APA referencing: when to quote

It is usually best to paraphrase or summarise information from other sources rather than to directly quote it, as this demonstrates your understanding of the information and your ability to apply it to your own work.

It may be more appropriate to quote directly from the text if:

  • The phrase is unusual and would have less impact if paraphrased
  • You want to use the quote to demonstrate or support your argument
How to quote

When you are quoting another person word for word you should distinguish their words from your own writing. For a short quote (less than 40 words), enclose the writer's words in double "quotation marks" within your sentence:

According to Hogg and Vaughan (2002) "self-esteem is closely associated with social identity" (p. 133) and so feelings of high self-esteem give people a sense of fitting into society.

Separate longer quotes from the body of your text, indented 1.3cm or 5 spaces and double spaced. In this case you do not need to use quotation marks and you should write the page number in brackets immediately after the quote:

Hogg and Vaughan (2002) suggest the following ways in which aggression can be reduced:

In families, parents can raise more peaceful children by not

rewarding acts of violence, by rewarding behaviour that is not

compatible with violence, and by avoiding the use of punishing

behaviour themselves. At the interpersonal level... techniques of

behaviour modification, social skills training, non-aggressive

modelling, anger management and assertiveness training have

been shown to be effective in teaching people self-control. (p.477)

These examples of tackling aggression demonstrate...

If you need to leave out some words from the quote replace them with ... (three dots). To insert your own words into the quote to ensure it makes grammatical sense in your work, write your words in [square brackets] to distinguish them from the author's. In both cases be careful not to alter the meaning of the quote by removing or adding too many words.

Creative Commons Licence
SMILE - APA referencing by Cardiff University Information Services, adapted by Marion Kelt, GCU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://ilrb.cf.ac.uk/citingreferences/apatutorial/index.html