Following our tradition from 2010 and 2011, we present you an overview of the aspects of APA style that students find the most difficult. The data was collected from the manuscripts submitted to us in 2012. Just as in the previous two posts, we were more interested in the type of mistakes that students do, rather than their quantity. In this year’s analysis, more categories have been included compared with the previous two (27 in total), which allowed us to conduct a more detailed investigation on common APA style mistakes. This was done by identifying the mistake categories with the highest frequencies from the papers submitted to us. This post will guide you through the most common APA style mistakes and offer you advice on how to avoid them when writing your own paper. We will start off with the general formatting of the paper; then, we will move on to citing sources and formatting the reference list.
Writing the title takes just a fraction of the time you need to put down your work on paper. Nonetheless, this starting point is very important one, because it may influence the impact of your work and the number of readers that it will attract. With the increasing digitalization of research, more and more people are using abstract databases to find articles relevant to their work. That’s why, if you want your article to come up in the search results, you should make sure that its title is a good summary of your work and that it addresses the right audience. How can you do this? Here is a step-by-step guide with some useful tips.
A recent article summarizing previous data from 110 manuscripts submitted to the Research in the Schools journal (Onwuegbuzie, Combs, Slate, & Frels, 2010) shows that APA style deviations related to the use of abbreviations and acronyms were found in 41.82% of the manuscripts. Perhaps because using abbreviations in writing comes so intuitively to us, a lot of people don’t give much thought to the fact that the publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2009) has some specific requirements when it comes to abbreviations. And while the rules governing the use of abbreviations may seem like just another bunch of the innumerable guidelines in the manual, it doesn’t take long to realize that they are actually logical and easy to follow.
Imagine the following: you are doing a literature search on a topic, but have really hard time discovering enough background information in traditional sources such as books and journal articles. Then, you miraculously find a web page that contains all the information you need. Just go ahead and cite it? Think again! How do you know if it’s accurate and trustworthy?
When writing research articles, most students feel confident enough to make a good paper out of the research they have conducted. But when it comes to writing literature review articles, this confidence may quickly evaporate if one doesn’t have much experience with them. So, what exactly is a literature review article, and how to avoid the most common pitfall on the road to writing one?