The student-writer can cite another person’s work by either using direct quotations, or reporting through paraphrase or summary. If the writer chooses to quote directly, they should keep the quotation as brief as possible and quote only when it is necessary. It is important to make it clear that the words the writer is quoting are taken from another author by using quotation marks around the author’s words.
In some referencing styles, e.g., Harvard and APA, the three items of information needed to acknowledge a quote within the written assignment are as follows: 1) the author’s or authors’ surname(s) or the name of an organisation or group of people known as the corporate author; 2) the year the source was published and last updated (if it is a digital source); 3) page number(s) from which the quote, paraphrase or summary was taken.
a. In-text citations can appear at the start of the sentence, e.g.,
McCutcheon (2010: 43) argues that academic writing cannot be taught generically, but must be explored as an ‘integral part’ of disciplinary studies.
b. In-text citations can alternatively appear at the end of the sentence, e.g.,
Academic writing cannot be taught generically, but must be explored as an ‘integral part’ of disciplinary studies (McCutcheon 2010:43).
Some other useful expressions can be used to introduce a citation in academic writing:
- According to…,…
- As X states/stated, …
- As X observes/observed, …
- As X points out/pointed out, …
- X claims that …
According to McCutcheon (2010: 43), academic writing cannot be taught generically, but must be explored as an ‘integral part’ of disciplinary studies.
When citing a source with several authors (usually three of more), the student-writer should give the first author’s name, and then use ‘et al.’ which is the Latin term meaning ‘and others’, e.g., Gillett et al. (2009:54) argue that writing is a core capability at university.
The student-writer might want to make some changes to the direct quotations by:
- Omitting words by using ellipsis, i.e., three dots (…) to indicate where they have been omitted. When omitting some words from the quote it is important to make sure that the meaning has not been changed and the sentence remains grammatically correct, e.g.,
Spack (1988: 42) has pointed out that the most important skill a student can engage in is “the complex activity to write from other texts, which is major part of their academic experience.”
- Inserting words by using square brackets [ ] around the inserted text, e.g.,
Spack (1988: 42) has pointed out that the most important [academic] skill a student can engage in is “the complex activity to write from other texts, which is a part of their academic experience.”
- Using long quotations longer than three lines or 50 words by indenting the quotation right and left as a separate paragraph with no quotation marks, e.g.,
Today, digital cameras have practically taken over photography. As Johnson (2010) explained,
Digital cameras now make up 90% of all camera sales at the leading electronic stores. This increase in sales can be partially attributed to the widespread use of email and social networking, which has encouraged the sharing of digital photos (p. 23).
Johnson further noted that, even more than with the shift to digital cameras, the increasing use of phones and iPods that have built-in cameras has replaced the use of film cameras.
For more information on in-text citations, please refer to the following sources: