Quotations in Academic Writing

Writing a successful research paper requires referencing other materials that both support and contradict your theories. This required reading literature which supports both sides of your argument is part of becoming informed with the breadth of the field. Academic conversations are qualified through “balanced” presentation. By using references and quotations in your paper, you provide proof of your knowledge and its legitimacy. Quotes also provide variety to your writing, breaking up your thoughts and boosting your arguments. 

While writing, quotations allow you to add your thoughts to an ongoing conversation (among researchers) on a specific topic, providing additional ideas. 

When to use quotation 

There are several instances that require you to use reference materials. 

  • Quoting sources proves you’ve done your research and grants credibility to your thesis and thought process. 
  • They provide the reader with access to your sources, if they want more information.
  • Referencing your sources shows that you have thought through the assignment and made efforts to gather more information.
  • References support your arguments and concepts, providing them with validity.

Using Quotations in your Work 

  • Quotes should be used to reinforce your statements, but they should also be used sparingly. They are there to support, not to take the place of, your ideas. 
  • Quotes should be inserted where they add something to your writing. Don’t put them in just to take up space. 
  • Only insert as much of the quote as is needed. Don’t paste in a longer amount of text in order to make your paragraph or paper longer. 
  • Introduce and explain your quote and why you have added it to your writing. If the reader doesn't understand why you've included the quote, they will ignore it and your ideas will lose their legitimacy.  
  • If you are paraphrasing ideas from someone else, no matter in what format, you still must reference it. 
  • If something is considered “common knowledge,” it is not necessary to cite it. 
  • Remember to use APA conventions while using quotations 


Include an add-in sentence that introduces and/or explains your quote, to provide your reader with context and interpretation, as necessary. 

Plagiarizing (not appropriately crediting someone else’s words or ideas by using in-text citations, or re-using your own words or ideas from a different class) is considered a form of cheating by most universities because you are not acknowledging other’s original ideas. Most colleges and universities have strict policies. This violation of academic integrity could result in severe punishment by failing your class, academic suspension, or even expulsion.