How to quote in a research paper

At first, you should understand what it means to write a research paper because without this knowledge you cannot create decent work.

A research paper is academic writing, which analyzes a perspective or argues a point. No matter what kind of research paper you are writing your finished work should present your own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information.

Can you use quotes in a research paper and how to use them?

In order to make a research paper stronger, it is okay to add quotations when you need to cite a principal piece of primary source material, strengthen your argument with the help of another writer’s work, or highlight a term of art. It is very important to both use quotations effectively and cites them properly. In this case, you will write a successful paper and avoid plagiarizing.

There are several types of quotations. You can use many ways to present them as well as provide different kinds of quotes in your work.

For example, there are dropped quotes. These are particulate phrases taken from the middle of a piece of text. They should be introduced in a sentence, which will give an idea of the meaning because they cannot form their own sentence. Take a look at the examples:

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”( 263).

Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” (Wordsworth 263).

These examples were taken from a book, so the numbers of the pages where they can be found are mentioned. Note that the first one has only the number of the page in brackets because the name of the author is used in a quote, while the other one has the name and the page in brackets for the reason it does not include the author in the quote.

So, you can see that if you cite an article, the most important is to use the author’s name. If it does not have the author’s name, you go to the title, if the title is not available use the name of the source you found it in.

The second type of quotations is called indirect. Basically, it means you will be paraphrasing. For instance:

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotions in the creative process (263).

You can see that here we do not use quotation marks, and it looks more like your own interpretation of what the author said. You still should mention the page, and give credit to the person. If you want to write a paraphrase, try not to look at the quotation, but keep in mind the idea and create your own sentence.

If you do not want to take breaks or change phrases, you may also use full or direct quotes:

“This fascinating guided tour provides an informative and detailed look at the park’s logistical, technical and operational sides. Included are the parade- assembly area, the waste-treatment plant, and the utilidor network beneath the park” (Sehlinger and Testa 703).

One more type of quotations is block quotes. This writing type may explain the typical question: “Can a research paper start with a quote?” This is a combination of sentences quoted straight from the source. They are usually pretty long and take plenty of space, that is why you do not want to have more than two of them in your paper. The example will look like this:

Scholar Michael Corinaldi makes a similar point about the history of Israel and the Ethiopians:

The Israeli government, however, made no attempt to include the Ethiopians in the waves of immigrants that arrived in Israel, and in some cases, Ethiopian Jews were forced to go hiding lest they are deported by the local authorities. This was based on their considerations of how Jewish the Ethiopians were and how easily they could adapt to their new environment (180).

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Can a research paper start with a quote?

The introduction is the backbone of your argument. This is where you state your hypothesis. So, generally, it is better to start with your own words as of the author of the idea. You may ask then: “Can I start a research paper with a quote?” The answer is yes! Quotes serve the function of providing proof for claims made in your paper. In each supporting paragraph, you are going to have the main idea, and it should be supported by different claims that you are making, in your own words. Wherever it is possible, you want those claims to be supported by quotations or citations.

Can you open a research paper with a quote? There are pros and cons to starting off with something that belongs to someone else. It can lead the audience to expect something unoriginal so you really have to work to show why your ideas are either supported by the quote or can refute it – depending on your aims. If you decide to begin with a quote, better use indirect or paraphrased one. However, you should try to keep it light on quotations in the introductory paragraph; you want it to contain your voice as the author of your paper.

How to incorporate a quote

We have already answered the question Can you start a research paper with a quote but now we will understand how to do it correctly. Take a look at an example of how you can combine your writing with a quote:

Once entering the park, the Cinderella Castle is a heavenly and magical view for all Disney guests to see. Basking in its historical glory, many people are unaware that there are livable bedrooms at the top of the building. “Within Cinderella Castle is a lavish royal suite, built in the space originally intended for Walt and his family. It can’t be booked or even toured. It is currently available for VIPs, special guests and occasional contest winners” (“Magic Kingdom Secrets”).

Can I start my research paper with a quote? Well, following the example above, you primarily write your piece of thought and then you support it with the evidence right away. You can also use some more information and incorporate a quotation it in the following way:

Once entering the park, the Cinderella Castle is a heavenly and magical view for all Disney guests to see. Basking in its historical glory, many people are unaware that there are livable bedrooms at the top of the building. According to WDW Secrets, “within Cinderella Castle is a lavish royal suite, built in the space originally intended for Walt and his family. It can’t be booked or even toured. It is currently available for VIPs, special guests, and occasional contest winners.”

In this example, the name of the source is mentioned, so you do not need any additional information in brackets.

How to format quotes

You have already see how to incorporate quotes, but you still don’t know how to write the quotation properly, so here are the main concerns.

You should understand where to put commas and periods. If you use quotation without mentioning the source or author in the brackets (so-called parenthetical citation), you should put comma or period before the closing quotation mark. But if you use the parenthetical citation, they will go after it.

However, if the quotation ends with an exclamation point or a question mark, you will put them before the parenthetical citation. It may look like this:

You may wonder, “what is the purpose?” (25).

Note that you should put a period after parenthetical citation because then it means your quote is not complete and it is considered a mistake.

If you think the quote is too long, you can omit the text in the middle that you think is not useful, but be aware of showing that you dropped a part with ellipsis points:

“Walt designed the parks so when guests pass from land to land; they don’t see the others… Even the pavement changes to match the new [mood] land” (Walt Disney World Best Kept Secrets”).

The square brackets are the opposite of ellipsis; they help to give additional information, make some minor changes, that can only support the meaning not drastically change what the author meant. You can see in the example below.

The critics mention that “da Vinci’s portrait [Mona Lisa] is of unbelievable beauty” (38).

Do not change words when you are using a direct quote; the text should be exactly the same as in the source. If you want to paraphrase, avoid using quotation marks. Even if the quote has a mistake in it, still copy the full text and just insert [sic] after the wrong word. For example:

Walter implies that “David is much more hardworking then [sic] Calvin” (26).

Can a research paper end with a quote?

It is important to the conclusion, as well as an introduction, to be informative. Quotes are used to enrich your ideas, but they should not substitute them. As long as your conclusion is mainly about your argument, and what you demonstrated, and why it matters, then adding a quote, which is relevant to these themes, is totally fine. Although you should not finish the paragraph with somebody’s words, it will show that you could not come to the result on your own. A lot of aspects depend on the type of research work you are writing, but in order not to go wrong and make a mistake, better avoid using redundant quotations, just to stay safe.

Is it ok to end a research paper with a quote?

Do not oversaturate your text with quotes. Sometimes it may seem like a right choice, and you feel that the quotes will fit perfectly, but you had better use them to provide evidence, not to water down the writing. Remember, your paper should primarily contain your own words, to quote only the most concise and worth remembering parts of sources. There are different standards of how many quotes you can use in your work, but there should definitely be no more than 20 percent. The answer is: yes, you can end a research paper with a quote but bear in mind how to do this efficiently. Also you can write research paper with picture.

Give context to a quote. This is a typical mistake to use some author’s words and not to explain them. Sometimes the idea is only clear to you. A person who reads your paper does not have to work on understanding it; it is your job to analyze and provide a ready solution. Do not think that everyone will understand a quote because you do, always give some explanation.

Try to quote selectively, omit the parts that do not fit but do not forget ellipsis points.

Pay attention to the tense usage. It is not professional to jump from one tense to another, that is when a lot of mistakes are made.

Ask your supervisor about a style of quoting. There are APA, APSA, CBE, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, and Numbered References. The most commonly used is MLA, and it is presented here in the examples.

Be careful not to misquote. Sometimes you may find the words that suit just right and add another meaning to them, but it does not make your work correctly. Do not just take somebody’s expression from one context and put it into another, save the idea, select the quote carefully. If you did not find a relevant quote, better do not use any.

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