Answered By: Theresa Bell
Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017     Views: 1461

If you're providing a quotation in a paper, you need to provide a citation, even if the quotation is well-known. Please make sure that you’re using a reputable source for the quotation, such as the published transcript of a speech given by the individual or something the person in question actually wrote. If you are having trouble locating a source, please contact the Librarians as they may be able to assist you. There are many websites that provide quotations; however, the sites simply provide the quotations and don’t usually check whether or not the quotation is correct. For example, many people attribute the phrase “be the change you want to see in the world” to Mahatma Gandhi. The problem is that he never actually said that phrase (see Morton's (2011) "Falser Words Were Never Spoken" in The New York Times), so attributing the phrase to him in an essay would be factually incorrect. When you're doing academic research, the expectation is that you're being sufficiently diligent to ensure that your information is correct. Since websites that compile quotations usually aren't reliable sources of information, please avoid them in your research; instead, go to a reputable source for the quotation. 


Morton, B. (2011, August 30). Falser words were never spoken. The New York Times. Retrieved from