Tips to Improve Your Citation Skills while being a student

All You Should Know about Quotes and Citation Skills

It’s impossible to imagine academic writing without quotes and citations. Frankly speaking, the issue of citation has a lot of details and covers even more tricky points, but we will not go too far. Today we will talk about citation skills necessary for successful academic writing. Working on your essay you may face the situation when you need to reference someone’s work in your paper, and that’s fine, but you must do it in a proper way in order to avoid plagiarism.

Why we use quotes?

The decision to quote is made when the essay’s author feels that some particular passage of the original text lets him/her express and illustrate the idea in a very specific way. If you apply this method correctly, the final result will make you and your readers satisfied.

Quotes from the original text

There several ways to include the quote in your text, the simplest one is to quote directly. It means that you copy the text word for word and use quotation marks to show the beginning and the end. In addition, you have to mention the surname of the author, the date of publication and the page number (if there is one). If you are writing the essay on psychology and want to refer Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray, your quote will look like this:

Gray (2012, p.158) argues that a man needs “to be needed”; otherwise, it is “a slow death” for him.

How to format your quote

The right format is a compulsory point for any academic writing. As we discussed above, the author’s surname, the year of the material published and the page number must be included, but you should also go through your institution’s rules and check whether put a comma or a colon before the quote and the necessary quotation marks – single ‘…’ or double “…”

Short and long quotes

Keep in my mind that you may happen to deal with short and long quotes. We gave the example of the former a little bit earlier, so now we should pay some attention to the latter. We will not switch to another author and stay with John Gray:

“If we are to feel the positive feelings of love, happiness, trust, and gratitude, we periodically also have to feel anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow”. (Gray, 2012, p.261)

After that, you may have a question of the author’s name, or rather, its place – inside or outside the brackets. The difference lies in the fact that in the first example the author’s name was used in our own sentence with the short quote. Considering the page number, you should include it if you quote directly and if you paraphrase and summarize some particular idea.  In the cases when you consider the content or key idea of the book as a whole, there is no need to cite the page number.

Choose the right reporting verb

It doesn’t matter what reference you will decide to use – quote, paraphrase or summary, you will most likely have to deal with reporting verbs. These verbs may look almost identical or very similar, but all of them have some differences in meaning or use. While choosing the most suitable option pay attention to that – reporting verbs can indicate strength, weakness or neutrality, and you may apply them both to your own point of view and the writer’s thoughts.