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March 25, 2010

How to Cite Direct Quotations

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

One of our goals for this blog is to convey that following the guidelines of APA Style need not restrict your flexibility as a writer. Because of space limitations, many style points illustrated in the APA Publication Manual show only one or two examples. We’re happy that the blog now allows us to provide additional examples.

Today I have an illustration of how you may write a sentence in a variety of ways and still be following perfect APA Style. All of the following citations of a direct quote are in correct APA Style, citing the author, year, and page number.

Examples

  1. According to Palladino and Wade (2010), “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (p. 147).
  2. In 2010, Palladino and Wade noted that “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (p. 147).
  3. In fact, “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (Palladino & Wade, 2010, p. 147).
  4. “A flexible mind is a healthy mind,” according to Palladino and Wade’s (2010, p. 147) longitudinal study.
  5. Palladino and Wade’s (2010) results indicate that “a flexible mind is a healthy mind” (p. 147).

Of course, these are just a few of the possible wordings for this sentence. Each of these examples properly cites the direct quotation, but I've varied the placement of the citation information. By changing the order of information in the sentence, I can choose what information to emphasize.

For example, because Example 2 begins with “In 2010,” you might use it if your greater context for this quote is to indicate the timeliness of the research in your literature review.

Or, you might find the quote so striking that you want to begin the sentence with it, as in Example 4, to make the most impact.

Or, you may be considering the readability and transitions from one sentence to the next. For example, if you ended the previous sentence with “Palladino and Wade,” you would probably not want to begin the next with “Palladino and Wade,” which would rule out Example 5. You might instead choose Example 2, but change the names to “they”:

This idea was recently explored by Palladino and Wade (2010). They noted that "a flexible mind is a healthy mind" (Palladino & Wade, 2010, p. 147).

I hope these examples begin to demonstrate the choices you have as an author using APA Style. More information on direct quotation of sources can be found on pages 170–174 of the Manual.

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