I liked the questions on various surveys I examined. Rather than paraphrasing, I want to copy some of them directly, and use them in my survey, which is required for my dissertation.

What do you suggest to me, should I cite them or put in quotes, which I believe would be too awkward.

  • What kind of questions are they? If it's a general question then it's fine to use as many surveys use the same questions. If it's specific then it may need a citation.
    – Memj
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:44
  • like "what you read on Facebook" news, friends messages etc. Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:46
  • 1
    @tumledrive I don't think anyone can claim intellectual ownership of the question "what do you read on Facebook".
    – Davidmh
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


Perhaps, it's somewhat dependent on the field, but, AFAIK, in social sciences this situation is very typical. Nobody places questions in quotes, of course, however, a set of questions (questionnaire), which is usually referred to as an instrument, is cited. Such an approach is usually applied, when researchers use some reasonably well-known or validated instruments, or, at least, the ones from peer-reviewed studies. They are placed in appendices and are cited, based on guidelines of the publication style used in the paper in question.


I think that's a very good question to ask your advisor, in fact I think it's very important that you do so. If the advisor says it's ok, you can hardly be held up for plagiarism, and if not, then you don't want to do it anyway.

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