I am working on a paper. In this paper, I'm talking about how poverty affects African-Americans. I found this great article in which the author talks about poverty and how it is related to mental illness. She cites another article in which the author said that African-Americans in poverty are more adversely affected by said illness. I want to include this research in my essay, but my college library doesn't carry the journal that said article is in.


According to the MLA guidelines, it is advisable to refer to primary sources. However, there are situations when one is not able to access direct sources and have to refer to indirect sources.

Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. For example:

Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" (qtd. in Weisman 259).

(quoted from here)

Some of the other sources where you could find examples are here and here.

If your college library does not have access to the primary source, you could try looking online to see if you can find a copy. Alternatively, consider writing to the authors to see if they are willing to e-mail a copy to you. Your librarian might also be able to help you secure a copy. If nothing works, you can always cite indirectly like above.

Hope this answers your question.

  • What if Weisman never actually quoted Ravitch, just cited his document as a source? – moonman239 May 17 '15 at 3:28

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