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Writing a Thesis, Citation

  1. Mar 15, 2009 #1


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    I'm in the final year of my undergraduate studies and now I'm writing my final year report.

    In my thesis, there're certain things I need to mention and I find that I lack of words to describe the phenomena. However, I find there's a certain paragraph in a book that describe very well. I intend to copy the words about 80-90 words and put it in my thesis. I'll cite the origin of the words from this book. But, I'm not sure, in writing a thesis, is it a good idea to copy the words exactly from the book?

    Let's say there're a few sentences that I copy, I need to put the citation after the last sentence? or in every sentence, I need to put the citation from the same book.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2009 #2
    You need to make it very clear that you are quoting the text verbatim. If it is a sizeable passage it's probably best to use a block quote (http://www.englishdiscourse.org/block.quotes.htm [Broken]) with the citation either at the end of the quote or in the text leading up to it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Mar 15, 2009 #3


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    I agree with CrazyJimbo. If you quote text verbatim, you need to make it obvious that it's a direct quote.
  5. Mar 15, 2009 #4


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    I see. Thank you for your information.

    So, if I don't want to make a direct quote, is it still ok to paraphrase the words and cite it afterward ?
  6. Mar 15, 2009 #5
    You need to be clear enough about what comes from the book and what is your take on it that you can't be accused of plagiarism. If you are worried that your wording is still too close to the authors, maybe say something like:

    To paraphrase T. Author (2009), this idea can be explained by...
  7. Mar 15, 2009 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, but you'll be much safer just using a direct quote. Apart from having to clearly delineate where your reference's ideas stop and yours begin (something that happens automatically with a direct quote), you have to make sure you don't misinterpret the reference, even in subtle ways.
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