How To Use Quotations


This part of the guide will give examples of the main ways in which you might want to cite a reference within your piece of work. 

It should be remembered that the overall word count for your written assignment includes in-text citations; that quotations longer than 3 lines should be used sparingly; and, that as a guide, direct quotations should not make up more than 10% of a written assignment.


Quotations of less than one line

Include quotations of less than one line in the main body of the text within single inverted commas.


Sparke (2009, p.19) argues that ‘we are so surrounded by design that it feels as if life must have always been lived this way’.


Longer quotations

Indent longer quotations at both left and right margins and use single line spacing, quotation marks are not required.


Examining different modes of production Sparke (2009, p.22) ascertains that:

Craft-making relies on the maker’s tacit knowledge and
skill, based on repeated practice, and involves chance and
an ability to improvise. Factory production eliminated these

Note that there are no quotation marks on longer quotations that have been dropped and the quote is indented and single line spaced.



Always cite the author, year (and page number if applicable) when restating in your own words someone elses ideas or arguments.


Members of a given subculture distinguish themselves from mainstream society by adopting a distinctive individual identity (Muggleton, 2000, p.63).

The entry in the reference list at the end of your work would appear as:

Muggleton, D. (2000). Inside subculture: the postmodern meaning of style. Oxford: Berg.

Whether quoting, paraphrasing or summasing you can place the author's name in brackets alongside the date and page number, or alternatively place the author's name on the outside of the brackets, depending on the structure of the sentence.


Further guidelines

Multiple authors

If there are two or three authors use all names:

Smith and Mockeridge (1993, p.5) state that …….

In contrast Brown, Brignone and Ward (2001, pp.5-7) put forward the view that ……..

If there are four or more authors use the first author’s Family Name followed by et al.:

Kotler et al. (2002) argue that ...


Author with more than one piece of work published in the same year

If the author has published more than one piece of work in the same year use lower case letters to distinguish the sources:


Bentley (1980a) surveyed ……… The conclusions he drew from this study were replicated (Bentley, 1980b) and are therefore more reliable than earlier studies.


Secondary referencing

While you are consulting an original work, you may come across a summary of another author’s work, which you would like to make reference to in your own document. This is called secondary referencing:

A direct reference:

Research recently carried out by Brown (1966 cited in Bassett, 1986, p.142) found that……..

In this example, Brown is the work, which you wish to refer to, but have not read directly for yourself. Bassett is the secondary source, where you found the summary of Brown’s work.

Or indirectly:

(Brown, 1966 cited in Bassett, 1986, p.142)

You would reference Bassett in your reference list, but not Brown.

In the example below White is the primary or original source and Black is the secondary source. It is important to realise that Black may have taken White's ideas forward, and altered their original meaning. It is recommended that where possible, you read the original source for yourself rather than rely on someone else’s interpretation of a work.

White, (1990) as cited in Black (1994), suggests that…

You would reference Black in your reference list, but not White.

The reference list at the end of your document should only contain works that you have directly read.


Citing from websites

You can cite from a website in the same way that you would cite from any other resource. It can be difficult to ascertain the author of a website, if you can’t find an individual name use the name of the organisation or company to whom the website belongs. It can also be difficult to find out when the material was published. If there is a last updated date, or a date next to the copyright symbol at the bottom of the page use this, but if there is no indication of date no date (n.d.) should be put in brackets after the name. You will not need to use page numbers.

Example 1:

At the Edinburgh Fringe this year ‘the average cost of putting on a show is estimated at around £6,000’ (Geoghegan,  2010)

The entry in the reference list at the end of your work would appear as:

Geoghegan, K. (2010). Sampling the Edinburgh Fringe for free. [online] Available from: [Accessed 10 August 2010]

Example 2:

Until the middle of the nineteenth century 'natural colours were used to dye wool, with three stages when it could occur: when it was still a fleece, in threads ready for weaving, or after the cloth had been woven'. (National Museum Wales, n.d.)

The entry in the reference list at the end of your work would appear as:

National Museum Wales (n.d.). The process – from fleece to fabric. [online] Available from: [Accessed 10 August 2010]


Quoting dialogue from a film

In text citation:

Beetlejuice (Burton, 1988) contains comedic moments such as when Beetlejuice says "These aren't my rules. Come to think of it, I don't have any rules."

The entry in the reference list at the end of your work would appear as:

Burton, T. (1988). Beetlejuice. [DVD]. London: Warner Home Video


Ellipsis, (omission of words)

This is the three dots which show that some text, (one or more words), has been omitted from the quote. 


Relaxation … assists one to cope with the situation (Turner 2000, p.17).

The ellipsis, (three dots), shows that some text has been removed from the quotation.  The quote originally says:  ‘Relaxation, when it has been induced, assists…’


Square brackets, (inclusion of words)

Square brackets tell the reader that the writer has inserted their own words into the quote. We typically use square brackets when we want to modify another person's words. Here, by using the square brackets, we make it clear that the modification has been made by us, not by the original writer.

For example:

to add clarification:

Example: The witness said: "He [the policeman] hit me."

to add information:

Example: The two teams in the finals of the first FIFA Football World Cup were both from South America [Uruguay and Argentina].

to add missing words:

Example: It is [a] good question.

to add editorial or authorial comment:

Example: They will not be present [my emphasis].


The use of ibid. and op. cit 

The terms ibid. and op.cit. can be used in referencing to avoid duplicating the same reference details in the body of your text. Use of these terms is optional.


The reference ‘ibid.’ is short for the Latin word ibidem – meaning ‘in the same place’. It refers to the source immediately given before. So if having given a quote by Rodenburg and then the following quote is also by Rodenburg, the second time you can put ibid. and the page number.


(Rodenburg 2002, p. 15) - and then in the following quotation, (ibid. p.  209).

Op. cit.

Op. cit. (this comes from the Latin word Opere citato, meaning, ‘in the work cited’. To save repetition of the same reference, one uses the term op. cit. to reference a work which has already been cited just before the preceding reference. So if you have quoted something from Rodenburg, then you quote Berry, and then you quote Rodenburg again from the same book, you would put: 


(Rodenburg 1996, p.42) then (Berry 2013, p. 52) and then - (Rodenburg op. cit., p.23).