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Using Evidence: Quotation

Basics of Quoting Other Writing

In most social science disciplines, you will use direct quotations only sparingly. Use a direct quotation only if the exact phrasing of the original material is crucial to your point. If you can paraphrase the idea in your own words, do so.

Use quotation marks around the words you are borrowing directly from another source. For longer passages, use block quotations.

Example: Samson (2010) stated, “Mirror neurons allow for imitation and empathy” (p. 214).

For more examples of integrating quotations into your own sentences along with guidance on punctuation and capitalization of quotations, please visit our page on Quotation Marks.

In order for a reader to understand the impact of a direct quotation or paraphrased source material, you should work to integrate your evidence into your paragraph's overall discussion. A strong way to integrate source material is to use transitions. As you integrate sources, you will also often begin analyzing the evidence

Citations for Direct Quotations

Every direct quotation citation should be incorporated into the paragraph with quotation marks. This means every direct quotation should have the following:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Page (p.) or paragraph (para.) number
  • Quotation marks

In APA, in order to best incorporate your direct quotations, pay close attention the punctuation:

  1. Your page or paragraph number should always have a period, with no space between the p. or para. and the period.
  2. Citations for direct quotes should always come directly after the quotation marks end. Per APA 6.03, "cite the source in parentheses immediately after the quotation marks, and continue the sentence" (APA, 2010, p. 171).

Correct citation: Christensen (2010) regarded the "infiltration of only red light" (p. 32) as a success in the experiment.

Incorrect citation: Christensen (2010) regarded the "infiltration of only red light" as a success in the experiment (p. 32).

Integrating Direct Quotations Into Your Paragraphs

Paragraph With Direct Quotations Not Integrated

Teachers in ESL classrooms need more access to professional development. According to Grant (2009), "The percentage of ESL students in high schools has gone up 75% in the last ten years" (p. 338). Gramber (2010) said, "The scope of ESL education is changing rapidly" (p. 2834). Judes (2008) suggested, "ESL teachers often do not have updated certification." A study found that "Non-native English speakers require a different pedagogy than native speakers" (Bartlett, 2004, p. 97).

In this paragraph, there are several excellent direct quotations. However, readers cannot determine why the author chose to list each of these ideas or how they are connected. This paragraph feels a bit choppy because the author is jumping from one idea to another. By using transitions, though, the author can identify the relationships among the ideas.

Paragraph With Direct Quotations, Revised (Revisions in Bold)

Teachers in ESL classrooms need more access to professional development. According to Grant (2009), "The percentage of ESL students in high schools has gone up 75% in the last ten years" (p. 338). This increase has caused a shift in the tradition training of ESL educators. Speaking of this shift, Gramber (2010) said, "The scope of ESL education is changing rapidly" (p. 2834). With such a fast change in training and requirements, districts often neglect to keep their teachers up to date. Judes (2010) suggested, "ESL teachers often do not have updated certification" (p. 33). However, teachers must have up-to-date techniques and be familiar with the most recent theories in the field of ESL education. A recent study found that "Non-native English speakers require a different pedagogy than native speakers" (Bartlett, 2011, p. 97), thus showing the need for teachers to be current in their training and pedagogy. One of the best ways to accomplish this update and keep educators aware of currents trends and theories in their fields is through professional development.

Note that all the transitions and connecting sentences are in bold. These sentences help to move the reader along from one quotation to another while also connecting the quotations.