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MLA Style (8th/9th Ed.)

Citing Indirect Sources

Do your best to locate the original source to quote from; this is preferred to quoting a secondhand source. 

Sometimes, however, only an indirect source is available - for example, an author's published account of someone's spoken remarks.  If what you quote or paraphrase is itself a quotation, put the abbreviation qtd. in ("quoted in") before the indirect source you cite in your parenthetical reference. (You may wish to clarify the relation between the original and secondhand sources in a note.)"  (MLA Handbook, 8th ed. p. 124)


Lawrence Christy remarked that Lindsay Ryan had a "unique style of debate" (qtd. in Anderson 107).

For your list of works cited, give the indirect source (Anderson) not the source quoted (Christy).

Indirect source example: 

Original authors (or indirect source - who your authors are quoting): Botan and McCreadie

Your authors (or secondary source - where you found quote): Kizza and Ssanyu

In-text citation example:

Researchers Botan and McCreadie point out that “workers are objects of information collection without participating in the process of exchanging the information” (qtd. in Kizza and Ssanyu 14).

Works Cited

Kizza, Joseph Migga and Jackline Ssanyu.“Workplace Surveillance.”  Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace: Controversies  and Solutions. Ed. John Weckert. Idea Group Pub, 2005. Hershey, PA.

Paraphrasing an indirect quote?

Do not do this, 'indirect paraphrasing’ is bad writing practice; at worst you will lose marks at best you will confuse your reader.

Why is it bad writing practice?

  • it assumes the source you found the quote in was not misunderstanding or misrepresenting the indirect source
  • it assumes you can read the mind of a writer based on a single phrase or small portion of their writing
  • it assumes your paraphrasing will be an accurate reflection of the original author's meaning

Good writing is not based on assumptions.

Learning to integrate quotes well in combination with your own ideas and opinions will make you a better writer.