When Not To Use Block Quotes In Essays

Example #1

Today, digital cameras have practically taken over photography. As Johnson (2010) explained,

Digital cameras now make up 90% of all camera sales at the leading electronic stores. This increase in sales can be partially attributed to the widespread use of email and social networking, which has encouraged the sharing of digital photos. (p. 23)

Johnson further noted that, even more than with the shift to digital cameras, the increasing use of phones and iPods that have built-in cameras has replaced the use of film cameras.

Example #2

Computer users often disagree about which operating system is best: Mac or PC. Oyler (2010) stated that one operating system is not better than the other, but that one may be better suited for different purposes than the other. She explained by saying that

Macs are often the best option for users who wish to work with video or picture manipulation. Macs are also very user friendly, which may benefit consumers who are new to computers. PCs, however, run Microsoft Office Suite the best. Therefore, students might find that a PC is their best option because it can run Microsoft Word and PowerPoint the smoothest. (Oyler, 2010, p. 48)

Conversely, Jones (2010) disagreed with the statement that Macs work with graphics such as video and pictures better than PCs, stating that PCs can be modified to work as well as Macs.

Direct quotations are sometimes necessary to truly convey the author's meaning to the reader.  When directly quoting an author(s),  (a) the quote must be relevant to your argument, (b) it needs to smoothly transition between what comes first and move to what comes later, (c), it must fit logically and make grammatical sense, and (d) it should be no longer than absolutely necessary.

When reproducing an author's word directly, it is extremely important to quote and cite.  Direct quotations with citation prevents plagiarism and gives the author credit for his/her work. The parenthetical cite should always contain the author's surname, the publication year of the work, and the page citation or paragraph number (for nonpaginated material).

Direct quotations can vary in length.  Quotes fewer than 40 words should be incorporated into the text of the paragraph.  Quotes comprised of 40 or more words, need to be formatted in block quotes.  (see APA, section 6.03, pp.170 - 173; and APA Style Blog, "How to Cite Direct Quotations" or APA Style Blog, "You Can Quote Me on This").

Short, direct quotes (less than 40 words):

Author and quote separated

Bell and Shank (2007) identify that "[a]t least one survey identified library instruction as the type of collaboration mentioned most frequently by librarians" (p.67).

Article retrieved online (see APA, section 6.05, p.171-172)

Price (2012) notes "[t]he results aren't huge, but apparently these laws have a real—and positive—effect on students' health" (para.4).

Author and quote together

"Design is designed in many ways.  By one definition it is the conscious examination of objects and processes to determine how they can be made better" (Bell & Shank, 2007, p. 23).

Article retrieved online (see APA, section 6.05, p.171-172)

"The books, sold in the United States, share a piece of a foreign culture, while profits are put back into the country the story came from" (Anthony, 2012, para. 2).


Long, block quotes (40 words or more):

Formatting rules:

• Indent the block quote five spaces or half an inch.
• Do not use quotation marks.
• Double space the quote unless your school has a rule about single spacing block quotes.
• Do not include any additional lines or spaces before or after the block quote.
• Notice that in block quotes, the period goes before the parentheses, not after.

Example:

Michelli (2007) uses the coffee chain, Starbucks, as example on how to become extraordinary.  He discusses in detail various principles he discovered during his research on the renowned company.  One of the principles focuses on "making it your own."  He writes,

Like most companies, Starbucks has wrestled with ways to invite its partners to fully engage their passions and talents everyday in every interaction at wor.  Simultaneously, the leadership has to ensure that individual partners' differences are blending into a generally uniform experience for customers.  Finding a balance between these two important, yet somtimes divergent, leadership responsibilities can be awkward.  Yet through its principle of Make It Your Own, Starbucks has succeeded in creating a unique model that encourages partners at all levels to pour their creative energy and dedication into everything they do. (p. 20)

This principle does not only apply to businesses; it can be part of anyone's personal beliefs.

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