To Quote or not to Quote, that is the Citation!

Citation pic3  To Quote or not to Quote, that is the Citation!

Quotes and citations are essential to any good argument, research paper, essay or forms of written expression. Quotes allow the author to better communicate with their readers.  Quotes help prove a point, emphasis data, prove data, or simply to show the readers where the author is coming from in written work.  There is always who, what, when, where, why and how, that ultimately needs to be considered and decided.

However essential, using quotes can be tricky and hard to do because they always need to be properly cited. It is essential that when a person or piece of work is being quoted that that author is credited for their original work in order to not plagiarize.

What exactly is a citation? A citation is defined a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source). More precisely, a citation is an abbreviated alphanumeric expression embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears (Wikipedia, November 6, 2014).

Citation pic2Methods to Correct Citing:

1.      Know what citation style to use with the type of paper you are writing. There are several different styles to choose from: APA, MLA, AMA, Turabian and Chicago to name a few

2.      Know what to cite. The following examples require proper citation using an appropriate style manual such as the MLA. These are the main items that require citation.

  • Direct quotes: phrases, sentences, or sections copied directly from a text; cite with quotation marks (use a limited amount of text, not a full text) Learn how to use quotation marks
  • Paraphrased text: sections of your writing that are based on research (not common knowledge) but written in your own words (not in quotes)
  • Facts and Figures: numbers, percentages, and facts that have been collected by an exclusive source (such as during an experiment or poll)
  • Theories, methods, and ideas: any original idea or thought that you find during your research and present in your writing
  • Images, graphs, illustrations: always follow copyright rules when using images, including those you find online

 3.      Know how to cite based on the writing style.  Different styles have different citing methods.  For example in the APA style the correct citing method is:

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author’s last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper (OWL Online Writing Lab, 2013, para. 3)

4.      Know how to cite based on the quote used.

 Short quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by “p.”). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author’s last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

 Long quotations

Place direct quotations that are 40 words, or longer, in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

 Summary or paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.) (OWL Online Writing Lab, 2013)

5.       Know why you are citing.  It’s important to know that if you do not cite and or cite correctly you risk plagiarizing someone else’s work. Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.  Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like penalties, suspension, and even expulsion (Wikipedia, November 5, 2014).

Citation pic1


Wikipedia, November 6, 2014

Lui Post, Citation Style for Research Papers

English Club

OWL Online Writing Lab, 2013



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