Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Developing good academic practice

5.4 Quoting

Quoting other people’s words in your writing is often very useful as it can provide authority to a particular argument you are developing and it can also show that you have read widely around the subject. If you are using someone else’s words you need to make it clear to the reader where your words stop and start again and where the words you are quoting come from. Usually this is achieved by putting the words you are quoting in inverted commas and then giving a citation to a particular reference.

For example, if you are quoting something of less than one sentence, you would normally include it within your text:

Taylor (2009) argues that ‘Plagiarism is an academic crime that should elicit an academic penalty’.

or

It has been suggested that ‘Plagiarism is an academic crime that should elicit an academic penalty’ (Taylor, 2009).

If the quotation is more than one sentence it is usually displayed as a separate paragraph that is indented to show the text is a quotation. For example:

‘Plagiarism is the act of claiming to be the author of material that someone else actually wrote. Students have plagiarised book reports, term papers, essays, projects, and graduate-degree theses. Teachers—including college professors—have plagiarised journal articles, course materials, and textbooks. Researchers have plagiarised reports, articles, and book chapters. Although academic plagiarism is not new, what is new since the latter years of the 20th century is the ease with which writings on virtually any topic can be misappropriated with little risk of detection. The principal instrument responsible for the recent rapid rise in academic plagiarism has been the Internet, which John Barrie, a developer of software for detecting Web plagiarism, called “a 1.5 billion-page searchable, cut-and-pasteable encyclopedia.”’ [our bold emphasis]

(Thomas, 2002)

In some examples you may come across, the quotation marks are not used because the fact that the paragraph is indented shows that the text is a quotation. To be safe, it is best to include the quotation marks. If you are unsure, check your course material. The quotation is always associated with a citation, in this case after the quote, but in other cases it could be introduced by the citation as in:

Thomas (2002) describes plagiarism as:

‘Plagiarism is the act of claiming to be the author of material that someone else actually wrote. Students have plagiarized book reports, term papers, essays, projects, and graduate-degree theses. Teachers—including college professors—have plagiarised journal articles, course materials, and textbooks. Researchers have plagiarised reports, articles, and book chapters. Although academic plagiarism is not new, what is new since the latter years of the 20th century is the ease with which writings on virtually any topic can be misappropriated with little risk of detection. The principal instrument responsible for the recent rapid rise in academic plagiarism has been the Internet, which John Barrie, a developer of software for detecting Web plagiarism, called “a 1.5 billion-page searchable, cut-and-pasteable encyclopedia.”’ [our bold emphasis]

Sometimes you may want to omit some text from the quote, in which case you would replace any missing text with three dots enclosed by square brackets […], as in:

Thomas (2002) describes plagiarism as:

‘Plagiarism is the act of claiming to be the author of material that someone else actually wrote. Students have plagiarised book reports […]. Teachers—including college professors—have plagiarised journal articles […]. Researchers have plagiarised reports […]. The principal instrument responsible for the recent rapid rise in academic plagiarism has been the Internet, which John Barrie, a developer of software for detecting Web plagiarism, called “a 1.5 billion-page searchable, cut-and-pasteable encyclopedia.”’ [our bold emphasis]

Anything quoted in text must be included in a reference list:

Thomas, R.M. (2002) New Frontiers in Cheating, Encyclopaedia Brittanica Online. Available from http://search.eb.com/ eb/ article-9389369 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Accessed 24 April 2009).

DGAP_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371