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Unit 1:  About sourcesUnit 2: Evaluating sourcesUnit 3: Quoting & paraphrasingUnit 4: Reporting evidenceUnit 5: Referencing

Using quotes effectively

This section gives some hints on the effective use of quotes as well as warning you about some errors to avoid when using quotes.

Academic writing requires you to develop and present your own reasoned and informed arguments and perspectives on particular topics. To help you formulate these arguments and perspectives, you need to consult and draw on a range of recognised sources.

To show that you have really understood the material you have read, you need to be selective about the material you rely on to support the arguments you are presenting and use primarily your own words to integrate the source material into your arguments and conclusions.

This means that you will most often be paraphrasing your sources.

Therefore, when you use direct quotes they need to be:

  • infrequent because they are not your own words - they are the words of others.
  • economical and effective.
  • strategically chosen to integrate, present, build and further your own arguments.

Use quotes to:

  • build, reinforce or further an argument or perspective you are presenting and supporting.
  • restate or encapsulate an argument or perspective in an interesting way - perhaps with an unusual or striking choice of language.
  • lend authority to an argument or perspective you feel your reader may not accept without an authoritative source to back it up.

Want to know more about quoting? Read on ...