextually sensitive; and that not all instances of plagiarism are created equal—that is, there are varying “degrees of egregiousness” for different cases of plagiarism.

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  5. Writing A Research Paper: Discussion

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Quote

    To cite a direct quote in APA, you must include the author's last name, the year, and a page number, all separated by commas. If the quote appears on a single page, use "p."; if it spans a page range, use "pp." An APA in-text citation can be parenthetical or narrative.

  2. 5 Ways to Quote in a Research Paper

    1 Understand how to use dropped quotes. Dropped quotes are partial phrases taken from the middle of a piece of text. Dropped quotes are comprised of only a few words and give no information about the speaker. These must always be introduced within a sentence, and cannot comprise a complete sentence on their own. [1]

  3. Quotations

    Related handout In-Text Citation Checklist (PDF, 227KB) Short quotations (fewer than 40 words) For quotations of fewer than 40 words, add quotation marks around the words and incorporate the quote into your own text—there is no additional formatting needed.

  4. In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining. Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones. If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change.

  5. Quoting and integrating sources into your paper

    Important guidelines. When integrating a source into your paper, remember to use these three important components: Introductory phrase to the source material: mention the author, date, or any other relevant information when introducing a quote or paraphrase. Source material: a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary with proper citation.

  6. How to Quote Sources

    Understanding the Basics of Quoting Proficiency in the fundamentals of quoting is integral to scholarly writing. This proficiency encompasses the ability to distinguish between primary and secondary sources and the skill of sourcing quotations. Primary Source Vs. Secondary Source

  7. How to Quote

    To quote a source, you must ensure: The quoted text is enclosed in quotation marks (usually single quotation marks in UK English, though double is acceptable as long as you're consistent) or formatted as a block quote The original author is correctly cited The text is identical to the original

  8. Quotations

    Discussing specific arguments or ideas Sometimes, in order to have a clear, accurate discussion of the ideas of others, you need to quote those ideas word for word. Suppose you want to challenge the following statement made by John Doe, a well-known historian:

  9. Direct quotes in APA Style

    There are three main rules for quoting in APA Style: If the quote is under 40 words, place it in double quotation marks. If the quote is 40 words or more, format it as a block quote. Cite the author, year, and page number with an APA in-text citation. Example: APA direct quote

  10. Quoting: When and how to use quotations

    1. The language of the passage is particularly elegant, powerful, or memorable. 2. You wish to confirm the credibility of your argument by enlisting the support of an authority on your topic. 3. The passage is worthy of further analysis. 4. You wish to argue with someone else's position in considerable detail. [1]

  11. The Basics of In-Text Citation

    Revised on August 23, 2022. An in-text citation is a short acknowledgement you include whenever you quote or take information from a source in academic writing. It points the reader to the source so they can see where you got your information. In-text citations most commonly take the form of short parenthetical statements indicating the author ...

  12. A detailed guide to quoting

    Quoting is a technique that allows you to include an original passage from a source in your work as a direct quote. You do this by framing or surrounding the quote in quotation marks like this, "This is an example of a sentence framed by quotation marks.". However, you can't just add quotation marks and call it a day.

  13. MLA Formatting Quotations

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  14. Working with Quotations

    A research paper blends your own ideas and information from expert sources. It is NOT a series of direct quotations strung together. A common complaint of faculty is that students use too many direct quotes in their papers instead of formulating their own ideas about the paper topic and using quotes rather sparingly as one way to substantiate ...

  15. 7 Tips on integrating quotes into a research paper [Updated 2023

    7 Tips for integrating quotes into a research paper [Updated 2023] By Amy Mallory-Kani / Feb 08 2023 What are the best strategies for integrating quotes into your research paper? This post offers 7 tips for using evidence effectively. 1. Decide on the best quotes

  16. How To Cite a Research Paper in 2024: Citation Styles Guide

    JAN 2, 2024 How To Cite a Research Paper in 2024: Citation Styles Guide by Imed Bouchrika, Phd Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist Share If you are looking for the best advice on how to write a research paper, the first thing you would find is to cite your sources. In academic research, it is standardized by many institutions.

  17. How to Cite Sources

    To quote a source, copy a short piece of text word for word and put it inside quotation marks. To paraphrase a source, put the text into your own words. It's important that the paraphrase is not too close to the original wording. You can use the paraphrasing tool if you don't want to do this manually.

  18. Quotations from research participants

    Quotations From Research Participants Because quotations from research participants are part of your original research, do not include a reference list entry for them in the reference list and do not treat them as personal communications. For the formatting, follow the same guidelines as for other quotations:

  19. How To Quote Sources In Research Papers

    Whenever material is directly quoted from a source, the text must be formatted in such a way that it is clear to the reader exactly which words are borrowed. When quotations are short and embedded in your main text, they should appear in the font size you are using for your own prose and must be enclosed in quotation marks.

  20. Reusing Your Work and Citing Yourself

    If you cite or quote your previous work, treat yourself as the author and your own written document as the source. For example, if Marie Briggs wanted to cite a paper she wrote at Walden in 2022, her citation might look like this:

  21. How to Block Quote

    Step 1: Introduce the quote Step 2: Format and cite the quote Step 3: Comment on the quote When to use block quotes Other interesting articles How long is a block quote? The minimum length of a block quote varies between citation styles.

  22. How To Use Direct Quotations In Research Papers

    How To Use Direct Quotations In Research Papers When an author directly quotes sources in scholarly writing, it is essential to enclose each quotation within quotation marks or set it off as a block quotation, and also to maintain appropriate and correct patterns of punctuation in every sentence that includes a quotation.

  23. Paraphrasing

    6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the ...