Using Direct Quotations

Any paper must be based on your own ideas, not numerous direct quotations patched together. The two most important things to remember are (1) to keep direct quotations as short as possible and (2) to make sure a direct quotation includes only material relevant to a point you are making. The following guidelines explain when using direct quotations may be appropriate:

  • The source's original language is unusually vivid or inventive.
  • The direct quotation cannot be paraphrased without a distortion of original meaning.
  • The words themselves are at issue in your interpretation.
  • The direct quotation represents the view or opinion of an expert.
  • The direct quotation reinforces one of your ideas or interpretations.
  • The direct quotation is a graph, diagram, or table.

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