Skip to main content

Quotations

If correctly used, quotations can be an important part of your essay or report. Use direct quotations sparingly; most often, you should summarize ideas from other people in your own words. (Remember to provide the citation!) Quotations must be carefully integrated into your writing.

Tip: 

Make sure you include your own interpretation of the research. Too many direct quotations strung together often means that there is little of your own analysis. This will lead to a poor grade.

Indirect quotations occur when you summarize someone else’s ideas and put the ideas into your own words. Even if you use your own words, you must give credit to the original author. Your summary must be followed by a citation indicating the original source of the ideas. Check with your professor about the required citation style. The example below is in APA style.

  • Correct: The popular media often presents modern technology as being created by scientists and engineers who always act in objective and rational ways. Scientists and engineers have just as many biases as anyone else and these biases often play a role in determining what technology is developed. (Pool, 1997).

Direct quotations occur when you use the original author’s exact words. Place quotation marks around the author’s exact words. The last quotation mark is followed by the citation and then the punctuation.

  • Correct: As Pool (1997) argues: “Modern technology is not simply the rational product of scientists and engineers that it is often advertised to be” (p. 9).
  • Correct: It is clear that “modern technology is not simply the rational product of scientists and engineers that it is often advertised to be” (Pool, 1997, p. 9).

Tip: 

For long direct quotations (more than 3 or 4 lines), most citation styles require the quotation to be set off from the rest of the text by indenting the whole quotation rather than integrating it into a sentence or paragraph.
University of Ontario Institute of Technology logo