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Often, the simplest and clearest way to incorporate the ideas of other scholars into your work is to quote their words directly, using single quotation marks (double quotation marks are American), and acknowledge the exact source of the quotation (author, date and page at least) in the text or in a footnote. Quotes can be especially useful if the idea is dependent on a particular formulation, or if the author has come up with an especially good phrase.

The correct way to cite the source will be explained in later sections.


In this example, the author has acknowledged his indebtedness to 'Neville' with a citation in brackets, and has clearly differentiated the words of the source from his own with single quotation marks.

Sausages are one of the most popular barbeque foods in Britain. Unfortunately, as Neville (2005, p.45) has recently observed, 'the majority of barbeque-cooked sausages in Britain are completely ruined: the outside reduced to charcoal while the centre remains uncooked'.

The name of the author of the source does not have to be mentioned in the main text, but must be acknowledged in a parenthetical (in brackets) citation or in a footnote, as in this example.

Few British men appear capable of cooking on a barbeque, especially sausages. As has recently been observed, most barbequed sausages are not only badly cooked but also, 'completely ruined: the outside reduced to charcoal while the centre remains uncooked' (Neville 2005, p.45).

Be careful when quoting to copy the words of your source exactly! Do not change things so that the quote fits neatly into your sentence; if necessary, change your sentence in order to accommodate the quote.

IMPORTANT NOTE While direct quotation can be a useful way of referring to the ideas of other scholars, it should not be over-used, and you should never leave quotes to 'speak for themselves' without providing your own commentary. Essays made up largely of quotations, with little of your own work, are usually marked down.