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APA Writing Format

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The American Psychological Association or APA Writing Format is one of the most widely used formats in writing academic papers, particularly in the field of science.

The APA writing style has evolved through time and several changes have been adapted in response to the electronic information age. What follows are some useful pointers for those of you who have been asked to write a paper using the APA format.

In general, your paper should follow these formatting guidelines:

  • Formerly, the required measurement for margins was 1 ½ inch. Now, margins on all sides (top, bottom, left and right) should each measure just 1 inch.
  • Font Size and Type. Font for text throughout the paper should be 12-pt., Times New Roman.
  • Double-spacing for the whole document, including appendices , footnotes , tables and figures . For spacing after punctuation, space once after commas, colons and semicolons within sentences and space twice after punctuation marks that end sentences.
  • Text Alignment and Indentation. Alignment should be flush left, or aligned to the left creating uneven right margin.
  • Running Head and Short Title. Running heads are short titles located at the top of each of the pages of your article. Short Titles on the other hand are two to three-word derivation of the title of your paper. Running heads should not be confused with Short Titles. Running heads are typed flush left at the top of all pages while Short Titles are typed flush right. Running Heads are not necessary for high school and collegiate papers unless required by the instructor. These are instead mostly required for documents that are being prepared for publication. Running Heads should not exceed 50 characters including punctuation and spacing.
  • Active Voice.Traditionally, the APA writing format requires writing in a grammatically passive form. That is, refraining from using pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘we’ in your statements. Now, it has changed and most disciplines require the active voice. An example of this would be, instead of writing “according to the study,” it should be “according to our study.”
  • Order of Pages and Pagination. The order of pages should follow this format:

Title Page > Abstract > Body > References > Appendices > Footnotes > Tables > Figures

The page number should appear one inch from the right corner of the paper on the first line of each page. The title page will serve as the Page 1 of your paper.

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Title Page

The Title Page should contain the title of your paper, your name as its author (including co-authors), your institutional affiliation/s and author note if applicable. In case there’s no institutional affiliation, just indicate your city and state or your city and country instead.

As mentioned earlier, your title page will serve as your Page 1. It should be typed centered on the page. If it requires more than one line, please be reminded to double-space between all lines. Your name appears double-spaced as well, below the paper title.

The author note is where information about the author’s departmental affiliation is stated, or acknowledgements of assistance or financial support are made, as well as the mailing address for future correspondence.

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Abstract

The Abstract of your paper contains a brief summary of the entirety of your research paper . It usually consists of just 150-250 words, typed in block format. The Abstract begins on a new page, Page 2. All numbers in your Abstract should be typed as digits rather than words, except those that begin a sentence.

Body

The body of your research paper begins on a new page, Page 3. The whole text should be typed flush-left with each paragraph’s first line indented 5-7 spaces from the left. Also, avoid hyphenating words at ends of line.

Text Citation and References

Text Citations are important to avoid issues of plagiarism . When documenting source materials, the author/s and date/s of the sources should be cited within the body of the paper. The main principle here is that, all ideas and words of others should be properly and formally acknowledged.

The Reference Section lists all the sources you’ve previously cited in the body of your research paper. It states the author/s of the source, the material’s year of publication, the name or title of the source material, as well as its electronic retrieval information, if these were gathered from the Internet.

Appendices

The Appendix is where unpublished tests or other descriptions of complex equipment or stimulus materials are presented.

Footnotes

Footnotes are occasionally used to back up substantial information in your text. They can be found centered on the first line below the Running Head, numbered as they are identified in the text.

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Tables and Figures

What is the difference between Tables and Figures? Tables are used to present quantitative data or statistical results of analyses. Examples of quantitative data are population, age, frequency, etc.

Figures on the other hand come in different forms. These could be graphs, images or illustrations other than tables. Figures are commonly used to show a particular trend, or to compare results of experiments with respect to constant and changing variables .

Understandably, it can be overwhelming to compile a paper that conforms to all these rules! But remember that when in doubt you can always consult your supervisor, who will have more insight about the writing conventions in your field. It’s helpful to break down the paper into smaller sections and tackle each section in turn. Reading published papers that are similar to yours will likewise give you some insight into the correct layout.

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    • 1 Write a Research Paper
    • 2 Writing a Paper
    • 3 Outline

      • 3.1 Write an Outline
      • 3.2 Outline Examples
    • 4 Research Question

      • 4.1 Thesis Statement
      • 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
    • 5 Parts of a Paper

      • 5.1 Title
      • 5.2 Abstract
      • 5.3 Introduction
      • 5.4 Methods
      • 5.5 Results
      • 5.6 Discussion
      • 5.7 Conclusion
      • 5.8 Bibliography
    • 6 Optional Parts

      • 6.1 Table of Contents
      • 6.2 Acknowledgements
      • 6.3 Appendix
    • 7 Formatting

      • 7.1 In Text Citations
      • 7.2 Footnotes
      • 7.3 Format of a Table

        • 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
      • 7.4 Example of a Paper
      • 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
      • 7.6 MLA Writing Format

        • 7.6.1 Citations
      • 7.7 APA Writing Format

        • 7.7.1 Writing Style
        • 7.7.2 Citations
    • 8 Academic Journals

      • 8.1 Peer Reviews

        • 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
        • 8.1.2 Advantages
        • 8.1.3 Disadvantages
      • 8.2 Publication Bias
      • 8.3 Journal Submission

        • 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
    • 9 Tips

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APA Paper Formatting

APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines
Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.

General guidelines:

  1. Use white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  2. Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
  3. The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
  4. APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
  5. Double space the entire research paper
  6. Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
    1. To create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
    2. Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
    3. If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper

Sample running head/page header

apaheaderyo

APA Paper Components

Your essay should include these four major sections:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Main Body
  4. References

Title Page

This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above.

*Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capitals. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:

aparunninghead

  • The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose
  • It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.

 

  1. Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
  2. All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay
  3. Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
  4. The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research

Sample Title page:

apatitlepage3

Abstract

On the following page, begin with the Running title.

  1. On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
  2. On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
  3. This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
  4. If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics.  Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.

Sample Abstract page:

apaabstractyo

The Body

On the following page, begin with the Body of the paper.

  1. Start with the Running title
  2. On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
  3. Begin with the introduction. Indent.
  4. The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based.  It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
  5. Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
  6. Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle.  The Results section summarizes the data. Use graphs and graphs to display this data.
  7. Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
    1. Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
    2. Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
    3. Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.

** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author’s/authors’ name(s) and the publication year. In APA format page numbers are not used in in-text citations.

    Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).

 

For more information about how to cite properly please see EasyBib’s guides for APA citations based on the sources you are using.

Sample Body page:

apamethods

 

References

On a new page, write your references.

  1. Begin with a running title
  2. Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
  3. Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
  4. Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.

Sample Reference Page:

apareferences

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Formatting a College Essay APA Style

Learning Objectives:

  • Employ correct citation format for APA style.
  • Identify proper APA formatting for college essays, including a references page.

LESSON
You will likely be asked to write numerous essaysA short piece of writing that focuses on at least one main idea. Some essays are also focused on the author’s unique point of view, making them personal or autobiographical, while others are focused on a particular literary, scientific, or political subject. over the course of your academic career. While the contentThe text in a writing that includes facts, thoughts, and ideas. The information that forms the body of the work. of your work is significant, it is also essential that you develop strong and accurate formattingThe way in which content is arranged, usually following a set of rules. In writing, outlines and essays often follow a format specified by their purpose or where they are published. skills. Formatting an essay correctly is not only good authorship but is also important to instructors who often have to read hundreds of essays over the course of a semester. Your instructors will likely provide you with essay guidelines indicating whether you should use MLAA grammar and reference guide used mainly by students and scholars writing about the humanities (languages and literature). or APAA set of guidelines for citing sources used in literary and academic writing. APA style is most commonly used in the social sciences. style to format your paper. If you are uncertain as to your instructor’s expectations, be sure to ask. Instructors appreciate students taking extra measures needed to correctly format essays. In this lesson, you will learn how to correctly format a college essay using APA style. Note: This foundation lesson is not meant to include or cover all of the rules and guidelines for properly formatting an essay. Be sure to refer to the APA style guide to ensure that you follow all of the formatting rules.

Part of formatting an essay is properly formatting in-text citationsInformation about a source, such as the author, date, and page number, in an essay or research paper that helps readers find the source in the works cited or references page. There are different rules for how to use in-text citations depending on the context of the citation and the style of formatting you are using. and your list of sourcesA person, book, article, or other thing that supplies information.. APA refers to the list of sources as a references pageAn alphabetized list of publication information about the sources used in an APA-formatted essay or research paper.. Keep in mind that in-text citations and the references page work together. Without one, you cannot have the other. The in-text citations lead readers to the listing of complete source information in the references page.

Formatting an Essay in APA Style

Headers and page numbers

In APA style, the headerInformation that appears at the very top of a page and may appear on subsequent pages of a work. appears on each page. It includes the title of the essay, which should be flush with the left marginThe outer edges of a document that do not contain writing or images. and in ALL CAPITAL letters. (If your title is longer than fifty characters, you will have to decide on a shorter version to use in your header.) On the title page only, include the words "Running head:" to precede the title. Consecutive page numbers are included on every page flush with the right-hand margin. (Examples will follow in the next section.)

APA Headers

 Content

  • Title in all capital letters (50 character limit)
  • Consecutive page numbers

 Location

  • 1/2" from top
  • Title: flush with left margin
  • Page numbers: flush with right margin
  • Include words "Running head:" to precede title on title page only

Cover pages

APA style requires the use of a cover pageA page that comes before an essay or article and contains basic information about the work, including its title and author. The format of a cover page (also called the title page) will vary depending on the style guide in use.. The cover page should include the title of your essay, your full name, and the name of your college or university, double-spaced and centered on the page. It should also include your header, as described above. (Some colleges and/or classes require additional or different information on the cover page; again, if you are unsure, be sure to visit your writing center or ask your instructor.)

APA Cover Page

 Cover page

 Separate cover page 

 preceding the essay

 Content

 On Cover Page:

  • Title
  • Your name
  • College or university name
  • Header

 Location

 Double-spaced and

 centered on the page

Here is an example of an APA cover page:

Here is an example of the first page of content in an APA paper:

Margins, font, and spacing

APA has specific requirements with respect to margins, fontA set of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks that are the same style. Examples: Times New Roman and Arial are fonts., and line spacingThe vertical distance between lines of text on a page. The most common types of spacing are single and double.. Set one-inch margins on all sides. Use 12-point font; APA style recommends using Times New Roman. If you are ever in doubt as to which font to use, ask your instructor. Whichever font you choose, remain consistent throughout your essay. Your essay should always be double-spaced throughout. Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the margin. Use only one space after all end punctuationThe punctuation at the end of a sentence, which can be a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point. The end punctuation helps define the tone and meaning of a sentence. Notice the difference in tone in these examples: Someone ate my last cookie! (I’m really mad about that.) Someone ate my last cookie. (Oh well, I wasn’t hungry anyway.) Someone ate my last cookie? (I’m not sure I even had another cookie.).

APA Margins, Font, and Spacing

 Margins

 1" on all sides

 Font

 12 point

 Times New Roman

 Spacing

 Double-spaced throughout

 Indent

 First line of paragraphs

 1/2" from left margin

 End punctuation

 One space following

Click here to view an example of the body of a properly formatted APA essay.

Punctuating and Formatting In-text Citations

Here are the guidelines for using in-text citations when using APA style.

  • In cases where a particular page is being cited, include the author’s last name, the date of publication, and the page number (page number applies to print sources).

Example:

  • If the author’s name is mentioned in the attributive phraseA short introduction to source material that identifies the author and often the title of a work that will be quoted or discussed in an essay or research paper. , the year of publication should follow the author’s name in parentheses. In this case, only the page number appears in the parenthetical in-text citation.

Example:

  • There are occasions when all pertinent information is included in the attributive phrase. In these cases, a parenthetical citation is not used.

Example:

There will be times when all the information for a citation is not available–for example, websites do not always list dates and usually do not include page numbers, sources are sometimes published without authors, and so on. If you cannot obtain all the required information on a source, provide as much information as you can in order to allow readers to find your source.

  • Here is an example of how to cite a web source, which does not require a page number, only the year published and name of the source:

Here are some more specific requirements with respect to the punctuationMarks such as such as a comma (,), period (.), question mark (?), and exclamation mark (!), among others, that help break a writing into phrases, clauses, and sentences. Different types of punctuation marks give the reader different impressions of the writer’s purpose in that sentence. and format of APA in-text citations:

  • The in-text citation goes inside the end punctuation. Remember that the in-text citation is part of the sentence in which the source materialInformation that is quoted or paraphrased from outside works, such as journal articles, online documents, and books. is used, so it must be included in the sentence by placing the period after the parentheses.
  • When citing a quotationAn exact copy of the words from a speech or text. These words are placed inside quotation marks to show that they are a perfect repeat of the original. , both the in-text citation and end punctuation go outside the closing quotation marksA set of single or double inverted commas (‘ ‘ or " ") that are placed around a word or passage to mark the beginning and end of a direct quotation or a title.. The end punctuation goes after the in-text citation, which is one of the few instances that end punctuation goes outside quotation marks.
  • Indent, by .5 inches, entire quotations that exceed forty words (however, do not indent the attributive phrase).
  • In block quotationsA copy of a long section of a text or speech, set off from the rest of a text. Block quotations, like direct quotations, are exact repeats of wording, but because of their length they are indented or printed in a different font rather than placed inside quotation marks., the in-text citation goes outside the end punctuation.

References Pages

APA style requires a references page to list the sources at the end of the work. Here are the guidelines for formatting a references page.

  • The references page needs to be double-spaced, and has the same 12-point font as the rest of the essay. Do not use bold font, do not underline any words, and do not resize the font in any way.
  • The references page should always begin a new page. The title—"References"—should be centered, but not bolded, underlined, or enclosed in quotes. (Note: if there is only one source, it should be titled "Reference.")
  • Individual citations must be arranged alphabetically. If you have more than one article or work from the same author, list the entries chronologically, from the earliest to the most recent.
  • Each full citation should have a hanging indent, which means that the first line should be on the left margin and all following lines indented by .5 inches.
  • The full citation must include all the information that a reader needs to find the original text. Generally, that includes:
    • Author(s) (listed with first initials and last names)
    • Year of publication
    • Title of work (chapter, article, web page, etc.)
    • Title of larger work, if applicable (book, newspaper, journal, magazine, website, etc.) in italics
    • Page numbers, when applicable
    • Publisher’s information, when applicable
  • For online sources, include either the "doi" (direct object identifier), if included in the source’s bibliographic information, or the URL in the following format: "Retrieved from [URL]."

+ PRACTICAL APPLICATION

You will encounter various situations over the course of your academic career in which you will be required to provide work with properly cited references. For example, imagine that your psychology instructor assigns an essay requiring evidentiary sourcesSpecific media, such as journal articles, newspapers, and research studies that provide the support for claims or viewpoints expressed in an essay and help convince readers that an argument has merit. Evidentiary sources may provide facts and statistics, expert opinions, or anecdotal evidence.. This will require you to research and compile a list of citations for your sources. As you are writing, you will incorporate in-text citations into your essay. Another scenario in which you will need to provide in-text citations and a references page is when you are asked to write an essay to support your findings in a science lab. While this essay should be based upon your own experiential evidence in the lab, you will need to do research to provide additional support for your findings.

Any time you use the ideasA thought, opinion, or impression., argumentsA set of statements or reasons making a case for or against something., theoriesIn science, a well tested and widely accepted explanation for a phenomenon. Theories incorporate facts, observations, experiments, laws, and careful reasoning. In more general usage, theory may merely mean an unproven idea, speculation, or guesswork., or words of another writer, you must provide correct and properly formatted citations. Be sure to check with your instructors regarding what style they prefer for formatting any essay you are assigned.

+ EXAMPLE

Exercise 1:  APA In-text Citations

This section provides five examples demonstrating incorrect punctuation and format for in-text citations in APA style. As you read, notice the errors and how they should be corrected.

  1. Marciano (2007) challenges fellow educators to present to students "the other side of history" that "“rarely makes it into schools, textbooks, and mass media" (Marciano, 2007).

This sentence contains one error. Since the author’s name and the year of publication are given in the attributive phrase, and a particular passage is quoted, the in-text citation should include the page number rather than the author’s name and year.

Correction: Marciano (2007) challenges fellow educators to present to students "the other side of history" that "rarely makes it into schools, textbooks, and mass media" (p. 598).

  1. In The Future Is Up to Us, Peery claims that the U.S. is "by far the most ideological nation on earth" (2002, pg. 235).

This sentence contains three errors. First, the name of the book should appear in italics. Second, the year of publication should appear in parentheses after the author’s name when the author’s name appears in the attributive phrase. Third, the correct APA page number abbreviation is "p." not "pg."

Correction: In The Future Is Up to Us, Peery (2002) claims that the U.S. is "by far the most ideological nation on earth" (p. 235).  

  1. Arguably, fascist propaganda became more prevalent in U.S. society during the Cold War: "As we know, fascist agitation has by now come to be a profession, as it were, a livelihood. It had plenty of time to test the effectiveness of its various appeals and, through what might be called natural selection, only the most catchy ones have survived" (Adorno, 1951, p. 148).

This sentence contains two errors. Quotations over forty words should be formatted as block quotations, with the entire quotation being indented by one-half inch and without using quotation marks. Second, if the quotation is formatted as a block quotation, the period is placed before the parenthetical citation.

Correction: Arguably, fascist propaganda became more prevalent in U.S. society during the Cold War:

As we know, fascist agitation has by now come to be a profession, as it were, a livelihood. It had plenty of time to test the effectiveness of its various appeals and, through what might be called natural selection, only the most catchy ones have survived. (Adorno, 1951, p. 148)

  1. During the early years of ecology as a field of study, scientists looked to communities of organisms to help them explain human behavior (Mitman; The State of Nature 2003; 352).

This sentence contains two errors. An APA in-text citation does not require the title of the source. Also, commas are used in in-text citations rather than semicolons, and "p." should precede the page number.

Correction: During the early years of ecology as a field of study, scientists looked to communities of organisms to help them explain human behavior (Mitman, 2003, p. 352).

  1. In the 1950s, anti-union campaigns developed as a reaction to strong union participation in the 1930s and 1940s (Phillips & Fein).

This in-text citation is missing at least one key piece of information: the year of publication. If the citation refers to a complete work, as opposed to a particular page in the work, it would be correct to include only the author(s) and year of publication. If it refers to a particular page, it should include the page number (if available, and preceded by "p."), as well.   

Correction: In the 1950s, anti-union campaigns developed as a reaction to strong union participation in the 1930s and 1940s (Phillips & Fein, 2013, p. 503).

Exercise 2: APA Formatting Errors

In this exercise, practice looking for formatting errors in an APA essay. Click here to view an incorrectly formatted APA sample essay. Notice the errors in the essay and the references page and their explanations that follow.

  1. The header should have a short title of the essay (no longer than fifty characters) and should have the correct page number. On the cover page only, the header should include "Running head: [title of essay]" with the page number. This example incorrectly has the student name instead of the title of the essay.
  2. The essay should include a cover sheet with only the following elements: the title, the author’s full name, and the name of the college or university, double-spaced and centered on the page. It should also include a header, as described above. (Some colleges and/or classes require additional or different information on the cover page; again, if you are unsure, be sure to visit your writing center or ask your instructor.)
  3. The title should appear on the first page of the essay. It should be in regular font with no bold or underlining. This title uses 14-point font, which is too large, and it is bolded.
  4. Throughout the essay, the lines should be double-spaced. This essay is single-spaced throughout.
  5. The first lines of all paragraphs should be indented by .5 inches. These paragraphs are not indented.
  6. Do not insert extra spaces between the heading and the title of paper, between titles or subheadings and paragraphs, or between paragraphs. This essay has an extra line between the paragraphs.
  7. The proper title for the pages listing source materials is "References," not "Bibliography." Just like the title of the essay appearing on the first page, the title of the References page should be in 12-point font with no bolding or underlining.
  8. Citations consisting of more than one line of text require a hanging indent, which means the first line of the citation is flush with the left-hand margin and all other lines are indented by .5 inches. Hanging indentation is not used in these incorrectly formatted entries.
  9. Use only one easily read font throughout the essay. Fonts such as Calibri, Cambria, Arial, or Times New Roman are good ones to use. This essay uses a combination of Times New Roman and Comic Sans.
  10. Each citation must include sufficient source information—in the case of these sources, the author’s name, the date of publication, the name of the source, and either the doi, if known, or the URL preceded by the words "Retrieved from [URL]."
  11. The sources should be arranged alphabetically by the first entry in each citation (which is usually the author’s last name) and they should not be numbered.

Now, click here to view the example with the mistakes corrected.

+ YOUR TURN

Exercise 1: APA In-text Citations

This section provides five examples of in-text citations in APA style. Now it’s your turn to determine if the examples have been properly punctuated and formatted. Identify the errors, if any, and correct the in-text citation accordingly.

This section provides five examples of in-text citations in APA style. Now it’s your turn to determine if the examples have been properly punctuated and formatted. Identify the errors, if any, and correct the in-text citation accordingly.

  1. The Sabhnanis, Hindu Sindhi immigrants from India, own a perfumery that they run out of their home. They have been incarcerated for their abuses of Samirah and Enung (Konigsberg; page 320; 2008).

What errors (if any) does this in-text citation contain?

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Answer

This in-text citation contains three errors. The punctuation mark used after "Koenigberg" should be a comma, not a semicolon; the page number should appear after the year of publication, not before it, and be preceded by "p." not "page."

Write the corrected in-text citation (if necessary).

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Answer

Correction: The Sabhnanis, Hindu Sindhi immigrants from India, own a perfumery that they run out of their home. They have been incarcerated for their abuses of Samirah and Enung (Konigsberg, 2008, p. 320).

  1. While slaves in the early Americas generally were limited to those from Africa, today the overwhelming majority of the 12.3 million ("U.N. and Partners") migrant domestic workers forced into labor are women and girls from a variety of second- and third-world countries.

What errors (if any) does this in-text citation contain?

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Answer

This citation includes two errors. The correct citation would include the author’s name (which in this case happens to be a corporate author, the United Nations). Also, the writer left out the year of publication. (Because the citation refers to a complete study, rather than a quote or paraphrase, no specific page number is required.)

Write the corrected in-text citation (if necessary).

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Answer

Correction: While slaves in the early Americas generally were limited to those from Africa, today the overwhelming majority of the 12.3 million migrant domestic workers forced into labor are women and girls from a variety of second- and third-world countries (United Nations, 2007).

  1. According to two online sources, the Involuntary Domestic Servitude (2010) report from the U.S. Department of State, as well as the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report (2013), domestic workers typically work without contracts or legal protection.

What errors (if any) does this in-text citation contain?

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Answer

This entry is correctly cited and formatted. The sources are online, so they do not have page numbers. Also, the writer included the year of publication for both sources mentioned within the attributive phrases.

Write the corrected in-text citation (if necessary).

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Answer

No correction necessary.

  1. With difficulty, she found help to leave this terrible situation and start her life over (Montouvalou 35).

What errors (if any) does this in-text citation contain?

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Answer

This citation is not complete. Assuming it refers to a particular page in the source, it must contain the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number, all separated by commas. The page number should be indicated by the abbreviation "p."

Write the corrected in-text citation (if necessary).

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Answer

Correction: With difficulty, she found help to leave this terrible situation and start her life over (Montouvalou, 2013, p. 35).

  1. Smith and Donnerstein argue that "young children are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality, or to draw appropriate inferences from a violent story line, than are older children and adults." ("Harmful effects of exposure to media violence").

What errors (if any) does this in-text citation contain?

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Answer

This citation contains four errors. The year of publication should follow the authors’ names in the sentence. The name of the article in parentheses is not necessary because the reader will learn what article by Smith and Donnerstein is referenced by consulting the References page. Since the reference is a quotation, the page number should be included. Finally, the period should not appear at the end of the quote, but only after the closing parenthesis.

Write the corrected in-text citation (if necessary).

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Answer

Correction: Smith and Donnerstein (2008) argue that "young children are less able to distinguish fantasy from reality, or to draw appropriate inferences from a violent story line, than are older children and adults" (p. 286).

Exercise 2: APA Formatting Errors

In this exercise, identify the formatting errors in an APA essay. Click here to view an incorrectly formatted APA sample essay. Identify the errors and explain how to correct those errors.

Identify the formatting errors in this essay.

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Answer

  1. The cover sheet material should contain the title, author’s name, and school name. This entry unnecessarily contains the word "by" before the essay author’s name.
  2. The header should contain the title of the essay, flush left, and the page number, flush right. For the title page only, "Running head:" should precede the title. This heading is wrong because it contains the title and the author’s name and because it does not include the page number.
  3. Margins should be 1 inch throughout the essay. The margins in this paper are .5 inches.
  4. The title should be 12-point font like the rest of the essay. It should not be bold or underlined. This title is bolded and underlined, and it is in 14-point font.
  5. The essay should be double-spaced throughout. This essay’s line spacing is inconsistent, which makes it unevenly formatted.
  6. The first line of each paragraph should be indented .5 inches. These paragraphs are indented a full inch.
  7. The title of the references list should be "References" and it should be centered in regular 12-point font. This title is left-aligned and in 14-point, bolded, underlined type.
  8. The references list should be on a separate page from the essay.
  9. Use hanging indentation for citations that are longer than one line. The second line and every line thereafter should be indented .5 inches.
  10. Citations should not be numbered. They should also not be bulleted like these are.
  11.  Citations should be properly formatted and punctuated, with proper use of italics, parentheses, commas, and end punctuation.
  12. For online sources, if the doi (digital object identifier) isn’t available, include the URL at the end of the citation by typing "Retrieved from [URL]."
  13. Citations should appear in alphabetical order. In this list, the last few entries are out of order. Also, some of the authors’ names have full names instead of first initials and last names.

Click here to view the corrected essay with notes.

+ METACOGNITIVE QUESTIONS

Why is it important to correctly format your essays in college?

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Sample Answer

It is important to correctly format my essays because instructors expect this of their students. Plus, if I turn in properly formatted essays, my instructors will know that I have made an effort to follow their guidelines, so it will probably positively impact my grade and reflect well on the quality of my work.

Why do you need to include both an in-text citation and a references page?

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Sample Answer

Neither the in-text citation information nor the references page provide enough information regarding your sources by themselves. In-text citations and the references page work together to allow you to write a smooth and cohesive essay (rather than one that is broken up by full citations), provide the details required by APA style, and enable your readers to locate any of your sources.

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