Is a one page quote too much for a six page essay?  i found some material from an articles that supports my work well but the parts i nees amounts to one page  is that too much ?

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mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

In one word, yes.  Quotes are used to support ideas, but not take over the paper.  As a middle school teacher, I tried to get my students to think of quotes as the small amount you would use to show to a peer as proof of your ideas.  If they could understand what you were proving, then it was useful. If you can reduce the page to small pieces which you link directly to the essay statement you are supporting, you will be able to use parts of the page rather than the entire page.  In other words, reduce the page to the critical pieces attached to the critical points in your essay.  If you cannot, try this old trick.  Photocopy the quote page.  Cut out the sentences of the quote which relate to one idea and tape them onto the essay where they should fit. Then, cut out the next part of the quote which proves another part of your ideas and tape it to that part.  It sounds like a third grade answer, but it worked for my eighth graders and my college students.  Good luck with your effort to support your ideas.

howesk's profile pic

howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

A page of quoted material in a 6 page paper is definitely excessive. I would say you should try to paraphrase the majority of the material you consider relevant from your source. The only things that are absolutely necessary to quote are those phrases that cannot be said in any other way than the way the original author has said them. Maybe a particularly poignant image or a unique turn of phrase must be used to express a particular point- That is when you should use a direct quote!

Here are some tips on paraphrasing:

Read the information you want to include once. Wait 30 seconds. Try to state the major point of what you have read in your own words. Then, compare it with the original text. Are your sentences arranged the same way as the original author's? Do you use many of the same words? If so, try to revise the sentence so that your paraphrase is not in any way identical to the original passage, except for the idea it contains.

For more tips on paraphrasing, I've linked to a useful source from Purdue's Online Writing lab.

 

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

If your paper is only 6 pages long, then that quote would be 15% of the text -- and it isn't YOU!.  Good research uses sources like what you have found, and selects the most salient points to quote.  Once you have the quote or paraphrase, then YOU need to explain what you have written and connect it to whatever the topic of your paper is.  Your teacher wants to know what you think first and foremost -- not what other people think.  Your essay needs to reflect you -- not be a summary of others. 

If this is a literary analysis paper, consider the idea and  examples from your source, but then also discuss additional examples that you found in the text. 

On a side note, be sure that you use proper documentation of ANY ideas that come from outside sources, whether you use direct quotations or paraphrases.  Just putting someone else's idea into your own words does not make the idea yours -- that is still plagiarism. 

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