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I am trying to quote a full paragraph in my PhD dissertation. The problem is that this paragraph contains some citations. What should I do?

  • Copy the paragraph with all citations, putting the references in my list of references?
  • Copy the paragraph with all citations without putting the references in my list of references?
  • Copy the paragraph without the citations, indicating omissions by "..."?
  • Any other ideas?
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  • 1
    I took the liberty of editing your question. I am unclear on what you meant by "Copy and paste the whole paragraph with all citations and refer only to the paper that I am quoting from?", so please feel free to change where my edits made stuff worse. Also: it might be good if you could indicate your fields, as writing styles and guidelines may vary between fields. Apr 30 '15 at 17:52
  • Stephan Kolassa, Appreciate your effort for the editing. Yes, that's exactly what I meant in my inquiry.
    – Ali Sultan
    May 2 '15 at 5:49
  • By the way, I am studying in the civil & environmental engineering department and doing a research on the bridge's management. The quoted paragraph about 15 lines in length and contains 6 citations. Is it appropriate to quote a paragraph in this length?
    – Ali Sultan
    May 2 '15 at 6:02
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I assume that the citations in this paragraph are not material to your dissertation. I also assume that they are also not material to the quoted paragraph. If so, then you can omit the citations and note that you have done so by adding "[citations omitted]" immediately after the quoted paragraph.

For example, if this is the original quote:

"Counterfactuals are thus temporally asymmetric: Events in the counterfactual world prior to the antecedent would be more similar than would subsequent events to those of the actual world (e.g., Edgington, 2004; Lewis, 1979). This asymmetry may be related to the finding that people have an easier time imagining counterfactual alternatives to later events in a sequence than to earlier events (Miller & Gunasegaram, 1990). The earlier events seem fixed, the later events more mutable, at least when no further relations constrain them (see Byrne, 2005; Kahneman & Miller, 1986; Parker & Tetlock, 2006)."

You could quote it this way:

Counterfactuals are thus temporally asymmetric: Events in the counterfactual world prior to the antecedent would be more similar than would subsequent events to those of the actual world. This asymmetry may be related to the finding that people have an easier time imagining counterfactual alternatives to later events in a sequence than to earlier events. The earlier events seem fixed, the later events more mutable, at least when no further relations constrain them." [citations omitted]

EDIT By "material to the dissertation or quoted paragraph", I mean cases where the citations are important or central, and leaving them out would leave a void for the reader. For example, let's say your dissertation chapter was a comparison of two rival theories, and your quotation made specific points about one or two of the prime authors of those theories. It would then be material and including the citations in the quote would be valuable to the reader. Another case: let's say your quotation was a commentary on what one or more authors said or did. Leaving out the citations would make it ambiguous for the reader as to what source material your quotation referred to.

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  • However, don`t forget to put a citation for the paragraph itself. May 2 '15 at 5:31
  • MrMeritology, Thank you so much for your clarification. But, honestly, still confused what do you mean by " not material to either my dissertation or to the quoted paragraph".
    – Ali Sultan
    May 2 '15 at 6:02
  • @AliSultan I edited my answer to clarify. May 2 '15 at 21:05
  • As far as I understand from your edit that it is recommended to cite the other citations in the paragraph beside the one that I originally quoted from, right?
    – Ali Sultan
    May 2 '15 at 23:09
  • @AliSultan No, that's not what I'm saying. Either: A) omit the citations; or B) include citations in the quoted paragraph. A) is the option that fits most circumstances. Under rare circumstances where citations are "material", the choose option B). In option B) you must also include these in your bibliography. May 2 '15 at 23:34

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