Quote integration is arguably one of the most difficult parts of essay writing; however, it does not need to be. Here are some tips to make quote integration easier.
First things first, the most basic way to integrate quotes into any piece of writing is with the following format
Signal phrase + Quote + Citations
- Signal phrase: A short phrase or verb that indicates to the reader that you are going to introduce a quote.
- Quote: Short quotes are less than four lines and can be integrated into the actual body of your essay. Quotes over four lines typically should be formatted as block quotes (based on the citation style you are using).
- Citation: Falls at the end of the sentence, usually in parentheses (varies based on citation style; refer to UWSC citation guides for more details on formatting citations).
- Citations in MLA 8th edition
- Citations in APA 7 th
- Citations in Chicago
- Citations in AMA
The following example follows the pattern of signal phrase, quote, and citation (in MLA style)
- Exercise has many benefits for not only an individual’s present health but in the long term as well: “exercise is known to reduce a number of inflammatory markers…which are linked to a number of diseases” (Walton 1).
Another way to introduce a quote into a source is to use the author’s name as your signal phrase with a subsequent verb that is used to introduce the quote. For citation styles such as MLA or APA, when you start with the author’s name to introduce the source, the end of text citation only needs to have the page number/year.
- Alice Walton writes that “exercise is one of the best-illustrated things we can do for our hearts, and this includes markers like blood pressure and cholesterol, in addition to the physical structure of the heart itself, and blood vessel function” (3).
Verbs to use to signal the beginning of a quotation
- Points out
Other methods to integrate a quote into a sentence
Introduce a quotation and have subsequent sentences that expand on the relevance
- This is the best way to integrate quotes into a paper. It is crucial that anytime you use from an outside source, you explain the relevance of the quote to the rest of your paper.
- Dr. Carrie Fisher details some of the most pressing ethical concerns that arise in the field of public health: “the primary ethical concern of public health officials is creating a balance between the common good and the right of the individual, when we undermine autonomy we create distrust among the general public, destabilizing the governing principles of public health” (2). Dr. Fisher’s concerns surrounding the field of public health echoes the main dilemma that has plagued the field since its conception. Her argument that undermining autonomy betrays public trust demonstrates that as public health officials it is crucial to understand that if individual autonomy is restricted, it can only be in the direst of circumstances.
Make the quotation part of a complete sentence
- Current research indicates that exercise is beneficial for long-term health as it “can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity” (Fletcher et al., 1996).
Utilize brackets and ellipses to help improve clarity of a sentence
Brackets are used to add words to improve understanding. Ellipses are used to remove words to shorten a phrase.
- According to physical therapist Dr. Smith, developing a consistent and sustainable workout foundation is the key to long term success: “[Workout programs] must be enjoyable, you cannot expect an individual to adhere to a regimen where they dread each day they must go. I recommend that individuals find a workout routine that both challenges them but also excites them, where it does not feel like a chore to workout” (2).
Here is an example sentence that utilizes all of these tactics to integrate a quote into a sentence
- In the field of medicine, exercise recommendations remain hotly contested, “although a consensus is growing on the importance of the relation between physical activity and health and wellness, the specific dose of physical activity necessary for good health remains unclear… some of the inconsistency among physical activity recommendations is due simply to the inherent uncertainties of biomedical science” (Blair 2). It is crucial that the differing ideologies be addressed as they have the potential to impact the dissemination of information to the general public. The average American already struggles to meet the weekly exercise recommendations and conflicting information regarding these recommendations will only further exacerbate the issue.
- You may be thinking “isn’t this supposed to be about integrating quotes into an essay?” You are correct; however, there are many times (and citation styles) where it is best to paraphrase a source instead of integrating a whole quote into the paper. Quote integration is crucial when the exact wording of the primary source is critical to the point being made, whereas paraphrasing is sufficient when restating the general idea is all that is required.
- Despite continual recommendations put forth by the CDC regarding exercise and physical activity “80% of the population is not meeting the guidelines. Each year in the US, an estimated 10% of premature deaths and $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity” (Smith, 2017).
- The CDC estimates that 80% of the United States population is not adhering to the guidelines regarding weekly physical activity recommendations (Smith 3). Inactive adults cost the U.S health care system an estimated $117 billion per year; estimates suggest 10% of premature deaths are due to inactivity (Smith, 2017).
*Remember that when paraphrasing a quote from a source an in-text citation is still included.
Common mistakes to avoid
This is when you “drop” a quote into your essay without any form of introduction; the most common mistake is making the quote its own sentence.
This is what you don’t want to do
- There are numerous health benefits to working out. “Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits” (CDC).
A better way to approach this is
- There are numerous health benefits to working. According to the CDC, “adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits” (2019).
Not using brackets
Using brackets when integrating a quote actually helps improve clarity while writing. Otherwise, if you integrate a quote directly without adjusting it through the use of brackets, the sentence can be confusing to readers.
This is what you don’t want to do
- Dr. Smith, talks to patients candidly about the importance of physical activity while they are young, “it is important that you start working out when you are younger as it helps you build up bone density, which can decrease the risk of developing arthritis as you get older” (Horton 3).
A better way to approach this is
- Dr. Smith talks to patients candidly about the importance of physical activity while they are young: “it is important that [individuals] start working out when [they] are younger as it helps [them] build up bone density, which can decrease the risk of developing arthritis as they get older” (Horton 3).