Direct Quotations & Paraphrased Citations

Two Types of Citations

There are two main types of in-text citations: paraphrased citations and direct quotations.

(Sometimes summary is included as a citation style too, but summary can be described as one version of a paraphrased citation. )

We will review both main citation types here and take a look at some examples.

Paraphrased Citations

To create a paraphrased citation, you give credit to the original source for the idea but you phrase the idea in your own language. Here is an example. 

Sample Paraphrased Citation
In “Are Selfies a Sign of Narcissism and Psychopathy?” Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D. argues that studies on social media use show that certain mental health problems are directly correlated with the both the frequency that people post selfies and the amount of editing people do before posting.

It’s important that the language in a paraphrased citation be entirely original with you, the writer of the essay. It’s not enough to just move the order of the words around in a sentence. 

  • In paraphrasing, we borrow ideas from a research source and re-write or re-phrase the language.
  • (So, we do not borrow the language from the original in a paraphrased citation.)

Direct Quotations

To create a direct quotation (the most common type of in-text citation), you provide credit to the original source and you present language exactly as it appears in the original text. Place this language inside quotation marks. Here is an example. 

Sample Direct Quotation
Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., an expert in cyberpsychology, reports in particular that “narcissists are more likely to show off with selfies and make extra effort to look their best in these photos.” 

It’s important to make sure that nothing within the quote is changed when we put it into our paper. Spelling, capitalization, and every little thing needs to stay exactly as it was in the original text. 

  • Use quotation marks to indicate that everything between the Open Quote and the Close Quote is presented exactly as it appeared in the original source.

More Sample Direct Quotations
Neuroscience researchers studying depression conducted a study examining 43,950 photos from 166 users on Instagram and found that “Depressed people have a tendency to post (literally) darker pictures” (Danforth). Danforth’s study also showed that depressed people “are also more likely to use a filter to convert their images to black-and-white.”

Key Point of Understanding

Each sentence that presents a citation should present a “map” that leads directly to a corresponding entry in the Works Cited section. 

A reader should be able to take the information from your in-text citation, match it to the information provided on the Works Cited page and track down the specific text (and portion of the text) being paraphrased or quoted.

So, if you find yourself wondering if you’ve included enough (or too much) information in your in-text citation, ask yourself if there is enough information in the citation for a reader to know which Works Cited entry corresponds to that in-text citation. 

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