APA style paper
What APA is
Can you imagine how many research papers are written every year? Without using a colloquial language we can say that
the number is huge. Now, imagine that you need to find a paper on a specific topic to learn about a very specific
fact. If every scholar would choose a random formatting style or no style at all to write down their thoughts, this
intention of yours would most probably turn into a failure. However, if there was a unified style and everyone would
follow its guidelines, the task would not seem too improbable. Luckily, we have APA style guides to guide us through
the webbed branches of numerous research topics of the scholars around the globe.
American Psychological Association initiated the style to make the navigation for scholars easier and more
convenient. Originally, it was used for writing papers on psychological disciplines. Now it is one of the most
popular styles. To keep up with the ever-changing world of scientific research, the APA was changing as well. Today
you can follow the guidelines of the sixth edition of the APA research paper format to make sure you are using the
latest one. It is a good and bad thing at once. The negative part concerns the scholars who have to get used to new
rules again and again. But let's remember that it is all for a good cause - to make the research papers more
convenient to use.
What a perfect APA paper should look like
If you are willing to write a paper using APA style and want to do everything properly, there are several points to
take into consideration. Let's look at each of them in detail.
Active or passive voice?
According to the relatively recent updates of the APA style, it is recommended to use active voice instead of
passive as it was in the past. Now, instead of using constructions like "the tests have been made", you will write
"we made the tests". Some of the styles specifically state that using first-person sentences is not the option to go
with, APA gives you the right to do so and even welcomes you using such approach. Note that when you are writing
experimental reports, using of first-person constructions is required to clearly state who the participants were.
Philosophy of APA research paper format
You might have heard about the fact that every philosophical discussion starts with all the participants agreeing on
the terminology. The same word can have different meanings for different people. Before you start describing the
results of your experiments, make sure you use the appropriate words and phrases. Keep in mind that one single
research that you've made can never prove a concept. Use safe phrases like “The study indicates…”, “The evidence
presents support to…” In this case, you are not giving a false information to a reader.
Additionally, you have to understand that this type of paper requires a specific academic language. It is not a
descriptive essay you are writing, so make sure to avoid vivid metaphors, hyperboles, and other figurative speech
devices. Your goal is to make things clear to a reader, not to confuse them with inaccurate terminology and
comparisons. Also, avoid words with multiple meanings as they can be confusing as well.
Make sure you are sure
If there is a piece of information you want to include in your paper but have no 100% certainty that it is true and
relevant, don't do it. If it becomes clear that this piece of information is false or outdated, it casts a shadow on
the rest of your research. Stay on the topic and do not include any irrelevant information that will not be helpful
for a reader. Don't write anything with a single goal - to make your paper look massive. It does not help at all.
In-text citation formatting
No research paper can go without citing the brightest minds of our present and past. If you want to include someone
else's ideas in your writing, here's how you can do it using APA style guides:
Providing an exact quote:
“Laziness can lead to positive results” (Simons, 1999, p. 58).
Simons(1999) found that “Laziness can lead to positive results” (p. 58).
In 1999, Simons noticed that “Laziness can lead to positive results” (p. 58).
Laziness is not always a bad thing (Simons, 1999).
Simons (1999) observed that the laziness can lead to positive results.
In 1999, Simons noticed that laziness can lead to positive results (p. 58).
Works cited page
Now let's move to the most exciting section of any research paper - Works Cited page. Here's how your source may
Simons, A. (1999). The Biggest Mistakes of the Humanity. New York: Best Publishing Company.
Note that the title of work is in italics. Make sure you do not confuse APA with MLA style as there are some big
differences between the two.
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