A Quick Guide to APA 6th Edition Elements of the APA Paper
Elements to an APA paper • Title Page • Abstract • Introduction/literature review • Methods (participants, measures, procedure) • Results • Discussion/Conclusion • References • Table and/or Graph
Basic Style • Double-spaced • One-inch margins on all sides • Times New Roman, 12 pt. • Page Numbers on right in Header, every page • Running Head, on left in Header, every page • The words “Running Head” only appearing on the title page, but the running head content should appear on every page • Sample Papers begin on pg.41 of APA manual
The Tone of an APA Paper • This is a SCIENCE paper • Never use first person (some might disagree here, and you might read articles that use first person, but please, don’t do it) • Professional and dry • Present the information as it is, do not beef it up, make implications that weren’t made originally, etc.
Tips to Improve Writing Style • Be concise, do not repeat yourself • The paper, especially the introduction, should FLOW from paragraph to paragraph • Present the information as it is, always tie it in with your study • Use the active voice, avoid the expression “was” • Literature review in past tense (the authors have already done the studies!)
Things to Avoid in Writing Style • Everything you learned in English and Creative writing • Metaphors, alliteration, rhyming, poetic sentences • Do not attach “labels” to any aspect of your paper, especially participants • “the elderly” or “college students” could be taken in a derogatory manner by the reader • Remember: do good/do no harm! • Prefer if you did not use quotes in your paper • Quotes make it look like you can’t put the information in your own words
Title Page Format • Title appears ¼ of the way down the page, centered • Author follows, centered • First M. Last • Author Affiliation follows, centered • Radford University • Running Head appears “flush left” in Header • Page Number appears “flush right” in Header • “flush” just means where it begins, however “flush” is the terminology you will see in the APA literature
So, What’s this Running Head Thing? • A shortened title that appears at the top of every page of the APA paper • Appears on the top left of each page • Title page includes “Running Head:”, the rest of the paper does not contain this • Content of the RH is CAPITALIZED throughout
Formatting the Running Head and Page Number in Word 2007 • Since the RH is different on the title page than the rest of the paper, this takes some special formatting, also, Word 2007 is picky with its page numbers… • Header >> select “Blank” >> make sure it is left justified >> type the content of the running head >> insert page number immediately after the text >> use TAB to justify it properly • In Design tab, select “Different First Page” so that the “Running Head” portion will only appear on the Title Page
How to Create a Title • DO’s • Summarize main point of paper • Be concise • Identify variables that are investigated • Should be able to “stand alone” • Be able to be shortened to the running head • Be approximately 12 words, give or take
How to Create a Title • DON’Ts • Contain filler words/unnecessary words • Contain abbreviations (#, %, &, ADHD, etc) • Begin with “A Study of…” or “An Experiment of…” • Too short, or too long
Abstract • A synopsis of the main points of the paper • Important because this will be the first thing the reader will see • Think about PsycInfo • Just a statement of the paper, do not evaluate • Approximately one page long
Abstract Format • Begins on new page • Running Head and Page Number at the top • The words “Abstract” centered after the RH and Page Number • Begin the content of the abstract • Do not indent the paragraph! • Include “Keywords” after the last sentence • New line, indented, and “Keywords” is italicized
Tips to Writing an Abstract • Write it last! • Summarize key points of the paper; take a sentence or two from each section and tie it together • Don’t add information here that doesn’t appear in the paper
Introduction Format • Begins on new page • RH and Page Number appear at the top • Title of the paper appears after the RH and Page Number, centered • Content of paper follows, no extra spacing necessary • No set length for the literature review, but the longer it is, the more work it appears you have put into this
How to Breakdown the Literature Review • Introduce the topic • Explain the importance • Why do we care? • Present the past literature • Should reflect why you are investigating this topic • The basis for the experiment • Introduce the present study, in a paragraph or so
Literature Review Continued • Should present the past literature that is related to your topic • How does your work build on the previous work? • What are the shortcomings of the previous literature? • How will the present study make up for the previous literatures’ faults? • Note the similarities/differences of the previous literature with the current study
Structure of Literature Review • Should be divided into TOPICS/VARIABLES, not be divided by each article • With the first paper, this is partially already done for you • Use multiple references to talk about the same constructs • With the first paper, tie the two articles together per topic
Methods The section on how the study was conducted • Three subheadings in this section, at least: • Participants • Measures/Apparatus • Procedure • These sections should be described in enough detail so that someone reading this paper could replicate the study
Methods Format • Immediately follows the introduction, does NOT begin on a new page • “Method” is centered and Bold since it is a Level One Heading • “Participants” “Materials/Measures” and “Procedure” are also Bold and flush left, since they are a Level Two Heading
Participants Subsection • Include all relevant demographics of participants, and total number of participants • “Forty-five percent of participants were female, the remaining fifty-five percent were male…” • Represent the participants in percentages, not raw numbers • Include percentages of participants in each group that you are measuring • Do not include information that is not relevant to your study • include where the participants were sampled
Measures Subsection • Include what scale of measurement was used, or what test was used in your study • “The Beck Depression Index was used…” • Do not say “A pen, paper, and SPSS” this is not enough information! • REMEMBER: include all information so that the study can be replicated
Procedure Subsection • Explain how the participants were selected, how and where the data was collected, and over what period of time • Should be in enough detail so that the study can be replicated!!
Results Format • Immediately follows the Methods section • Level One Heading: centered and Bold • This section will be around a page long, depending on the analysis used
Results • State type of statistical analysis used • State variables to be tested/the research question • State what was found (significant or not) • Report the “statistical sentence” which includes various things, depending on the statistic used • Report all results, even the non-significant ones! • Omission of results is bad science • Something that is “not significant” statistically can still be significant to the field; now we know that these variables do not need to be tested further • This section is very dry; just report the results, do not say what it means, yet
Discussion Format • Immediately follows the Results section • Level One Heading: centered and Bold
Discussion • Restate the results in words • So now, what does this mean? • Does this comply with your hypotheses? • If not, now what should be done? • If so, now what should be done? • Basically, what are the IMPLICATIONS to your findings • Go back to literature review and make connections with previous works
Discussion Section Continued • Point out your flaws! • Where did you possibly go wrong? What could be changed about this study to make it better? • Threats to validity • Finish with the larger implications of the study, beyond just this point
References • This is where you list all the articles you used in your paper • References page is very specific with rules and guidelines, along with the rest of the paper… • It is necessary to do this section properly, to avoid plagiarism, and so that the reader can properly find the articles if necessary
References Alphabetical order by first author’s last name • Hanging indent • Begins on new page • “References” appears at the top of the page, centered and Bold • Follows guidelines of each type of work (book chapter, journal article, etc etc) • List authors in order in which they appear in the original publication
How to Reference a Journal Article With Two Authors • Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (year). Title of article. Title of Publication, Volume Number, page-page. • Smith, A. B., Johnson, J. K., Parker, L. M., & Martin, U. M. (2009). Depression and anxiety in the work environment. Depression Monthly, 24, 209-215.
Journal Article Continued • Notes: only use the initials of the first name and middle name of the authors, do not include full names. • The title of the article’s first word is capitalized, and nothing else. • The publication is italicized with capitalization throughout. • Use this method with up to seven authors
How to Reference a Journal Article with More than Seven Authors • Cite the first six authors’ names • Use a “…” after the first six authors, then list the very last author’s name. • Everything else stays the same
How to Reference a Book • Including textbooks • Last, F. M. (year). Title of work. Location: Publisher. • Thomas, A. E. (2004). Introductory Psychology. New York: NY Publishing.
Textbook References Continued • This should be used as secondary information, to provide definitions for constructs that you are studying • “Working memory can be defined as…” • “Depression can be conceptualized as...” • These should be all you need to use in your papers in this class, if you need to cite other documents please refer to your APA manual
In-Text Citation (page 177) • While you are writing your literature review, you have to cite where you got your information from (i.e. the articles you have found) • This is vital, because if you make a statement, you must back it up with evidence…evidence is the article(s) • Information included are the author(s) last name and year of publication • First citation will be different from subsequent citations
In-Text Citation: How Is It Done? • The citation can either appear at the beginning of the sentence, or at the end of the sentence, the choice is up to you • “Johnson (1998) tested the effects…” • …antidepressants were found to decrease anxiety (Johnson, 1998) • Stylistically, change it up! Begin some citations at the beginning of the sentence, begin some citations in parentheses at the end of the sentence
In-Text Citations: Beginning of Sentences • Works with up to five authors: • First citation: list all authors, followed by the year of publication in parentheses • Johnson, Martin, Lopez, Roberts, and Walker (2005) • Subsequent citations: list all authors if work has up to TWO authors, if more than two authors, use “et al.” • Johnson et al. (2005), or if only two authors, Johnson and Martin (2005). • Works with more than six authors • Use “et al.” in first citation and subsequent citations
In-Text Citations: Parentheses, End of Sentence • Works with up to five authors • First citation: list all authors, followed by the year • (Johnson, Martin, Lopez, Roberts, & Walker, 2005). • Subsequent citations: with more than two authors, use “et al.” again • (Johnson et al., 2005). • Works with more than six authors • Use et al. in both first and subsequent citations • NOTE: this form of citation appears AT THE END OF A SENTENCE, NEVER IN THE MIDDLE
Resources • APA Manual • Sample papers available through Dr. Pierce’s website • Links to tutorials on how to write in APA, sample papers, and much more • If you have questions, just ask • The sixth edition is new to everyone, and we’re all learning together!