How to Use Quotations and Paraphrasing


 

How to Use Quotations and Paraphrasing

 

For information on APA and MLA citation styles, click on the links below:

APA Citation Style

Chicago Citation Style

MLA Citation Style

MLA 9 Citation Style

 

Quotations vs. Paraphrasing

A quotation is taken word-for-word from a source text, and the author(s) of the source text must be acknowledged. A paraphrase requires the writer to reword a idea from the source text into his/her own words; however, just like a quotation, the source author(s) must be acknowledged.

 

Why use quotations and paraphrasing?

Writers can use quotations and paraphrasing to:

 

Avoid Hit and Run Quoting

Hit and Run quoting refers to the use of multiple quotations in rapid succession with little or no discussion. This is common among students who, in an attempt to demonstrate credibility and knowledge on a subject, select quotes indiscriminately. Consider the following example:

 

Benjamin Lee Whorf's model "provides a window into the linguistic relativity hypothesis" (232) and serves a means of "... investigating the influence of language on thinking" (245) more generally. Language is not simply "a system of communication" (250), but "a repository of sociocultural knowledge" (251).

 

The example above provides too many quotations and no discussion. By simply regurgitating what has already been written on the topic of linguistic relativity, this hit and run quoting prevents the writer from demonstrating original thinking.

 

In producing an original piece of academic writing, students are expected to coherently incorporate the works of others into their own writing, whether through paraphrasing or in-text citations. Failure do so may result in an incomplete assessment of a topic, unclear writing, or even plagiarism. The best way to ensure that students effectively incorporate the works of others is to remember these three steps:

 

1. Introduce the quote: Set the context

Any time the writer is going to quote a text or paraphrase an idea from that text, it is necessary to construct a context in which the quote/paraphrase can be viewed as appropriate. For example, consider the following example:

 

UNM should ban smoking on campus because of its harmful health effects. As Brandt (2006) notes, "Continued smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke leads to heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema; in addition, smoking can intensify the effects of asthma and other respiratory conditions" (54). 

 

While the first sentence above could serve as a topic sentence in a paragraph laying out the specifics of a proposed ban on smoking, there needs to be more context here addressing the research done on the dangers of smoking. On possible revision could be as follows:

 

Fifty years ago, the effects of smoking were not well documented; however, recent studies have clearly demonstrated the dangers of consuming tobacco. As Brandt (2006) notes, "Continued smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke leads to heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema; in addition, smoking can intensify the effects of asthma and other respiratory conditions" (54).

 

The underlined sentence above effectively frames the quote that will follow. Notice how it says nothing of a proposed ban on smoking--only that smoking is dangerous, which is the main point of the quote that follows. This provides a more appropriate context for the use of the quote, thus making the quote itself more rhetorically effective.

 

2. Provide the quote/paraphrased idea

Once the writer has created an appropriate context, the quote/paraphrase can be inserted.

 

3. Significance: What does this quote/idea illustrate?

After giving the quote/paraphrase itself, it is necessary to provide some discussion of that quote/paraphrase. It is important to discuss what the quote/paraphrase illustrates in order to ensure that readers take away the information that the writer wants them to. While the example above includes an introduction to the quote as well as the quote itself, the writer still needs to discuss the significance of this quote--how it supports (or refutes) the writers claim.

 

Fifty years ago, the effects of smoking were not well documented; however, recent studies have clearly demonstrated the dangers of consuming tobacco. As Brandt (2006) notes, "Continued smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke leads to heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema; in addition, smoking can intensify the effects of asthma and other respiratory conditions" (54). Here we see that smoking is an issue of concern not only to smokers but non-smokers as well. Therefore, UNM should ban smoking on campus in order to provide a safer, more healthy environment for students, staff, and faculty.

 

Here, the two underlined phrases effectively illustrate why the author used the quote. Thus, using this 3-step process, the writer has effectively presented a chain of causality as follows:

 

Smoking as not dangerous to smokers (pre-1970s) --> smoking as dangerous to smokers (post-1970s)--> smoking as dangerous to smokers and nonsmokers --> smoking should be banned.

 

Click on the links below for more information on the writing process:

Thesis Statements

Topic Sentences

Transition Words