Using information

La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Using information

La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Using information

La Trobe University Library La Trobe Library

Using information



One popular way to integrate sources into your writing is to use direct quotes. To use quotes correctly, you must ensure that each of your quotations has a specific purpose, such as:

  • highlighting a point of view
  • presenting an opposite perspective
  • providing a supporting argument
  • discussing implications

Use direct quotes very sparingly as they do not demonstrate that you have really understood the material:

  • direct quotes should be integrated grammatically into your sentence
  • always surround the quote with quotation marks
  • make sure the words are added exactly as they were written in the original
  • always include a page number in the reference for a quote

Only use direct quotations for:

  • a particularly effective, powerful or controversial statement; a definition or part of a definition (especially a technical one); or a specific term or expression created by an author.
  • Sample direct quote:

This corresponds with the findings of Lange and Fenwick (2008, p. 52), where small business owner-operators embrace a worldview where they perceive they have responsibilities to the community” (2012, p. 13).  This quote includes a reference to yet other work which should be copied exactly as in the original AND included in your own reference list.

  • Partial direct quote used in a sentence:

Lange and Fenwick also found a strong belief among small business managers that they “have responsibilities to the community” (2012, p. 13).

  • Using a conversational statement in a quote:

Nurses need to be able to communicate well.  It has even been suggested that “all nurses need a master’s degree in English grammar” (Zilm, 2009, p. 34).

  • Using a quote for a definition:

Values are fundamental to social work practice and are defined as “the customs, standard of conduct and principles considered desirable by a culture, a group of people, or an individual” (Barker, 1995, cited in Netting, Kettner, & McMurtry, 1998, p. 329).  Note how the original author (Barker) and secondary source (Netting et al) are referenced.

  • Using a quote because the author liked the expression:

Nursing researchers had argued that intuition uses processes which were “hard-wired through evolution” (Effken, 2001, p. 58).

  • If quoting three lines or more, don’t use quotation marks but block-indent the whole quotation in from the margin:

Miller (1992, p. 86) emphasises the ongoing importance of the Revolution:

The Revolution of 1688-89 was …. of great importance for the history of liberty, in England and elsewhere. Later generations saw it as the cornerstone of their liberties – an MP referred to the Bill of Rights as “our original contract” as early as 1690 (Grey 1769, pp. 75-76) -- and used it to validate their claims for greater liberty.