Documenting Using the APA Citation Method
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the reference book that explains the rules and guidelines of APA style.
What is it?
According to their website, APA editorial style was first developed by social scientists who wished to establish a common standard clarity of communication. To achieve uniformity, APA Style has rules for formatting pages, using punctuation, using headers, using headings within the paper, citing references, and creating a Reference page.
Who uses it?
Scholars and professionals in the psychology, nursing, business, education, and other social science fields primarily use APA Style writing. It is a good idea for instructors teaching composition courses to integrate lectures in APA into the semester schedule and allow students majoring in fields which require APA to utilize this method for their work in the course. The second form of Chicago style, the author-date system, closely resembles APA and is used commonly by the social sciences, biological sciences, and lab sciences.
APA has specific guidelines for not only citing sources used in a research paper, but also formatting page layout and using stylistic techniques for using quotations, writing an abstract, and using headings.
Knowing how to format quotations borrowed from secondary sources is essential in avoiding plagiarism. APA style addresses how to use and cite both long quotations and short quotations.
A Reference page is located at the end of a research paper for readers to use as a reference to learn more about the sources used in the in-text citations. Just as the APA calls for specific layout of a research paper, there are also formatting rules for the Reference page.
How do I . . .
Format my page for APA?
make a title page for APA?
make an abstract for APA?
do the headings for APA?
do a Reference page in APA?
I would like to see . . .
an example title page for APA.
an example of an abstract for APA.
an example of a research paper in APA format.
Have other APA questions?
The Bedford/St. Martins Research and Documentation Online is a well-organized website with drop-down menus that take you directly the APA information you need.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab website is also an often used go-to site for APA questions. Students can also submit work to the OWL for review and feedback. Just make sure they are aware that the OWL can take several days to respond to a request.
A Pocket Style Manual, also known as the Hacker Handbook provides a handy, spiral reference for students for on the spot answers to questions regarding APA style methods for formatting and citation.
Teaching APA citation methods in the classroom and online is essential for student success. Although a reference guide such as the Hacker Handbook can be useful, students will need additional direction in how to find the correct citation method for a particular source. Group work is an excellent way to incorporate this lesson into the classroom lecture. Simply provide a variety of sources and ask the students to identify and choose the correct citation form for each source. This works well in group learning, where stronger students can be paired with weaker students to facilitate learning.