A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

2016 Aaron Swartz Best Webtext Award Winners

First Place
In Literary Criticism: An Introduction, Angela Eward-Mangione defines literary criticism and offers short definitions and examples for a wide array of critical lenses, including New Criticism, structuralism, deconstructionism, and post-structuralism, biographical approaches, reader-response theory, psychological criticism, feminist (gender studies) criticism, new historical/cultural materialist lenses, and Marxist, Ethical, and Post-Colonial critiques. With each approach, Angela provides key terms, examples, and questions to ask; this webtext could help students analyze texts in literature classes or creative writing classes. Angela Eward-Mangione  is currently a full-time faculty member in English at Hillsborough Community College.

The two second place winners
In “Audiovisual Presentations Made Easy(-ier): Tips for Creating an Effective PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote,” Jonathan Arnett provides practical advice for developing a presentation. Arnett walks through the use of contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, color, typeface, audio, animation, and backgrounds. There is also helpful advice on body posture and efficient use of notes during a presentation. This presentation would be incredibly helpful in any presentation class.

The Business Writing section welcomes a new, foundational piece to its collection: Usability and User Experience Research. Written by experienced usability researcher and practitioner Guiseppe Getto out of East Carolina University, this webtext provides a sound introduction not only to the field of user experience (UX) design but moreover to the main concepts undergirding its variegated practices, which rely on a complex series of research methods. This piece is great for readers unfamiliar with the topic of usability who are looking for an overview of its practices and reliable resources to get started.

When should a block quotation be used?

A block quotation is an extract consisting of more than 40 words from another author’s work. Block quotations should be used in moderation, typically when using another writer’s words is a more effective way of illustrating an idea. Avoid using block quotations excessively as this practice gives the reader the impression that you are inexperienced in the subject or are simply filling pages to meet a word count requirement.

How should a block quotation be formatted?

While a short quotation is enclosed in quotation marks and integrated into the surrounding paragraph, a block quotation is an independent paragraph that is indented five spaces from the left margin. This type of quotation should be double-spaced like the rest of the paper, but it should not be enclosed in quotation marks. In a block quotation, the parenthetical in-text citation should follow directly after the end punctuation of the final sentence. Note the placement order of the quotation marks, parentheses, and period.

Let's look at two examples:

  • One researcher outlines the viewpoints of both parties:

Freedom of research is undoubtedly a cherished ideal in our society. In that respect research has an interest in being free, independent and unrestricted. Such interests weigh against regulations. On the other hand, research should also be valid, verifiable, and unbiased, to attain the overarching goal of gaining obtaining [sic] generalisable knowledge. (Simonsen, 2012, p. 46) [1]

Note that although the block quotation is formatted as a separate block of text, it is preceded by an introductory phrase or sentence(s) followed by a colon. If the author’s name and the year of publication appear in the introductory sentence, the parenthetical in-text citation at the end of the paragraph should simply include the page number(s) of the original text, as shown in this example:

  • Simonsen (2012) outlines the two opposing viewpoints:

Freedom of research is undoubtedly a cherished ideal in our society. In that respect research has an interest in being free, independent and unrestricted. Such interests weigh against regulations. On the other hand, research should also be valid, verifiable, and unbiased, to attain the overarching goal of gaining obtaining [sic] generalisable knowledge. (p. 46)

For more information about using quotations, see also:


 [1] Simonsen, S. (2012). Acceptable risk in biomedical research. New York, NY: Springer