I have a text which I would like to quote. However, the particular section of the text in which I am interested cites but does not directly quote another author. Do I need an indirect citation, and if so what form would that take?

For example: I want to quote the following out of Jones' paper:

Students are found to become more politically active in college (Smith).

Do I cite it as:

A) "Students are found to become more politically active in college" (Jones).

B) "Students are found to become more politically active in college" (Smith qtd. in Jones).

C) Something else entirely?

A similar question was asked here, but the last part was never answered: MLA: citing indirect sources w/o quoting

1 Answer 1



You need to find the text the author is citing and cite it directly.

If the actual statement is as vague as your example (I realize you may simply be using a generic example as a placeholder), you'll want to expand on it as well. It's not enough to state the general result of a study. You need to define your terms and explain it. This means finding the original.

You can do an indirect cite only in cases where the original is impossible to find or where the original is a document only the author who cited it could have access to (a personal letter or email, for example).

This gives you a citation that might look like this:

In a 2013 study of American higher education, students were twice as likely to volunteer for a political campaign in college as they were in high school. (Full Smith cite)

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