Making Effective Use of Quotations in Your Dissertation Writing

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Use of quotations in dissertation writing can make your assignment enriching. When you cite from various sources, you get an opportunity to display the rigorous research you conducted for your dissertation, simultaneously bringing other’s research ideas to your aid in supporting your thesis.

However, you must be selective and skillful while quoting. Writing a dissertation  full of quotations without any feedback or analysis will seem clumsy and unproductive. Here’s dissertation help with ten tips to effective dissertation writing.

Ten Tips to Effective Use of Quotations:

When quoting from a source take the followings points into consideration-

1. Use only words, phrases, lines and passages that are particularly interesting, vivid and apt.

2. Keep Your Quotations short and concise to leave the desired impact on the reader.

3. Make sure the quotation is placed close to the argument it supports or refutes.

4. If the quotation may seem unclear and ambiguous, or have missing words making it grammatically wrong, insert missing words in square brackets or explaining it at the end of the quotation, in parenthesis.

5. Avoid using part of a quotation to serve your purpose or support your argument, if it alters the meaning of the text or the author’s view.

6.When using a part of a sentence from a source which may otherwise flow smoothly with your sentence, insert ellipsis (three periods with a space before each and a space after the last) before and after the sentence quoted, or in-between the sentence quoted or after the sentence quoted, as per the requirement. For Example: T.S.Eliot lays stress on the role of tradition in making of a poet. He writes in his essay Tradition and Individual Talent, “No writer can move without paying allegiance to his predecessors. . . ”

7. To use a term specific to an author, insert it in quotation marks and let it run with the text. For example: Contemporary Literary Theories emphasize on “deconstructing” to discover its true meaning.

8. When taking long pieces of text from the source, indent it half an inch from the text margin. Do not put the text in quotes when they are indented. Indention itself shows that the text has been quoted. Make sure you mention the name of the author, the text and the page numbers either in the preceding paragraph or in parenthesis at the end on the indented text.

9. If you use pick a text with quotation marks from a book or a journal or elsewhere, and use it in your dissertation, do not alter the way the quotes are used by the author. However there are variations in the way you use them-

                    a) If you incorporate the quotation within the text, use double quotation to    show your quotation marks and single quotation marks for quotations within those quotations.

                    b)If you indent the quotation to the text, keep the quotation the way it is. This is because, you are using indention to show your own quotation.

10. If you need to quote two or more paragraphs in your dissertation writing, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional quarter inch. i.e. half inch from the text margin, to show that it is a quotation, and a quarter inch.

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