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4 posts from November 2010

November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

 

 

Vintage-thanksgiving-cards-turkey-in-top-hat-with-restaurant-menus1
By Mary Lynn Skutley


Today we’d like to thank you, dear readers, for your interest in APA Style.  Learning style rules and  keeping all the nuances straight is a challenge.  But what really takes fortitude is nursing an idea, analyzing theory, conducting research, poring over data, and most of all, pounding out thoughts and connections and possibilities in a shaggy draft that is far from perfect. 

Thank you for taking that leap.  We appreciate the patience you show in studying and shaping and working what you’ve written into a well-formed repast. 

Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm for the small fixes and tricks that can transform a manuscript.  Over the past 16 months, you have challenged us to solve more than one ambiguity.  You make us look closely and question more.  We are most grateful for the privilege of working with you. 

November 18, 2010

How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

Perhaps the most common question we get about APA Style is “How do I cite a website?” or “How do I cite something I found on a website?”

First, to cite a website in general, but not a specific document on that website, see this FAQ.

Once you’re at the level of citing a particular page or document, the key to writing the reference list entry is to determine what kind of content the page has. The Publication Manual reference examples in Chapter 7 are sorted by the type of content (e.g., journal article, e-book, newspaper story, blog post), not by the location of that content in a library or on the Internet. The Manual shows both print- and web-based references for the different types of content.

What seems to flummox our readers is what to do when the content doesn’t fall into an easily defined area. Sometimes the most you can say is that you're looking at information on a page—some kind of article, but not a journal article. To explore this idea, imagine the Internet as a fried egg. The yolk contains easier to categorize content like journal articles and e-books. In that runny, nebulous white you’ll find the harder to define content, like blog posts, lecture notes, or maps. To wit, the egg:

The Internet as an egg (free egg image from www.clker.com, modified by APA)
Content in that egg white area may seem confusing to cite, but the template for references from this area is actually very simple, with only four pieces (author, date, title, and source):

Author, A. (date). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from http://URL

That format description in brackets is used only when the format is something out of the ordinary, such as a blog post or lecture notes; otherwise, it's not necessary. Some other example format descriptions are listed on page 186 of the Publication Manual.

 

Examples of Online References

Here’s an example (a blog post) in which we have all four necessary pieces of information (also see Manual example #76):

Freakonomics. (2010, October 29). E-ZPass is a life-saver (literally) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/e-zpass-is-a-life-saver-literally/

Sometimes, however, one or more of these four pieces is missing, such as when there is no identifiable author or no date. You can download a pdf chart here that lists all the permutations of information that might occur with an online reference and shows how to adapt the reference.

Here’s an example where no author is identified in this online news article:

All 33 Chile miners freed in flawless rescue. (2010, October 13). Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39625809/ns/world_news-americas/

And here’s an example for a webpage where no date is identified:

The College of William and Mary. (n.d.). College mission statement. Retrieved from http://www.wm.edu/about/administration/provost/mission/index.php

We have also covered example references for tweets and Facebook updates, press releases, interviews, wikipedia articles, and artwork in other blog posts. Thanks for reading!

November 11, 2010

Running Head Format for APA Style Papers

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

If you've ever been confused by what a running head is or wondered how to format one for an APA Style paper, read on.

A running head is a short title (50 characters or fewer, including spaces) that appears at the top of every page of your paper. The running head identifies the pages for the reader in case they get separated, and if you submit your paper for publication, it does this while preserving your anonymity during the review process. In published articles it also identifies the article for the reader at a glance.

Formatting Instructions

The running head (along with the page numbers) appears in the header of every page (the header by nature is situated within the top margin of your paper; all the margins themselves should be set to 1 inch). Type it in all capital letters, make sure it is no longer than 50 characters (including spaces), and left justify it. Then add your page numbers, right justified.

On the first page only, the running head is also preceded by the words Running head and a colon. On all other pages, just the running head itself and the page number appear, without the words Running head:. Our APA Style FAQ addresses how to set up a different header on the first page, and there are also instructions available on Microsoft’s webpage for Word 2003 and Word 2007 and 2010. If you use other word-processing software, please feel free to share links or instructions in the comments. Finally, you can see examples of the running head format in our APA Style sample papers.

If you've ever been confused by what a running head is or wondered how to format one for an APA Style paper, read on.

November 04, 2010

Dissertation Helpers



.rev3 by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

November seems to be Dissertation Deadline Month for many graduate students, judging by the inbox at [email protected]. If you’re writing a thesis or doctoral dissertation, APA has some tools that may help lighten the load.

First on the list is the APA Publication Manual (6th ed., 2010). Although its primary purpose is to provide guidelines for writers submitting manuscripts to scholarly journals, many graduate programs mandate it for students as well. You’ll find it a helpful guide to writing for the behavioral and social sciences, including the all-important reference list. However, many universities have their own preferences for the format of the title page, table of contents, and other items that are particular to academic papers, so the manual doesn’t cover them. Check with your dissertation advisor for the specific format prescribed by your institution.

Another excellent resource is Dissertations and Theses From Start to Finish: Psychology and Related Fields (2nd ed., 2006), by John D. Cone and Sharon L. Foster. The authors guide you on how to define your topics, select a faculty adviser, schedule time to accommodate the project, and conduct, analyze, write, present, and publish research. You’ll find answers to questions you may never have considered before, even after taking academic research courses.

Unfortunately, many writers get stuck in the Thesis Repulsor Field somewhere along the path to a PhD. If you can relate, you might need Finish Your Dissertation Once and for All! How to Overcome Psychological Barriers, Get Results, and Move on With Your Life (2008), by Alison B. Miller. Combining psychological support with a project management approach that breaks tasks into small, manageable chunks, Miller shows you how to overcome negativity and Get. It. Done.

Finally, even if you’ve already grabbed the golden ticket, there’s a high probability that you’ll need to do more writing in your chosen profession. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (2007), by Paul J. Silvia, puts readers firmly on course by deconstructing and flogging the behaviors that keep readers from achieving that goal. Silvia also shares detailed advice on how to write, submit, revise, and resubmit articles, how to improve writing quality, and how to write and publish academic work.

You can order all of these publications directly from our website (http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/) or the usual retailers (Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

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