What are the best strategies for integrating quotes into your research paper? This post offers 7 tips for using evidence effectively.

1. Decide on the best quotes

As you're reading through the research that you've gathered for your paper, take note of the quotes that you might like to integrate into your work. From there, you'll want to decide which are the best and most useful, since you'll likely have more material than you ultimately need. Some information can be paraphrased or left out entirely.

The best quotes express an idea or point in a way that perfectly captures the situation, concept, or thought. Keep this in mind as you decide which quotes to integrate into your paper.

2. Create quote sandwiches

How do you integrate a quote? You need to "sandwich" your quote within your own words. Never simply plop a quote into your work and assume that your reader will understand its significance. Instead, lead into the quote with your own words and then close it by providing analysis. Here's an example:

Example

In their 2016 study on transportation planning and quality of life, Lee and Sener argue that "efforts to incorporate health [into transportation planning] have primarily been framed from a physical health perspective rather than considering broader QOL [quality of life] impacts." Although planners have consistently addressed physical health and well-being in transportation plans, they have not necessarily factored in how mental and social health contributes to quality of life. Put differently, transportation planning has traditionally utilized a limited definition of quality of life and this has necessarily impacted data on the relationship between public transit and quality of life.

4. Use block quotes sparingly

Unless you're writing a literary analysis in which you need to closely read large sections of texts, you should use block quotes sparingly. Typically, for every quote that you use, you need to supply analysis that is at least as long as the quote itself. So, if you use a block quote, you'll need to provide enough substantive analysis to justify the use of a longer quote.

3. Segment longer quotes

To avoid using too many block quotes, you can segment longer quotes into shorter snippets or sentences. Excise the key words or phrases from the quote and then sandwich those within your own words. Alternately, you can skip parts of longer quotes by removing material and substituting an ellipsis [...]. Here's an example of both of those methods in action:

Example

“The blank spaces of Renaissance books,” Sherman explains, “were used to record not just comments on the text but penmanship exercises, prayers, recipes, popular poetry, [...] and other glimpses of the world in which they circulated” (15).

5. Provide adequate analysis

Every quote that you use needs to be accompanied by thorough analysis. If you're writing a literature paper, you'll need to provide a close reading of the quotes that you've included from literary texts. For other types of papers, you might provide an analysis of what the quote said, but you'll also want to consider how that quote fits into your broader argument.

6. Make your quotes talk to each other

The point of utilizing quotes in your research is not simply to provide evidence in support of your main points. Quotes also represent significant instances of an ongoing scholarly conversation. As a result, you should make your quotes talk to each other...so to speak.

You might do this in a formal way through a literature review or state-of-the-field, but you can also consider throughout your paper how different pieces of evidence reflect patterns, points of comparison, or divergences in the research landscape. Here's an example:

Example

Elizabeth Patton, in her research on Catholic women’s “bookscapes,” contends that the staunchest Catholic families maintained textual networks in which they circulated books that were banned in Protestant England, including copies of medieval devotional manuscripts. Likewise, Jenna Lay claims that “Catholic women resisted any easy demarcation between a Catholic medieval past and a Protestant, reformed present in both their religious practices and their print and manuscript books,” an argument that can be extended to include entire Catholic families, as I will explore below (16). However, despite the fact that scholars such as Patton, Lay, and Jennifer Summit have argued that “we stand to learn much when we determine […] whether the early modern collector of a medieval devotional book was a Catholic or Protestant,” few studies have explored in any depth how Catholics used their books in the post-Reformation period.

7. Include correct in-text citations

If you are integrating direct quotes into your research paper, you'll need to include in-text citations that give proper credit for the borrowed material. You can use BibGuru's citation generator to create your in-text citations and copy them to your document. Be sure to consult your assignment guidelines, or your instructor, to find out what citation style is required.

The bottom line

Integrating quotes into your paper can be overwhelming, especially if you are writing a longer paper. However, if you plan ahead and follow the above tips, you'll be able to incorporate evidence effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions about class presentations

🌸 How do you integrate quotes?

To integrate quotes into your essay, create a quote sandwich. That is, always lead into a quote with your own words and then provide analysis after the quote.

📄 How do you integrate a long quote?

You can integrate a long quote into your paper in one of two ways: through block quotes or by breaking quotes up into smaller segments.

📝 How do you skip part of a quote?

To skip part of a quote, simply remove the unwanted text and substitute an ellipsis like this: [...]. Be sure that the statement retains its meaning and logic.

📐 How do you end a quote early?

If you want to end a quote before its formal punctuation, you can simply provide a full stop or other ending punctuation where you would like to quote to end. However, make sure that the statement still makes sense in relation to the sentences and/or phrases that occur before and after it.

🔏 How do you properly cite a quote?

All borrowed quotes need accompanying in-text citations. You should consult your assignment guidelines, class syllabus, or instructor to find out which citation style is required. Use BibGuru's citation generator to create in-text citations and copy them to your document.

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