By offering a mix of quotation and your own analysis, your writing will present your ideas as well-informed and authoritative analysis, rather than as a descriptive 'collage' of the primary texts.
There is guidance on how to present quotations and reference both primary and secondary sources in the Faculty's notes for guidance on portfolios and dissertations. However, you should also ensure that you integrate any quotations smoothly into your own writing, so that they become an organic part of it.
- In order to combine the evidence with your analysis, a quotation will commonly be included within a sentence of your own; a quotation that stands grammatically on its own may not be effectively commented on or interpreted. Any quotation, whether partial or a whole sentence, should fit with your own syntax. This may be particularly tricky with quotations in different languages, including Middle English, where the grammar is not the same as your own modern English. You may need to change your own sentence structure so that the quotation fits, or alter the quotation slightly so that it can be accommodated into your syntax.
- If you change the quotation, it should not substantially alter the meaning, and any changes must be signaled in square brackets.
- These changes might include a small omission [...] or change in verb, number or personal pronoun. If the quotation originally includes the beginning of a sentence, but is included halfway through your own sentence, you should change its capital letter to a lower case one.
- If a quotation is not integrated as part of your syntax, then your own sentence should be grammatically complete, and the quotation should be introduced with a colon.
Smith summarizes this view: 'the novel is a significant [...] landmark in eighteenth century literature'. Her view of this text is true of all novels of the period, they provide 'fascinating record[s] of the tastes of a generation' (Smith, The Novel, p. 47).