You may be required to use quotes in your research paper or essay to support a stance or claim. If so, you should be mindful of this as you read each article or book. Before you begin your research, make sure you have a pack of sticky notes on hand. Anne K. Metcalf, an online essay writer, gives the following advice: as you are reading through each source, you should use a sticky note flag to mark specific phrases that sum up a point very well.
Next, when you begin to piece your paper together, you can go back to flagged pages and find the supporting quotes you need to incorporate into your work.
Below is an excerpt from President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union Address in 1964. Following the quote is a list of tips for incorporating quotes into your research paper.
The segment above is much too long to use in its entirety; although there is a method for putting lengthy quotes into your research paper (the blockquote), it is not often appropriate to use excerpts of this length to make a point. Instructors see overuse of the blockquote as padding the paper for length.
Instead, you should paraphrase or incorporate smaller, more relevant sections into the flow of your paper.
You must always make it clear that you are quoting your source exactly as written, but there may be times when you want to shorten a quote, because all the original words may not be necessary to make your point. Patricia M. Odell, an essay writer free, emphasizes that you may use ellipses if you want to leave out some words or phrases between desired words:
“It will not be a short or easy struggle . . . but we shall not rest until that war is won.”
All of the words in this quote come from a single sentence, so three dots are used with space before the first and last. However, in the next example, the quote is connecting words from two different sentences. Notice the period after the first part (or extra dot).
“The richest Nation on earth can afford to win. . . . We cannot afford to lose.”
Brackets are used to insert a word of our own to clarify a quote that would otherwise not make sense. You can use brackets to substitute a noun for a pronoun (like he, she, or it) or you can use brackets when connecting two sections with ellipses.
“[The war on poverty] will not be a short or easy struggle.”
“The richest Nation on earth can afford to win. . . . [and] cannot afford to lose.”
3. Using a Signal Phrase
Any time you insert a quote you must make it clear (signal) to the reader that you are about to use words that are not your own. This is simple to do:
President Johnson declared that “Poverty [was] a national problem.”
You signal a reader by introducing a quote with the author’s name and an action word like asserted, declared, posited, opined, said, or stated.
(Also note that the brackets in the statement above were used to insert a word that represents a change in verb tense.)