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APA Style and Scholarly Writing

APA Style and Scholarly Writing

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APA Style and Scholarly Writing

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  1. APA Style and Scholarly Writing Jim Messina, Ph.D., Troy University Tampa Bay Site

  2. Objectives of Presentation • Rationale for utilization of APA style in professional and research writing • What are the components of the APA style as presented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, 2010 • Refresh what you already know about APA style • Identify what you need to work on to improve your use of the APA style • Tips on how to Improve your scholarly writing


  4. Why is APA Style Writing Important • Professionally and ethically we are charged with using research to further the counseling profession • CACREP encourages Counselor Education Programs to use research to improve counseling effectiveness (Lambie, et al, 2008) • The clinical focus today in the real world is on Evidenced Based Practices which implies empirically validated researched ways of providing clinical services – we all are called upon to contribute to this building body of knowledge • An essential part of scholarship is to learn to do good research and to write about it in such a way that it is publishable • Knowing the APA Style of Writing Research Articles will be a life long competency you as a Counselor Educator and Counseling Professional will always want to grow in

  5. So What Does APA Publication Manual (APA, 2010) Cover? • Writing for the Behavioral and Social Sciences • Manuscript Structure and Content • Writing Clearly and Concisely • The Mechanics of Style • Displaying Results • Crediting Sources • Reference Examples • The Publication Process * APA. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association

  6. What it Takes to Write a Scholarly Paper

  7. What are the Basic Components of Scholarly Work • Research review: an analysis and synthesis of most relevant, up to date, and informative information about a topic • Use of APA Writing Guidelines: • Appropriate Citations • Structural Organization

  8. Tips* for Appropriate Citations Support your point of view taken with appropriate citations: • Use only most current references: less than 10 years old and preferably 5 or less years old • Reference only academic rigorous peer-reviewed academic journals • Avoid popular press, textbooks, and secondary sources • All sources need to be appropriately referenced • Use direct quotations sparingly • Only last name of author and year for citations within the text of the paper *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  9. Organization*of Research Paper • Title Page • Abstract, • Introduction • Rationale • Review of the Literature-Background • Method-Research • Participants or Sample Studied • Measures – Instrumentation or variables • Procedure and Design – Research Design and Data Analysis • Results – Findings • Discussion • Conclusion • Limitations • Implications • References *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  10. Tips * on Writing an Abstract • One single paragraph only in length • No more than 120 words • Clear and concise summary of the paper • Clearly and concisely describes the purpose of the paper, findings and implications • Always written in the active voice • Clear and understandable and able to stand alone as the summary of the work contained in the paper • Must include as many descriptive words as possible which assist future readers to find the paper when doing a keyword search *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  11. Introduction*of Paper • Sets the stage – orients reader to central objectives • Provides a Statement of Purpose • Emphasizes the writer’s views of topic • Uses citations of literature to support claims in paper • Must contain: • Orientation to specific problem addressed in paper • Statement of purpose of the paper • Summative review of pertinent literature • Theoretical implications • Central variables and concepts clarified and defined • Rationale for paper *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  12. Rationale,* • Clearly states the importance of the problem to be addressed in the paper • Provides justification for importance of the value of the findings contained in the paper • Built on the relationship between prior empirical results and theory that lead to a critical unanswered research question to be address in the paper • Prevalence and severity of a problem along with potential consequences provide argument to support the rationale for the research or investigation discussed in the paper *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  13. Literature *Review • Organizational focal point of paper giving reader a focal point • Contains pertinent literature and not necessarily an exhaustive review • Extensive review in Dissertation • Each piece reviewed must be referenced and cited both in the body of the paper as well as in the Reference section • If there is a item in Reference section it must be cited within the body of the paper • Review typically presents relevant information including the findings and conclusions but sometimes needs to include methodology and design features *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  14. Rules for Review of Literature* • Must remain opinion free • Should be written in past tense or present perfect • Support or challenge a theory or hypothesis, never prove one • Use language when reporting other studies as: found, reported, demonstrated, concluded, suggested, indicated • Logically, rationally, and clearly support the purpose of the research or project described in paper through this review *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  15. Discussion* • Summarizes the findings • Brings closure to the purpose of stated in introduction • Evaluates, qualifies, offers interpretations and draws inferences from research findings and/or literature reviewed Should include: • Discussion if the results or literature reviewed answered the research question • Provide logical explanation of the study’s findings and/or findings in literature reviewed • Statement of potential limitations of the study • Possible implications for the field *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  16. Conclusion* • Answers questions: What conclusions can be reached from the results? • Writer functions more independently and creatively • Writer reflects on possible explanation for the findings • Writer ties interpretation or plausible relationship of findings to literature reviewed • If findings are unexpected • Introduce new literature to support interpretation of findings • Speculate on reasonable explanations for findings based on research design, sampling, psychometric limitations or other aspects of the study *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  17. Limitations* Writer recognizes and states that: • There are no perfect studies • All studies have limitations • There are possible limitations and alternative ways of interpreting the findings of the study despite limitations *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  18. Implications* • Explains and clarifies the significance of the findings • Provides explanation and clarification of significance of the findings • Provides the practical and pragmatic meaning of the findings of the study or work of the paper • Provides a tie into implications for one’s professional field from the results of the study • Written in the present tense • Can include recommendation for future research *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  19. References,* • All sources cited in paper must be included in the References • Reference provides the background information on sources cited in body of paper • Ensure congruence between works cited in paper and those placed in References *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  20. Prevalent Writing Errors* • Poor organization and continuity • Lack of sufficient support for statements and claims made in paper with appropriate and accurate citations and references • Syntax, grammar, and punctuation problems • Lack of connection between the implications for the field and the research and theory reviewed and/or research results (Lambie, et al., 2008, p. 21.)

  21. Appropriate use of Citations and Quotes • It is quoted in Lambie, et al. (2008): • It is best to use direct quotations in moderation • Writings that analyze and effectively incorporate information from multiple sources are more interesting than papers that simply paraphrase o quote information and place citations at the end of each paragraph. • The writer’s task is to include both personal observations and viewpoint • The writer is responsible for accurately quoting or paraphrasing the work of others

  22. Seven Reasons for Using Quotations* • Detail out specifically on well phrased key concepts contained in a reference source • Demonstrate what others say about your topic area: • Experts • People involved in issue • General public • Point out importance of key concepts and facts • Support arguments and your point of view with impact of outside powerful, colorful, and expert inputs • Clear up difficult or debated point of view with documented statements from experts • Show how complex the issues being address are • Emphasizing the points you are trying to make *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  23. How to Paraphrase* • Paraphrasing is preferred when you are reporting on past research • Paraphrasing is restating in your own words the research findings of others • Rewrite the original in about the same number of words • Provide citation to the source in body of the text • Use quotation marks to retain exceptional words or phrases from the cited source • Use the same mood in the paraphrase as contained in the original like: satire, doubt, humor, etc. *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  24. How to Avoid Plagiarism* • Plagiarism is taking the words of another writer and presenting them as your own • Best way to avoid plagiarism is to use appropriate citation and to practice paraphrasing the writings of others • Utilize the APA Guidelines for citing sources in text, p. 207 *(Lambie, et al., 2008)

  25. Other Tips For Scholarly Writing

  26. Tips for Getting Started in Your Writing* • Start with something new! • Come up with fresh ideas about old concepts • Write about something you care about • Start with something you know • Write about programs or situations you would be interested in learning about • Not only review literature but try to find new meaning for what is out there • Write down ideas whenever they come to mind-keep index cards with you at all times • Devil’s Advocate your ideas-looking at them from all sides *(Simmons, 2004)

  27. Write a Research Paper Like a Lawyer Would* • Define and frame your topic as if you were defending a case in court • Search for sources to back up your case as if you were searching for evidence to win the case • Write the paper as if you were presenting the evidence • In your conclusion draw up your discussion as if you were making a closing argument *(Broskoske, 2007)

  28. Tips for Writing a Good Research Paper* • It’s important to keep in mind the main purposes of writing, and choose the proper one: • To inform to arouse interest: Youstate the facts objectively, adding that much to the reader’s knowledge (e.g., instructional techniques, research methods). • To persuade or influence attitudes: You support and present facts with attractive arguments and reasons to stir the reader (e.g., calls to legislative advocacy). • To interpret, solve problems, or evaluate results: You analyze facts and give opinions, leaving it to the reader to make up his or her own mind (e.g., results of an empirical study). *(Kosciulek, 2005)

  29. Use a Writing Formula in Writing Papers* • Chronological or Time Based Approach-from the earliest to present • Traces history • Describes growth of an organization or process • Compares similar subjects • Naming Major Topics-First name them and then write on them in the order named • Simple to Complex-leads reader from easy introduction to more weighty issues, formulas, and equations • Least Important to Most Important details-leads subject to a crescendo • Problem Solution-states the problem in brief sentence, followed by possible solutions, and how each could solve the problem • Reason- state an opinion or point of view and give reasons why you support it *(Kosciulek, 2005)

  30. Tips for Writing Your First Draft * • Don’t waste your best efforts on your first draft! • Just get your thoughts down on paper-you can sharpen your content later! • Before Your First Draft: Think-Plan-Organize • Prepare by exhaustively reading on the topic you want to cover • Create citations for each piece you read • After Your First Draft: Revise-Revise-Revise Tips: • Pick out Key Points and development them sequentially • Write Out Loud – so you can hear what you are saying • Open with a Strong Lead-grab your reader from start *(Kosciulek, 2006)

  31. Advice from an Editor* (Herbert, 2007) 1. Does your review of the literature specify a clear statement of the problem being addressed in the paper? • leads to the major research question • documents the need for the study 2. Are there specific research questions/hypotheses that are the defined operationally? • how concepts in literature review pertain to outcome variables in the research questions 3. Is the research methodology explained sufficiently to allow for replication? • Major procedural elements described so readers understand what happened and rationale for following the identified procedures

  32. Advice from an Editor* (Herbert, 2007) 4. Is there a clear explanation for choosing the selected research design and have the statistical assumptions associated with this design been met? • Readers should understand why the researcher employed a particular design and its advantages and limitations 5. Beyond reporting statistical significance explain findings within confidence limit intervals and effect size estimates to better understand the utility of the data. In cases where lack of statistical significance occurs, authors should ascertain whether there was sufficient statistical power. 6. Are conclusions and implications for research and practice consistent with data found in the study? • Do not overstate what the data indicate particularly in cases where lack of statistical significance, weak effect sizes, and/or small confidence interval estimates occur

  33. Address the 4 Big Issues in Scholarly Writing* 1. Paradox of Writing for Graduate Students who for first time in their lives may need to: • Focus on learning how to write • Receive support to improve their writing • Change their writing habits to complete a major writing task on time 2. Errors in Writing • Mechanical errors of Grammar and Spelling • Mechanical errors of no citations to back up point of view • Microstructure of writing-poor flow of thoughts not well connected and lack of sequencing of thoughts and concepts • Macrostructure of writing-weak quality of argumentation and lack of clarity of purpose *(Diezmann, 2005)

  34. Address the 4 Big Issues in Scholarly Writing* 3. Ethical Issues in Writing • Avoid plagiarism to insure the scholarly writing is yours and not just cherry picked from other writers • Understand and abide by the ethical responsibilities as a researcher and writer 4. Timely Completion of Writing • Need to avoid the contagious disease plaguing graduate students: procrastination • Need to set and follow a strict timeline for completion of the scholarly research and writing necessary to complete the project *(Diezmann, 2005)

  35. Evaluate Your Writing* Does your writing hold up to these four criteria? 1. Quality of Ideas • Clear focus • Tackles complexity of topic well giving both sides of the issue • Demonstrate good critical thinking-answers: “So What?” • Effect use of substantial references and citations 2. Rhetorical situation and arrangement • You present as a persuasive, credible and reliable source • Paper is logical and rhetorically appropriate to the subject and purpose • Title and Introduction captures reader’s interest *(Leahy, 2002)

  36. Evaluate Your Writing* • 3. Development • Information in paper is full, accurate and satisfying • You have thorough researched the paper to fill in gaps or to enrich the content of the paper • You demonstrate strong development of ideas by the points you make in strong well stated paragraphs which are presented in an orderly fashion • There is little padding or repetition • 4. Style • All spelling, grammar, wording, and punctuation are accurate • Paper follows APA Guidelines as accurately as humanly possible • There are good transitions between paragraphs • Sentences are strongly and accurately worded for good emphasis and power *(Leahy, 2002)

  37. So Are You Ready to Write Scholarly? Make sure you: • Use the APA Publication Manual and APA Style Guidelines for Electronic References • Read all of the articles posted in the references in this presentation • Have done an exhaustive search of the literature on your specific focus of your scholarly and research work • Have a thorough understanding of all of the mechanics which go into the writing of manuscripts • Just Do It!! Get your initial draft done with a catching introduction • Then revise, revise, revise, etc. Best of Luck!

  38. References APA. (2007). APA Style Guide to Electronic References. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association. APA. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Sixth Edition. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association. Broskoske, S. L., (2007). Prove your case: A new approach to teaching research papers. College Teaching, 55(1), 31-32. Diezmann, C. M. (2005). Supervision and scholarly writing: writing to learn-learning to write.Reflective Practice, 6(4), 443-457. Hebert, J. (2007). Further thoughts on writing for publications. Rehabilitation Education, 21(2), 71-72. Kosciulek, J. F. (2005). Practical guidelines for effective writing Part II-Organization. Rehabilitation Education, 19(1), 3-4. Kosciulek, J. F. (2006) Practical Guidelines for Effective Writing Part III-Writing the first draft. Rehabilitation Education, 20(1), 3-4. Lambie, G.W., Sias S.W., Davis, K.M., Lawson, G., & Akos, P. (2008). A scholarly writing resource for counselor educators and their students. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86(1), 18-24. Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching, 50(2), 50-54. Simmons, M. P. (2004). Writing for successful publication. The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 70(3),13-17.