Guidelines for Incorporating Quotes
Incorporating Outside Sources
Quoting from outside sources is an important part of academic writing because it puts you into the scholarly conversation and makes your own ideas and your paper more credible. Using quotes is a great way for readers to “hear” the expert voices talking about your writing topic.
When quoting, focus on (a) introducing the quote, (b) explaining its relevance, and (c) citing the sources—both in your writing and in formal citations. This form is known as the ICE method.
The ICE Method
When including outside sources in your writing, follow the ICE method:
- I: Introduce
- C: Cite
- E: Explain
Use this method when inserting direct quotations as well as when you’re paraphrasing or summarizing the ideas of another.
Introduce the Source
Introduce the source by giving your reader any information that would be useful to know: Who said it? Where did this idea come from? When was it said? Here are some examples of how to introduce a source:
- In her essay, “The Crummy First Draft,” Lekkerkerk (2014) argues that…
- Michandra Claire Jones (2015), celebrated poet and author, wrote that…
- In the textbook, Information Literacy, Mossler (2015) states…
After introducing the quote, be sure that you use a signal verb to indicate that the source’s words are next. In the third example above, you can see that "states" has been used to signal the source’s words. Other signal verbs include:
Cite the Source
When citing outside sources, you are required to include: the author(s)' last name(s); the date of publication; and, for direct quotations, the page number on which the quoted passage appears. If there is no page number, use the paragraph number to indicate the location of the quotation.
Precisely how do you insert this required information into your writing? You have two options. The first is to include the full or last name(s) of the author(s) directly in a sentence, and the year of publication in parentheses just following the name(s). If directly quoting, include at the end of your sentence the page number where the quotation can be found. Here are some examples:
- Johansson (2009) says he believes that scholars...OR
- Norman Johansson (2009) says, “Scholars should pursue PhDs” (p. 167).
Your second option is to include all of the required information in parenthesis at the end of the sentence. Here are some examples:
- Research suggests that graphic warnings on cigarette packages promote smoking cessation (Smith, 2015).OR
- According to one research study, “In the year following the introduction of graphic warnings…” (Smith, 2015, p. 16).OR
- Marcus explains that smoking can be deterred by “carefully placed warnings with disturbing imagery included” (Tomlinson, 2008, p. 16).
Notice in the above examples that quotation marks always have a beginning and end, occurring immediately before the first word of the quotation and immediately after the last word. Periods are always placed after the end-of-sentence parentheses, as in (p. 132).
After introducing and citing the passage, you will need to explain the significance: How might this author’s idea relate to my thesis? How does this data add to what I am trying to prove in this paragraph? Why am I putting this quotation in my paper? What am I trying to show here? Never leave any room for interpretation. It is your responsibility as the writer to interpret the information for your reader and identify its significance. Remember, a quote does not speak for itself or prove anything on its own. That is your job!
Here is an example of an explanation that would be appropriate to accompany the Mack quotation above: Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.
Now, here is an example of the ICE method at work in a paragraph:
In the beginning stages of the juvenile justice system, it operated in accordance to a paternalistic philosophy. This can be understood through the published words of Judge Julian Mack, who had a hand in the establishment of the juvenile justice system. In 1909, he stated that this system should treat juveniles “as a wise and merciful father handles his own child” (as cited in Scott & Steinberg, 2008, p.16). Judge Mack viewed juveniles as children first. He envisioned a system that would protect and give treatment to these young offenders so that they could become productive adults, and saw no place for criminal responsibility and punishment within this system.
Five Tips for Effective Quoting
While quoting from reliable sources is an important part of writing a research-based paper, some students can become too reliant on quotes to do the work for them, over-running their papers with other peoples’ words. The purpose of quoting is to include an expert’s voice that is unique and different from your own in order to support your ideas.
Here are five key tips for effectively incorporating quotes into your writing:
- Make Quotes Count. You should quote sparingly, so make sure the quotes you include are impactful and approach the subject in a way that you might not. Part of quoting is “capturing” someone else’s voice and unique expression of an idea. If you could summarize the information and lose none of its meaning, then do that. But if you feel like the expert says it best, then quote the expert.
- Copy Quotes Correctly. It is important to be accurate when you are quoting – the whole point of quoting is to exactly represent another person’s words. Be careful to copy the quote correctly, and if you need to change anything, do so by indicating that you are changing something. If you need to insert a word, for instance, use brackets, like this: “In this quote [the author] states that people always rise to the occasion.” If you need to delete a word or phrase, use ellipses to represent this deletion, like this: “In this quote…people always rise to the occasion.”
- Your Words First. Because you are writing the paper, your words should begin and end it – this goes for the paragraphs as well as the whole paper. Avoid beginning paragraphs with a quote – start with your idea and create a topic sentence. Additionally, avoid ending paragraphs with a quote – you may analyze a quote prior to the end of the sentence, and conclude that its meaning informs your point. Use your words first – quotes should be working for you, not the other way around.
- Keep Quotes Short. Quoting sources should not be a tactic to fill space on the page. Not only should your paper be written in your own words, but the amount of space given to others’ words should be brief. As a general rule of thumb, no more than 15% of your entire paper should be quoted material. Achieve this general goal by using only a few quotes, and keeping those few quotes as brief as 1–2 sentences.
- “Block” Long Quotes. When your paper necessitates it, you may use a longer quote. In this case, “longer” quotes consist of four or more lines, or approximately 40+ words. When you have a quote of this length, you format it differently in your paper than just incorporating it into the normal sentence structure. Long quotes must be made into “blocks” – a visual indicator that this is a long quote. In order to create this block, indent all the lines twice, but keep the double-spacing.
Here’s an example of creating a block quotation:
Sometimes peoples’ viewpoints can be surprising. According to Robert Coles in his 1989 book, The Call of Stories,
On the way home Daddy became an amateur philosopher; he said God chooses some people to be rich, and that’s how it is, and you have to settle for your luck, and ours isn’t all that good, so that’s too bad, but if you just smile and keep going, then you’ll be fine; it’s when you eat your heart out that you can get in trouble. (41)
NOTE: When you create a block quotation, you do two things differently than if you’re incorporating shorter quotes into your sentence regularly.
- First, you do not encase the quote in quotation marks – the indentation replaces the quotation marks.
- Second, you punctuate the quoted material with a period before the parenthetical citation – with no ending punctuation after the parentheses.
- leaves us with
- points to
- tells us
- wants to
- I: Introduce speaker and why he is an authority on this topic.
- C: Quote material along with citation.
- E: Explain who this quote is coming from as well as his relationship or authority on the topic.
Did Shakespeare write all his own works?Is climate change real?Do dogs make better pets than cats?All these topics and more could be subjects for a persuasive essay.While other essays are meant to entertain, such as the narrative essay, or inform such as the informative essay, the goal of a persuasive essay is to champion a single belief.
Meghan Daurm said it best:“The point of essays is the point of writing anything.It’s not to tell people what they already think or to give them more of what they already believe; it’s to challenge people, and it’s to suggest alternate ways of thinking about things.”
What Is a Persuasive Essay?
A persuasive essay is a piece of academic writing that clearly outlines author’s position on a specific issue or topic. The main purpose behind this type of paper is to show facts and present ideas that would serve to convince the reader to take author’s side (on the issue or a question raised).
There is a common misconception that a persuasive essay is literally the same as an argumentative essay. That is far from the truth. While argumentative essay presents information that supports the claim or argument, persuasive essay serves a sole mission – to persuade the reader to take your side of the argument.
This article will cover the main steps on writing a persuasive essay. Let’s get straight into it.
Writing the Persuasive Essay – Steps to Take
This guide will provide all the basic information students need to create an outstanding persuasive essay.We’ll review the outline, research, drafting, and revising process.As with most academic essays, the persuasive essay should have an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion.Your research should appear mainly in the body paragraphs as the introduction’s purpose is to provide background while the conclusion should review the essay’s strongest points.
Conduct research and pre-write
A great essay requires some work before beginning to write.It’s always helpful to sit down and do some prewriting.Consider answering the following questions before you conduct any research:
- What audience am I writing for?
- What information will be useful to my audience?
- What background information would be relevant to this topic?
- What are the different sides to this issue?
- What side will I be persuading the audience is correct?
- What type of primary resources would be best for this topic?
Once you’ve answered these prewriting questions, it’s time to choose your approach.Select an approach that you feel comfortable arguing in the persuasive essay, and work to find sources that support this particular viewpoint.It’s imperative that you understand the audience the essay targets.Finally, begin to research.Go into the research process armed with the following tools:
- At least 10-20 different search terms relevant to the topic
- A list of best sources: books? Journal articles? Magazine articles? Newspaper articles?
- Required citation method (MLA, APA, Chicago…)
- A note-taking method that works best for you (notecards, sentence outlines…)
Organize ideas and examples
As you’re conducting research, save yourself some time and organize the ideas as you find them. All your claims should be supported with proper examples – illustrate ideas with the help of vivid examples. Occasions from your life experience would work as good as more conventional or common examples.
Evaluate the research’s purpose and place it into an outline where the research directly supports the paragraph’s main idea.For example, if it’s background information, it would go into the introduction paragraph.
Create an outline
Outlines are a great way to see what research you’ve found, and what you still need to find to create a strong, balanced argument regarding the topic of the persuasive essay.By creating an outline, you’ll be able to see if you’ve found research that supports the idea within the topic sentence for every body paragraph or for only two out of the three.The outline also helps you create an argument that flows.Remember: body paragraphs should always be organized weakest to strongest—that way the audience is left with the best paragraph.
Here is a persuasive essay outline example:
- Thesis: Democracy is the best form of government as it allows the most voices to be heard.
- Body Paragraph 1: Identify and discuss a theocracy
- Example 1:Vatican City
- Example 2: Saudi Arabia
- Body Paragraph 2:Dictatorship
- Example 1: North Korea
- Example 2: Zimbabwe
- Body Paragraph 3: Monarchy
- Example 1: Britain
- Example 2: Spain
- Body Paragraph 4:Democracy
- Example 1: United States of America
- Example 2: Iceland
- Conclusion: Based on provided examples, comparing the examples between each other to show that democracy drives the most progressive and wealthy countries.
For this example outline, the student needs to find research for each country and its form of government.Once the research has been gathered, it’s time to begin drafting the paragraphs.
Check our Persuasive Essay Outline writing guide:
Compose the introduction
Each introduction should begin with a hook.This sentence draws the reader into the topic by “hooking” his or her interest.A hook is typically one of four types of sentences:
- A fact or statistic
- A quotation
- A rhetorical question
- An anecdote
In a persuasive essay, the introduction paragraph tends to be longer than other academic essays.This is because all sides of the controversial must be introduced and defined.Remember: not every issue will have two sides; many issues are very complex and may have three or four or more sides that need to be acknowledged, defined, and discussed before moving into the body paragraphs.
Not sure how a subject could have more than merely two sides?Let’s take a look at a common persuasive essay assigned in social studies or history class: what kind of government is the best kind?In order to answer this question, the student would have to acknowledge and consider the most common forms of government including a democracy, theocracy, dictatorship, and monarchy.A well-written persuasive essay would introduce all the forms and define them in the introduction before delving into the strengths and weaknesses within the body paragraphs.
Finally, the introduction should end with the thesis statement.This statement should be argumentative in nature and clearly state which side the writer intends to prove as the stronger side.As the last sentence in the introduction paragraph, it acts as a natural transition to the first body paragraph.
Tips for a great introduction
- Introduce all sides of the issue
- Provide key background information relevant to the subject
- Clearly state which side is stronger, and why
Formulate body paragraphs
Like most other academic essays, the body paragraphs should follow the typical format of including five kinds of sentences:
- Topic sentence
- Background sentence
- Quotations of support from primary sources
- Analysis of support
- Conclusion/transition sentence
While there are five kinds of sentences, there will likely be more than five sentences in the paragraph.There may be several background sentences, and in your research, you may find quotations from several different sources to include in one paragraph…that’s great!The most important part of the paragraph is the analysis section; this is where you make your case for supporting or weakening an argument.
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A key aspect of persuasive essays is the counter argument.This form of argument allows the writer to acknowledge any opposition to their stance and then pick it apart.For example, if the writer is arguing that democracy is the best form of government, he or she needs to take the time to acknowledge counter arguments FOR other forms of governments and then disprove them.Including counter arguments as paragraphs themselves ultimately strengthens one’s own argument.
Hints for Great Body Paragraphs
- Create clear, concise topic sentences
- Provide correctly quoted support from primary sources
- Thoroughly analyze the support to strengthen your position
- Use strong persuasive language such as
- In reality
- The majority
- The experts agree
- Polls show
- Research proves
Sum up the conclusion
This paragraph signals the end of the persuasive essay.Want to know how to write a stellar conclusion?First, don’t introduce any new information.The cardinal rule of conclusion paragraphs is this: only discuss what’s already in the paper.Begin by restating the thesis; this reminds the audience about the essay’s goals and purpose.Next, review the main points covered in the body paragraphs.
Finally, here’s where the persuasive essay is a bit different than other academic essays: the call to action.In a persuasive essay, the conclusion should offer a call to action; if the reader agrees with the writer’s thesis then he or she should be willing to take some form of action.Set forth a call to action before ending the essay.
In order to put up a proper conclusion, ask yourself a question: “what’s the takeaway for the reader?” Unlike the conclusion in an informative essay, the final section your persuasive essay should put an exclamation on your view of the argument or issue.
3 Hints for a Great Conclusion
- Restate the thesis to link back to the introduction and remind the reader of your argument
- Review the paper’s stronger points to persuade the audience of a particular side
- End with a strong call to action
Revise your persuasive essay
Done the first draft?Then, it’s time to revise to make the essay stronger both content-wise and grammatically.Check out these great questions to help you revise:
- Does the essay begin with a hook that captures the reader’s interest?
- Does the introduction introduce all sides of the issue and provide background information?
- Does the introduction ends with a clearly worded thesis statement?
- Does the essay clearly convey a specific position regarding the topic?
- Are the counter arguments stated and refuted?
- Do the body paragraph offer relevant and reliable research to substantiate claims?
- Does the conclusion review the main points made within the paper?
- Are all sentences complete and grammatically correct?
Once you are through with the seven steps of writing the persuasive essay, you can happily enjoy what you accomplished. Feel free to submit the final piece to your professor/instructor.
Persuasive Essay Sample
Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own argumentative essay. Link: Persuasive essay on Global Warming
Remember: writing is more of a triathlon than a walk in the park.Just like a triathlon involves three key components, so too does writing: brainstorming, drafting, and revising.Begin the persuasive essay early and work through the various stages of writing to ensure that the final product is polished and grammatically flawless.If your school offers a Writing Center, use these resources.
It’s hard to catch one’s own mistakes, so ask a classmate or friend to review your paper.And don’t forget about your as well as a professional writing/editing service!Skip the stress of beginning the assignment the night before it’s due and instead plan out your writing process and begin as soon as you receive the assignment.While content and grammar are the major players “gradewise”, don’t discount formatting.How you format your final paper is the first impression your professor will have of your work.Therefore, take the time to check the margins, font, headings, spacing, title page, and Works Cited page to ensure that they meet the professor’s expectations.