Can I Use Quotes in a Research Paper?

Quotes are used in a research paper to strengthen and increase their authenticity while maintaining their originality. But before you start writing your research paper, you should know all the basic criteria, without which it’s difficult to create an effective piece of writing.

A research paper analyzes a perspective or a certain point of view of a writer which they want to elaborate in their academic writing. It doesn’t matter which academic or research approach you are using. Your finished work must represent your critical analysis of a specific topic and be backed by others’ ideas, theories, and information.

How to Quote in a Research Paper

Research paper quotes strengthen your paper and support its arguments; they provide an authentic way to cite primary source material and mention other people’s work without plagiarism. These quotes in a paper increase the credibility and engage the audience’s attention if cited properly.

Quotations can be of many types; it depends on the way one presents them in their research work according to the kind and purpose they serve. Let’s discuss them one by one and how they can be used to fit in your sentence perfectly.

● Dropped Quotes:

These are specific phrases taken from the middle of the text; they are introduced in a sentence to provide or give an idea because they cannot make a sentence independently. You can incorporate them in a complete sentence or short phrase.

● According to Wordsworth, and as he stated in one of his books, romantic poetry was marked by a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” (263)

● Romantic poetry is specified as a “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” (

Wordsworth 263)

Both phrases are taken from the book, mentioning page numbers where they are present. The page number is mentioned only in the first one, whereas the page number and author name are mentioned in the brackets in the second one.

For citing in your article, you must include the author’s name or if the author’s name is not available, go with the title; if the title is not available, go with the source where you found it.

● Indirect Quotations:

Indirect quotations are writers or a person’s interpretation of an author’s quotes in their research paper. It is the paraphrasing of the author’s work.

Wordsworth widely incorporated and explored the role of emotions in the creative process (263).

You can note no quotation marks are used, as it is the writer’s interpretation of the author’s work. But the page number is mentioned along with the interpretation, which means you can give credit or reference by mentioning the page number. If you have to use a paraphrase in your article, then make sure it doesn’t look like the author’s work but your idea and your words.

● Direct Quotes or Full Sentence Quotes:

Suppose a writer doesn’t want to paraphrase quoting in paper, then they can use full or direct quotes written by the authors. You have to copy and write them as they are in your paper. These quotations can be evidence to make your research paper strong and effective.

● Block Quotes:

Another method is quoting in paper that comprises a couple of sentences rather than a singular one. These sentences are directly selected from the source. They are pretty long and acquire quite a space in your paper; it is recommended to use them only once in your article.

For example, in his book Undeniable: Evolution and the science of creation, Nye emphasizes that understanding science is the key to understanding the world.

Can You Start a Research Paper with a Quote?

The introduction is the main and most important part of any paper or piece of writing; it builds the reader’s or audience’s interest and engagement. Therefore, one must start it with the exact wording or explain one’s point of view.

You can start your research paper with quotes about research; such a quote provides proof and support to your work. You can interpret or present an argument and support your claim by referring to the author’s work or citations.

You can use a citation to start your introduction. However, your readers may find it absurd and question the originality of your work; the introduction may look less authentic to them. Therefore, if you want to start your introduction with a quote, use a paraphrased approach and support your claim by referring to the author’s work or citations. It is a more appropriate way to quote on paper.

Similarly, quotes on research or quotes about paper can also be included in the conclusion of your research paper, but using them in the conclusion may not be helpful to highlight the ideas or arguments that you are explaining in your paper. It is advisable to use indirect or paraphrase interpretation and explain them in the light of your idea.

How many quotes should be in a research paper?

Quotes on papers support and strengthen the writer’s argument and idea; they validate their claim, as previous and famous authors have mentioned. Audiences and critics appreciate the findings of a writer when they are relatable or backed by citations or different quotes.

But excess use is also bad. It negatively affects the writing and snatches the originality of the content; using them in a prescribed number or percentage is recommended. It may also impact your writer’s authenticity and originality and question the writer’s ability to produce quality original content. It is recommended that you use a maximum of 20 percent of quotes in a research paper.

In scientific research papers, you should keep the minimum number of quotes while writing. While in the case of papers related to humanities, you should use quotations as per your requirements.

In social sciences, it all depends on the type of research (qualitative or quantitative). If your paper includes a lot of statistical data, you should not add any quotes, but if papers have plenty of words, you can add them!

Using Quotes in a Paper:

It’s up to the writers’ requirement of argument or idea they explain in their research paper. If there is a need or dire requirement to use quotes and incorporate them in writing to strengthen and back their arguments, then using quotes is recommended.

Whether it’s quotes about research or general in nature, they will increase the article’s credibility if they support the writer’s claim. Let us explain different types of quotes and how they can be used in your research paper. The following are the tips that help you comprise a good piece of writing.

● Don’t oversaturate your writing by including too many quotes. Although they may appear appropriate sometimes, they can affect the originality and quality of your content. Readers may also lose interest and can question your credibility.

● Remember that your paper primarily contains your thoughts, ideas, or arguments; use brief and worth mentioning citations or quotes when needed to validate your point of view.

● You can include a maximum of 20 percent of quotes in your content, using more may undermine the legitimacy of your writing. The audience or reader may also find it inappropriate.

● Always give context to the quote used. Failing to do so is the most typical and common mistake the writers make. Sometimes, only the writer understands the author’s point of view while incorporating the quotes, but he or she forgets it is hard for the readers or audience to understand if it is without context.

● While quoting an author, try to analyze the quote, include context, and provide a ready solution for your readers.

● When selecting a quote, use a selective approach, take the required part that fits your idea, and omit unnecessary parts. Don’t forget to include the main theme or idea of the quote.

● Take care of the tenses used in the research paper, don’t jump from one tense to another; it may result in many mistakes, and it is not a professional approach.

● Seek help from your supervisor in case of any difficulty and ask for quoting styles; there are plenty of them, APA, MLA, CBE, APSA, Chicago/Turabian, and Numbered References. The most used among all is MLA used in the examples.

● Do not misquote.

● Do not take somebody else’s expression and try incorporating it into yours. Always stay relevant and pay attention to your idea. Be very careful while selecting the quote.

Final Advice

Research paper quotation can strengthen your papers. It can make your writings more effective and impressive. But before you use any quote in your paper, learn how to use these quotes correctly. Always check the part of the paper where you will use it. For most scientific papers, there is no need to use quotes. But use them for the social sciences or any paper with insufficient statistical evidence.

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