PSYC 1101 - Wilson - Fall 2023

Citing Direct Quotes

When should I use a direct quote in my paper? 

Direct quotes should only be used occasionally: 

  • When you need to share an exact definition 
  • When you want to provide specific evidence or information that cannot be paraphrased
  • When you want to use the original writer's terminology


Definitions of direct quotes: 

Short quotes

(fewer than 40 words)

  • use quotation marks around the quote
  • incorporate into the text of the paper

Long quotes

(more than 40 words) 

  • DO NOT use quotation marks
  • instead use a block quote (by indenting 0.5" or 1 tab) beneath the text of the paragraph
Quotes for webpages: 

Websites usually do not contain page numbers, therefore you need a different way to cite the information for a direct quote. There are two ways to do this: 

  • Cite by paragraph number - count down the website to see what number paragraph the direct quote is in and in the citation where you would place the page number, add = para. #
  • Cite by heading or section name - many websites are divided into sections, find the name of the section that contains the direct quote you are using and add that information where you would place the page number = Methods section

Tips on Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is recreating someone else's ideas into your own words & thoughts, without changing the original meaning (Gahan, 2020). 

Here are some best practices when you are paraphrasing: 

  • How do I learn to paraphrase? If you are thoroughly reading and researching articles or book chapters for a paper, you will start to take notes in your own words. Those notes are the beginning of paraphrased information.
  • Read the original information, PUT IT AWAY, then rewrite the ideas in your own words. This is hard to do at first. It takes practice, but this is how you start to paraphrase. 
  • It's usually better to paraphrase, instead of including too many quotes. 
  • When you start to paraphrase, cite your source. 
  • Make sure not to use language that is TOO close to the original, so that you are not committing plagiarism. 
  • Paraphrasing (vs. using direct quotes) is important because it shows that YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND the information you are reading. 
  • Paraphrasing ALLOWS YOUR VOICE to be prevalent in your writing. 
  • The best time to use direct quotes is when you need to give an exact definition, provide specific evidence, or if you need to use the original writer's terminology. 
  • BEST PRACTICE PER PARAGRAPH: On your 1st paraphrase of a source, CITE IT. There is no need to add another in-text citation until you use a different source, OR, until you use a direct quote. 


Gahan, C. (2020, October 15). How to paraphrase sources. 

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