Quoting is using the exact words of the original source in your assignment. To ensure that it is clear to the reader that you are quoting, place the words you have taken from the source within quotation marks and always include an in-text citation with:

  • the author’s details,
  • the year of publication, and
  • a page number (or other pinpoint – paragraph number, timestamp, etc.)

This will ensure that you are acting with academic integrity and so the reader can easily locate the original information.

For more information on quoting in a specific referencing style, see the Curtin Library’s referencing guides.

Tips to help you quote

Use quotations when the author expresses something in a particularly strong way that strengthens your point or idea. It may be that the author uses a particularly striking or memorable phrase, or it may be that their authority in the field lends itself to using their exact words.

Ellipsis are used to show that something has been left out of the original wording and that your quote differs somewhat from the source. You can leave out words that are not needed, but you mustn’t change the meaning of the original statement.

Example – original quote : “All of you know the statistics and stories of young people who had intelligence, the potential to do amazing things, but somehow slipped through the cracks” (Obama, 2016, para. 5).

Example – use of ellipsis : “All of you know the statistics and stories of young people who had intelligence, the potential … but somehow slipped through the cracks” (Obama, 2016, para. 5).

Note. Generally you don’t need to use ellipsis if words are left out of the beginning or end of a quote; however, if the reader might mistake an incomplete quote for a complete one, then ellipsis should be used.

You can add words to a quote to help it blend with the rest of your sentence, particularly if you need to change a tense, help it make more sense or make something more concise. Record your words in square brackets.

Example – original quote : “Students often describe digesting as ‘getting my head around it’” (Race, 2019, p. 13).

Example – own words : “Students often describe digesting [content from lectures] as ‘getting [their] head around it’” (Race, 2019, p. 13).

When quoting, you should use the exact words from the source, even if the author has used regionally different spelling, incorrect grammar, or has used an unconventional word. In these situations, include the word ‘sic’ (meaning intentionally so written) in square brackets, next to the word in question as shown in the example below.

Example: “They misunderestimated [sic] me” (Bush, 2000).

Remember, don’t over-quote in your assignments. Your own voice should be the dominant voice in your assignments and quoting too much might suggest that you don’t fully grasp the material. A good rule of thumb is to keep quotation under 5% of the total words. Check your assignment marking guide for referencing requirements.