Cheers, I am writing a thesis using secondary data and need to report on the sampling methods used to collect the data. Am I allowed to verbatim state what is listed in the study documentation? It is fairly complex and thus paraphrasing it changes the meaning.

  • This is all indeed helpful. Say I actually copy and pasted paragraphs from the documentation and sprinkled it throughout the thesis. I want to be honest about this and wonder how the best way to do that is? I have seen other thesis that copy verbatim but do not say they did (but do cite it once). That's another question I have. Do I need to cite the data source more than once? I have a few pages on it but it seems not right to cite it in every paragraph.
    – victoria
    Dec 10, 2018 at 21:33
  • Your advisor should probably be able to offer concrete advice having looked at precisely what you intend to copy. He or she is probably familiar with what is considered acceptable.
    – Buffy
    Dec 10, 2018 at 21:53
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    – ff524
    Dec 10, 2018 at 22:16

3 Answers 3


It isn't plagiarism, but it may be a copyright violation. Plagiarism is claiming that something is due to yourself that is actually due to another. Your citation covers that. But it may still not be proper to quote it at too much length. Laws on that (copyright) vary by location. Look for any stated license on the work or contact the publisher to be sure.


Proper way to handle that would be to say you've used the methodology of Dude et al. (20XX), which you have reproduced here for convenience. That wouldn't violate any copyright. You dont need the their publisher's permission every time you quote someone. It only matters if you're using a published figure.

  • 1
    I think your statement "It only matters if you're using a published figure." is incorrect and possibly dangerous if the advice is followed. Some text can be quoted, but there are limits. "Here I have reproduced chapter 3 of Dune for convenience." Boom. Lawsuit. Don't give permissive legal advice if you are not a lawyer.
    – Buffy
    Dec 10, 2018 at 21:47

If you are copying large chunks of material verbatim, and paraphrasing won't work, then you should give a direct quote with citation to the source and page number. If the volume of material is too large for a block quote, or if you plan to refer to chunks of the text over and over again, it might be easier to add the entire document as an attachment in the appendix of your own work, and then refer to the parts you need with citation (but without giving the quote) in the body of your work.

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