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Citing within text

A good assignment will reflect the fact that you have examined other people’s work. Use quotations sparingly for the following purposes:

  • to show what other people have thought, written or discovered about a particular topic;
  • to provide evidence or illustrations in support of your own arguments. A quotation can rarely stand alone. It will usually require an interpretative comment in your own words.

Every time you use someone else’s ideas or data, you must acknowledge it.


How to reference sources of information

Referencing a source is made at an appropriate place in the text by stating:

Surname(s) (Year of publication, page number(s)) (See examples below)

Where there is no known author, use title instead of surname.

Direct Quotations

These are the exact form of someone else’s work and may be words or a picture, graph, map, cartoon, photograph or other work.

  • Incorporate a short quotation into a text without disrupting the flow of text.


Marsden (1993, 3) writes that ‘All good writers and readers, consciously or unconsciously, are aware of language.’

  • Set out longer quotations (5 or 6 lines) in block form as a new paragraph. Indent but do not use quotation marks.


Marsden (1993, 27) considers the frequent use of clichés in everyday speech by examining television soaps:

Watching television soaps is interesting for a language student. Perhaps one reason for their popularity is that their scripts make few demands on the viewer. In a stressful world, people can watch soaps with little concentration. The scripts achieve this by endlessly using clichés. If you don’t believe me, try watching a soaps for five minutes and counting the number of clichés used.

Indirect Quotations

An indirect quotation makes a reference to someone else’s work which is expressed in your own words.

This is called paraphrasing.


It is important to use detail to good effect when writing about significant characters and setting. Marsden (1993, 111-114).


Referencing by itself is not enough. It must be related to your bibliography which must accompany your work. When you take notes, keep a record of the precise location of the quotation (direct or indirect) including the page number(s). To use the ideas and language of others without acknowledgment is plagiarism. It will always be heavily penalised. Read the college Plagiarism Policy.