Applying APA Style and Other Tips for Writing a Research Paper

this screencast will guide you through formatting a paper in APA style using an APA template that I’ve created the first thing you want to do is visit the writing studio website which as you see here is Kaiser Wright’s wordpress.com then you’re going to hover over the resources tab then students and then you’ll click on the APA guide link this page includes a number of useful handouts and links regarding APA the first thing you’ll want to do is read this brief introduction about APA it explains what APA is and what it’s used for then underneath the handout section you can click on research paper template and content guide that’s going to open a word document that looks like this now this document is already formatted in APA style in other words the margins the font the spacing all of that is taken care of for you what you need to do is replace the content here with your own so first you’re going to change this to your title and then change this to your name you can leave the name of the university here if your instructor requires any other information on your cover page such as the day – the name of the class your professors name then feel free to add that to your heading as well but otherwise these are the only three elements that APA requires the other thing that you’ll notice on the cover page is the running head the running head it needs to repeat on every page of your paper it should repeat automatically however page one needs to look different than the rest of the pages page one will say running head with a colon and then it will have the title of your paper typed in all caps along with a corresponding page number if you look at page two it no longer says running head it has only the title of your paper in all caps along with the corresponding page number that’s the way it should look on the rest of the pages what this means is that we’re going to need to fix the running head here twice on this template on page one and on page two so in order to enter this header space you want to just kind of double click in that area and then all we need to do is erase the letters that you see in caps and also in all caps type your title whatever it whatever that may be now if you have a long title here for you’re heading you want to write a shorter version of that for your running head if your title was short to begin with then you can just leave it the same in order to leave this space we want to double-click underneath this blue line and then we’re going to move on to page two where there was no change so once again double click in there going to erase the sample title and type our new title then double click underneath the blue line once again and now you’ll see that page one says running head with your title and page two no longer says running head but does have your new title along with all subsequent pages of your paper so that takes care of both the heading and the running head we’re going to move down to page two and what you’ll see here is a page for what we call the abstract you may or may not be required to write an abstract for any given assignment so verify with your professor whether or not you need an abstract if you do need an abstract you’re going to leave the word abstract here as it is and start typing here without indenting every paragraph of your paper needs to have an indentation except for the abstract so if you look at the next page all paragraphs should begin with this space which is half an inch and you obtain that half an inch space by using the tab key so let’s go back to the abstract an abstract is simply a one-page summary of your entire paper so if you’re required to do one you’ll want to actually write the paper first and then write the abstract at the end that way you know exactly what it is that you’re summarizing so take a moment to read through this and then go ahead and use this space for your abstract if you do not need an abstract then you’re going to delete all of this and move page three up to page two making sure that the title of your paper lands right here in the very first line where you’re allowed to actually type you don’t want any quadruple spacing everything is already double-spaced so this may be either page three or page two depending on whether or not you need an abstract now keep in mind that this document is not just a template it’s also a content guide so you will want to read through this if you have not written extensive research papers before because this document will give you very solid idea of what it takes to write a strong research paper so for instance this first paragraph which would be the introductory paragraph in your paper talks about how to write a strong introduction it also talks about choosing a topic making sure that it’s narrow and specific enough and how to write a strong thesis statement with a sample thesis statement at the end so make sure to read through that in order to have an idea of how to write a good introductory paragraph subsequent paragraphs in this document talk about writing strong supporting paragraphs which we also call body paragraphs they also talk about writing good topic sentences or transition sentences and you have examples here that correlate with the sample thesis so once again you’ll just want to read through this carefully and get a good idea of how to write a strong introduction and strong body paragraphs that support your argument this section of the paper here simply explains how to use subtitles if you choose to use subtitles you do not have to use subtitles in an APA style paper but if the paper is particularly lengthy you may want to so take a look at this if you choose to use subtitles in your paper you also want to read through this document to get a good idea of how to incorporate research into your paper how to make it flow seamlessly with your own ideas there’s actually a sample body paragraph within the content guide so you’ll want to take a look at that as well starting on page 7 of the document I explained how to do in-text citations this is very important because this is where you give credit to your sources and let your reader know where you got your information and if you’re not doing the in-text citations correctly if you don’t know exactly where to put them or when to use them then you’re probably going to plagiarize unintentionally and there are serious consequences for plagiarism so you want to make sure that you have a good grasp of how to use in-text citations you can use in-text citations for one of two things for paraphrasing or for quoting so paraphrasing is when you take information from a source but you put it in your own words and a quoting word-for-word just means that you’re taking the exact words you’re taking something for Batum from the original source in either case you to give credit to the source so even if you put it in your own words that’s not your information it’s still somebody else’s intellectual property so you still are required to include a citation it’s important to remember that a citation needs to be placed with any sentence that takes information from a source so if you have two sentences back-to-back that both take information from sources even if both sentences took information from the exact same source technically according to APA you would need to include a citation with both of those sentences so twice now if you find that you have a lot of sentences back-to-back that require citations then that probably means that you do not have enough original thought in your paper a research paper needs to include a thesis statement which states an argument and you’re arguing something that is your own idea it’s either your analysis your opinion you need to make sure that you’re backing that up with your resources and that your resources aren’t the entire paper so there’s a big difference between what we call writing a report and writing a research paper if your instructor is asking you to write something that does not require any original thought or analysis or opinion from you then that is what we would call a report and if they’re requiring for you to use APA style in a report then yes most of your sentences will require citations but APA was actually created for use in research papers and studies for the most part so technically in a research paper you should not have many sentences back to back that take information from a source because that information is only supporting your own ideas which you’re developing throughout the paper so just make sure that that distinction is clear for you and that you clarify with your professor what it is that they’re requiring for the assignment whether they require original thought and analysis from you or not now if you are citing for a word-for-word quote then you need to make sure to include the last names of the authors the author may also be the name of an organization if the author’s names were not available for that article the year and a page number and if there’s no page number you would include a paragraph number for a paraphrase it’s a bit more simple for a paraphrase you only need to write the last name of the author or authors and the year so you do not need quotation marks and you do not need a page or paragraph number I’m not going to go into much more detail on citations but please read through this carefully and feel free to visit me at the writing studio if you have any further questions regarding that towards the end of this document you’ll see a paragraph regarding how to create a formal tone for a research paper and then the last paragraph is about writing a strong conclusion paragraph so you’ll want to read through all of this if you have not written a formal research paper before and even if you have it will be useful for you to read through this in order to develop stronger content throughout your paper next in this document you’ll find information regarding references references are also very important they go hand in hand with your in-text citations so any paper that includes research needs to include a references page at the very end that’s separate from the rest of the document that includes information about every source that you used the in-text citations are kind of a shortcut to your references so you might read through this in order to get some idea of what references are for and it also talks about how to format your references but you won’t really need to worry about that if you’re using the template if you move further down you’ll see examples for different kinds of references the way that reference looks depends on what kind of source you’re using so you may be using a scholarly journal article from the library databases or you may be using a website article or you may be using a book so depending on what kind of source you’re using you need to look to see how the reference needs to be structured if you’re using a scholarly journal article that article may use a DOI that identifies what article that is so it’s a data object identifier number that’s what the DOI stands for if the article that you’re reading has a DOI number you see letters DOI followed by a number then you need to use the DOI in your reference if it does not have that number then you’re going to use the URL instead as you see here it says retrieved from and then you would copy and paste the URL everything else is the same then you have website article with an author because sometimes the website article may include the author’s name and sometimes it may not so here you have website article with an organization as the author so it may be the name of the organization or the institution if you do not have an author listed so make sure that you identify what the author is for this particular website article if you’re doing research on the web make sure that you look for resources that the URL ends in either org gov or edu stay away from coms or nets because when we’re doing research online it’s really important to make sure that our sources are as reliable as possible then you also have here an example for how to do a reference for a book then we have something called chapter in an edited book this only applies if you’re using a book in which different chapters are written by different authors but most books will fall into this category here so make sure to look at these carefully when you’re doing your references for each one the first item simply shows what different elements you need in what order you need them and the second one is an example so just make sure that you’re following it very closely if you see something in italics that means yours has to be in italics if you see capital letters yours has to have a capital letter there if you see a period of period a colon a colon and so forth so just make sure that you pay attention to detail as that exhibits professionalism the final page of this document is a sample references page so here you can leave the word references as is and here you have sample references but they’re already formatted the way that they need to look so you’ll notice that the first line is all the way on the left and subsequent lines of the same citation are indented so it’s sort of like an upside down paragraph we call this a hanging indent so in order to type your own references you want to move the first reference one line down and come back up and let’s pretend this is your reference for the moment so as you type you’ll see that it automatically does the formatting for you and gives you the indent where you need it so you’ll continue doing your references like so and once you’re done with all of them then feel free to go ahead and delete the rest of these one final thing on references they do need to be alphabetized so you’ll notice here a bj etc so make sure that your references are all feminized as well so that covers formatting a paper in APA style if you go back to the website you’ll notice that there are a number of other handouts and web links about APA and I do encourage you to look through those as well as they may be helpful aside from those under the resources tab students research paper here you have a number of resources about how to write a strong research paper so these are not related to APA they’re simply about contents so remember that there’s no such thing as an APA paper there’s only a paper in APA style it could just as easily have been written in a different style but the content should remain the same that’s the most important aspect of your paper then you simply apply a documentation style whether that be APA MLA Chicago or a number of others that exist and that are commonly used in the academic field if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to visit the writing studio and good luck

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