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5 posts from March 2013

March 28, 2013

Punctuation Junction: Commas and Semicolons

Chelsea profileby Chelsea Lee

Punctuation Junction: A series about what happens when punctuation marks collide.

Commas and semicolons separate parts Trafficof sentences from one another. Although each mark has plenty of uses on its own, there are several more complex scenarios in which the marks are used together. Learn how to avoid grammar gridlock by following the punctuation guidelines shown below.

1. Separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction (and, or, but, etc.) with commas; separate independent clauses not joined by a conjunction with semicolons. Use commas within clauses as needed. 

  • Correct: Some errors are more major than others; for instance, calling a tiger a mouse is a larger error than calling a tiger a lion, and adults may be less forgiving of large errors than small ones.
  • Incorrect: Some errors are more major than others, for instance, calling a tiger a mouse is a larger error than calling a tiger a lion, and adults may be less forgiving of large errors than small ones.

2. Separate items in a list with commas; however, if any item already contains commas, separate the items with semicolons. 

  • Correct: Even in families where books are absent, leaflets and magazines offer text-based information about consumables and services; e-mails and text messages can give information on the whereabouts, plans, and activities of friends; and computers may be used to find out about films or prices of consumables and holidays.
  • Incorrect: Even in families where books are absent, leaflets and magazines offer text-based information about consumables and services, e-mails and text messages can give information on the whereabouts, plans, and activities of friends, and computers may be used to find out about films or prices of consumables and holidays.

3. Separate multiple citations within one set of parentheses with semicolons; separate author(s) and date within citations with commas. 

  • Correct: Recent research in developmental psychology has explored this issue, often using the term selective trust to describe the ability to distinguish who should be trusted from who should not (e.g., Bergstrom, Moehlmann, & Boyer, 2006; Clément, 2010; Harris & Corriveau, 2011; Harris & Koenig, 2006; Heyman, 2008; Heyman & Legare, in press; Koenig & Harris, 2005).
  • Incorrect: Recent research in developmental psychology has explored this issue, often using the term selective trust to describe the ability to distinguish who should be trusted from who should not (e.g., Bergstrom Moehlmann & Boyer 2006, Clément 2010, Harris & Corriveau 2011, Harris & Koenig 2006, Heyman 2008, Heyman & Legare in press, Koenig & Harris 2005).

For more on how commas and semicolons are used independently, see Publication Manual §4.03 and §4.04. Keep an eye out for more Punctuation Junction posts coming soon!

***

Examples 1 and 3 adapted from “Knowing When to Doubt: Developing a Critical Stance When Learning From Others,” by C. M. Mills, 2013, Developmental Psychology, pp. 404, 406. Copyright 2013 by the American Psychological Association.

Example 2 adapted from “Reading to Learn: Prereaders’ and Early Readers’ Trust in Text as a Source of Knowledge,” by E. J. Robinson, S. Einav, & A. Fox, 2013, Developmental Psychology, p. 512. Copyright 2013 by the American Psychological Association.

March 21, 2013

Punctuation Junction: Periods and Parentheses

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

Punctuation Junction: A series about what happens when punctuation marks collide.

On their own, periods and parentheses aren’t too hard to use: Put a period at the end of a sentence; put material that’s helpful but not crucial to the main text inside parentheses.

But to use these two punctuation marks effectively in combination takes a little more finesse. Here are a few scenarios:

1. When part of a sentence falls inside parentheses and part falls outside, the period goes outside.

  • Correct: Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical).
  • Incorrect: Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical.)

The period is a strong punctuation mark—think of it as controlling the action in the sentence, which occurs outside the parentheses.

Confused streets

2. When a whole sentence falls inside parentheses, the period goes inside.

  • Correct: (Several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular.)
  • Incorrect: (Several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular).

Again, the period is strong and governs the main part of the sentence. Because the whole sentence is inside parentheses, the period goes with it.

3. These two approaches are incompatible.

  • Incorrect: Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical. Several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular.).

Parentheses cannot enclose part of one sentence plus an additional whole sentence. If you follow one punctuation principle, then you violate the other; if you follow both principles (as shown above), you wind up with three periods for only two sentences—also an unworkable result. If you follow neither principle, you leave the reader hanging because one sentence has no ending punctuation.

Instead, there are three ways to allow the two approaches to work in parallel. 

You can separate the statements into separate sets of parentheses:

  • Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical). (Several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular.

Rewrite the parenthetical so that it consists of one sentence rather than two:

  • Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical; several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular).

Or drop one set of parentheses:

  • Students completed several psychology courses (social, personality, and clinical). Several other courses were offered, but they were not as popular.

Keep an eye out for more Punctuation Junction posts coming soon!

March 14, 2013

Finding Federal Statutes

Melissa.photo

 

 

 

by Melissa

Legal research is a different type of beast. The skilled hunter of psychology data may need a guide when tracking down information for an APA Style reference to a federal statute. This blog post is your guide to tracking down the text of a federal statute and the statute’s name, title number, section number, and year. Happy hunting!

The sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual states that the United States Code is the official source for federal statutes. Where can I find a copy of it?
If you can’t get your hands on a printed copy of the United States Code, there’s an exact copy of the code on the Government Printing Office’s (GPO’s) website (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html).

According to the 19th edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, the PDF version of the code on the GPO website can be cited as if it were the printed copy. However, for some information, it is helpful to consult a printed copy of the code.

Printed copies of the United States Code may be found in any law library. Some law schools and some state and local government offices have law libraries that are open to the public. Try an Internet search to find one near you.

You also may find a printed copy of the code in one of the Government Printing Office’s (GPO’s) federal depository libraries. Check the Federal Depository Library public page on the GPO website to find a federal depository library near you (http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp).

 

How do I find the official name of a statute?
The official name can be found in the text of the statute. Search the first few subsections of the statute to find the name. The words Short Title usually appear before the official name of the statute. Remember, not all statutes have names.

In the screenshot below, the name of the statute, National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, is under the heading Short Title, in section 4321.

NEP.code.page

 

If I know the name of a statute, but not the title or section numbers, how can I find them?
Use the Popular Name Tool on the U.S. House of Representatives website at http://uscode.house.gov/popularnames/popularnames.htm to find the title number, section numbers, and section in which the name of the statute can be found.

A search for the National Environmental Policy Act yields the following results:

NEP.popular.name.page
The results show that the statute can be found in Title 42 of the United States Code, beginning at section 4321; the short title (name) of the statute can be found in Title 42, section 4321 note. Confirm this information by consulting your copy of the United States Code.

 

How do I find the right year to use in the reference?
The edition year should come from, in order of preference, the spine of the volume of the United States Code that you are using, the year on the title page of the volume, or the latest copyright year.

 

List of Research Resources
Federal depository libraries: http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp
PDF copy of the United States Code: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/uscode/index.html
Popular Name Tool: http://uscode.house.gov/popularnames/popularnames.htm

 

March 07, 2013

Fonts of Knowledge

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

The font you choose for your manuscript has a direct impact on readability. Although your word-processing program may come with hundreds of possible fonts, only a few of them are needed for an APA Style manuscript.

  • For all text (including tables and the reference list), authors should use a serif typeface, because it improves readability. The preferred font is Times New Roman, 12 point.
  • For any text in figures, authors should use a sans serif typeface, because the clean and simple lines enhance the figure’s visual presentation. The preferred font is either Arial, Futura, or Helvetica, and font size may range from 8 to 14 points.

Uniform font guidelines not only improve the experience of reading the manuscript for editors and reviewers but also allow editors to estimate the length of a manuscript. Subtle adjustments to font face or size could otherwise add or subtract up to several pages from the overall manuscript length.

Drafts Versus Published Versions

Note that the font specifications for draft  Fancy letter Amanuscripts are usually different from those used for publication (e.g., published APA articles use a different typeface, smaller font size, closer line spacing, and a two-column arrangement). This occurs because other factors such as cost influence the typesetting specifications.

For more on how to prepare your manuscript for publication, see section 8.03 (pp. 228–231) of the APA Publication Manual, as well as section 5.25 (p. 161) for information on the preparation of figures. 

March 01, 2013

How to Cite a Mobile App

Chelsea blog 2

by Chelsea Lee APA Concise Dictionary

Mobile applications, or apps, are a type of software 
that runs on devices such as smartphones and tablet computers (such as iPhones, iPads, and Androids) as well as web browsers (such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox). Apps serve a multitude of purposes, from entertaining you while you wait in line to providing you a way to look up medical information without having to lug around a stack of books. 

When you use information from an app in a paper, cite the app in APA Style. The general citation format is as follows:

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Note that the rightsholder may be an individual but is often a group or company, as shown below, and that the date reflects the year the version you used was released, even though previous versions may have been released in different years.

Here is an example citation for a whole app:

Skyscape. (2013). Skyscape Medical Resources (Version 1.17.42) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com

If the app is a reference work (like a dictionary, encyclopedia, or medical reference), it’s also possible to cite an entry in the app, just like you can cite an entry in a print or electronic reference work. The title of the entry goes at the beginning of the reference, followed by the year that version of the app was released and then information about the app itself.

Here is an example citation for an entry in a reference work app:

Diabetes. (2013). In Epocrates Essentials for Apple iOS (Version 5.1) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://www.epocrates.com/mobile/iphone/essentials

For further information and more examples of not only apps but all sorts of electronic references, check out the APA Style Guide to Electronic References (pp. 28–30). 

 

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