All over the world students completing their degrees have to learn and cope with two correlated missions such as creating and organizing research papers and formatting studies according to prescribed uniform styles, like Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. There are tones of resources available for students to apply in writing papers; diversity of articles and books contributes to broadening the perception, deeper understanding of issues deserving to be studied, providing an insight and inspiration to try out new methods and approaches of study. Moreover, there are many resources that focus on teaching and guiding within specific formatting style. However many of students often express frustration when formatting their papers aligned to definite style, which can undermine the quality of their research papers.
APA format is very helpful in organizing the content, proper in-text citations, endnotes, footnotes and reference pages. In addition, this uniform style provides style guidelines helping to address clarity and conciseness and contributes to select certain words and terms. Furthermore, APA recommends us to use simple, understandable and precise language to avoid confusing the meaning. Moreover, APA helps to establish credibility and validity. Because for the reader it is more convenient to focus on more reliable source than on different distracting materials with uncertain and shady content. Finally and mainly, it protects against plagiarism, pushing us to use someone`s words and ideas in ethical and responsible ways.
However, some students do not prefer APA formatting and find it restricted, because they may struggle with addressing the format mechanisms and meeting the requirements. They suppose APA makes their life complicated. The main challenges may happen with in-text citation, legitimate paraphrasing, summary and proper reference. I suppose these problems take place due to several reasons. The first reason might be silly and slight understanding of APA format demands. The second is poor self – organizational and self -regulation skills and irrational time management, when the person starts completing the literature review or any part of the assignment out of time, close to deadline. That is why students begin to plagiarize pretending to paraphrase with their own words, or overuse direct quotations. As for me, when the writer uses irrationally direct quotations it is very hard to see his/her own opinion, attitude and voice. Moreover, it makes the paper gray and static. Thus, it leads to lost of communication and dialogue with the readers, because I accept any study as the mean of conversation and interaction with potential readers.
To wrap up, I think APA makes paper writing easier, more structured, logically organized and precise. When I have any difficulties I frequently consult Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab and use Citation Machine to organize properly citation and reference list. If anyone of us still feel frustrated applying APA style, I think it is just a matter of time, awareness and practice.
By the way, what do you do to overcome the troubles with APA formatting?
Purdue University Web. Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Citation Machine. http://www.citationmachine.net/mla/cite-a-website/edit>