In general, direct quotation should be reserved for passages in the source material that add something to your essay that cannot be accomplished in other ways. The quoted passage may, for example, explain a concept in a particularly succinct and effective manner. One exception to the general rule of using quotations sparingly involves situations in which you wish to make the author’s language choices a point of discussion in your essay – passages from a novel, for example.
When quoting directly, provide your reader with sufficient context from the source material to make the quotation understandable. And be sure that in removing the passage from its context in the source material you haven’t changed its meaning.
Direct quotations must be indicated by the use of quotation marks, and the source of the quotation must be noted. There are a variety of ways for noting the source of a quotation; which method you use depends on the citation style you select for your paper.
Summaries and paraphrases of another author’s ideas can be introduced with phrases such as:
- Griffin argues that …
- Grewal claims that …
- the author questions that …
- the author complains that …, etc.
Summaries and paraphrases should not be constructed by simply substituting synonyms for, or changing the order of, the words that are used in your source. You should seek to identify the important aspects of the author’s ideas and put them in your own words. One of the best ways to move away from the author’s wording is to close the source while writing, perhaps taking a break before writing the paraphrase, so that you are working with the ideas or concepts rather than with the exact original words.
Indirect quotations do not require quotation marks, but their origin must be acknowledged with appropriate citations. Citation is important in order to avoid giving the mistaken impression that the ideas discussed are wholly your own.