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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)

APA Style Template for Website References 

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 https://URL

 

In text: (Author, year)

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.  

It is permissible to leave hyperlinks live in reference list entries. 

 

Example of a Website Reference With All Information Present

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/

 

In text: (Freakonomics, 2010)

 

Examples of Website References With Missing Information

Sometimes, however, one or more of these four pieces is missing, such as when there is no identifiable author or no date. For each piece of missing information there is a way to adapt the APA Style reference. 

Here’s an example where no author is identified in this online news article (the title moves to the author position):

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

 

In text: ("All 33 Chile Miners Freed," 2010)

And here’s an example for a webpage where no date is identified (the letters n.d., which stand for no date, are substituted in place of a year):

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

 

In text: (The College of William & Mary, n.d.)

 

Over the years we have also covered example references for tweets and Facebook updates, press releases, interviews, wikipedia articles, and artwork in other blog posts. We recommend that you search the blog for your reference type if you are still unsure of how to create the reference. 

For a complete explanation of how to create website references no matter how much information you have, read this post on "missing pieces" and download our chart here: How to Adapt APA Style References When Information Is Missing. This chart can be used for educational puposes provided that credit is given to the American Psychological Association. 

Thanks for reading! 

 

November 11, 2010

Running Head Format for APA Style Papers


Chelsea blog 2 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. 

What Is a Running Head?

A running head is a short title that appears at the top of every page of your paper in the page header. 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 (that is why the running head is a short title and not your name). In published articles the running head also identifies the article for the reader at a glance.

The length of the running head should be 50 characters or fewer, including spaces and other punctuation marks. If your paper title is already 50 characters or fewer, you can use the paper title as the running head. Otherwise, you can shorten your paper title however you want. Here is an example: 

Paper title:

What Do Undergraduates Learn About Human Intelligence? An Analysis of Introductory Psychology Textbooks

 

Running head:

UNDERGRADUATE LEARNING ABOUT INTELLIGENCE

Formatting Instructions

The running head appears in the header of every page along with the page number. (The header by nature is situated within the top margin of your paper; all the margins themselves should be set to 1 inch.) On the first page of the paper only, the running head is 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 label Running head:.

These requirements mean you will probably need to set your word-processing program to have a different header on the first page. If you use APA Style CENTRAL to write your papers, the page header and running head will be formatting automatically for you.

If you use Microsoft Word to write your papers, you will have to take a few steps to get a different first page header. The basic premise in Microsoft Word is that you will click into the header of the paper, go to the Header & Footer Tools menu, and then click "Different First Page." 

Running head setup

Once you have set your paper to have a different first page header in Microsoft Word, follow these directions to set up the header on the first page of the paper: 

  • Add a page number using the automatic page numbering function.
  • Put the page number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • In the header, type the label Running head: (not in italic, with only the "R" capitalized), and then type the running head itself in all capital letters, making sure it is no longer than 50 characters (including spaces and other punctuation).
  • Place the cursor between the end of the running head and the page number and hit the tab key to left justify the running head while leaving the page number right justified.
  • If necessary, change the font in the header to 12-point Times New Roman. 

The first page header will look like this: 

The header of a Microsoft Word document, page 1

 

On the second page of the paper, repeat the process of inserting the page number and running head into the page header, except do not include the label Running head. The header on the second and subsequent pages will look like this:

The header of a Microsoft Word document, page 2

The page header should now be correctly formatted for APA Style on all pages of your paper. You can also see examples of the running head format in our APA Style sample papers.

Other Directions and Running Head Template

The screenshots in this post are from Word 2016; if you are using another version of Microsoft Word, follow these directions from Microsoft to set up the header. If you use other word-processing software, please feel free to share links or instructions in the comments. 

I've also created a running head template for Word you can download that has the running head set up for you already.

 

Please note this post has been updated as of May 9, 2018, to include instructions for newer versions of Microsoft Word as well as to show more examples and provide a template.

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 styleexpert@apastyle.org. 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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