Skip to main content

Using Evidence: Lack of Quotation Marks

Lack of Quotation Marks

Another form of plagiarism can occur when an author does not use proper formatting for citations of paraphrased or quoted information. APA asks that authors always use quotation marks around any source's exact words or phrasing. The quotation marks serve as a marker for the reader, showing where exactly the author's voice ends and the source's voice starts.

Here is an example of a paragraph with a quotation that the author has not properly cited:

Student diversity is one variable that must be considered in meeting the academic needs of students (Smith & McTighe, 2006). According to Tomlinson (1991), differentiated instruction is an approach that effectively engages students through different levels and modalities to address the existing academic diversity. Conversely, Tomlinson stated that as a result of a lack of sufficient research, few studies document the effectiveness of differentiated instruction on student learning (p. 19).

In this paragraph, the reader will think that the author has paraphrased these sources' information. In reality, though, the last sentence includes a quotation from Tomlinson's (1991) article.

Here is how the author should format the quoted information:

Student diversity is one variable that must be considered in meeting the academic needs of students (Smith & McTighe, 2006). According to Tomlinson (1991), differentiated instruction is an approach that effectively engages students through different levels and modalities to address the existing academic diversity. Conversely, Tomlinson stated that "as a result of a lack of sufficient research, few studies document the effectiveness of differentiated instruction on student learning" (p. 19).

Now that quotation marks are included, the reader can clearly identify the phrasing that belongs to Tomlinson and the phrasing that belongs to the author.