My first APA paper was a total mess

I first encountered with writing a paper according to APA style when I was taking some courses at Canadian university. At that time, I did not quite understand why it was so important to use a uniform writing style, such as APA.
In my first paper there, I included some citations in the text that did not appear in references. Also, I had some authors in my reference list, which I did not cite at all, or with mistakes in the text itself. It was a total mess.
As time passed by, I eventually realized that for a researcher or a student, writing in a uniform system makes one’s findings easy to source and credible. For instance, you may easily track what sources the paper used and read more about that there. To my surprise, when I started tracking for sources, I found that some researchers had citation mistakes in their papers, as well.

11 thoughts on “My first APA paper was a total mess

  1. Dear Ruslan

    Your post reminded me my first meeting with APA citation style. I hope you haven’t had big troubles with your professors but I did. The paper that I submitted was crossed all over and given back to improve. The professor asked me to cite in an APA style, although I had no idea of what his request was about. I did not have a chance to approach him and had to research on my own. Was it challenging for you to understand and use APA for the first time?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Ruslan,
    I found your writing very exciting and realistic demonstrating harsh truth about reference and plagiarism issues in scientific papers. I faced such things many times when the same citation emerged in different papers as the own words of the author. Recently I have read some research papers about online learning and found some information relevant to cite. However when I was reading the second article the same research finding was reported as the result of conducted research. Then I started to doubt about this source’s credibility since no proper quote was done. For such students like us,it is very difficult to define whom the source was provided primarily and avoid plagiarism.


  3. Ruslan,

    While reading your post I actually remembered my first experience of using APA style. I had never thought that such simple thing as paper formatting would become a real struggle for me. I was to submit a written assignment to a professor,and when the content was finished I realized I had no idea of what a uniform style was. However, as I was watching video tutorials on APA style it became easier and easier to understand and apply. Today I believe it’s introduction is one of the smartest ideas in academic writing.


  4. Dear Ruslan,

    thank you for sharing live experience. I remember our first group assignment, when we had to present our ideas coherently in accordance with APA style. The main problem that we faced with was citing of local newspaper articles and speeches of governors. We left formatting for the last moment and when there was no time left we had no idea how to cite correctly. Eventually, we looked through and found information.


  5. Dear Ruslan,
    I really like your way of writing your post as it was easy to follow your ideas and experience in APA style.
    To be honest, when I knew about the APA I thought that this format is completely different and difficult. However, after some practice (which we had last year and this year and are having now) I realized that ‘the devil is not so black as he is painted’ and APA simplifies and structures the research work.
    My question is: Do you address to any APA guidelines or it is not necessary and you are quite familiar with this format?


    1. Hi Assem, i face the same challenges. When I use some of the source i just google to find how others reference particular kind of citations. Otherwise, I refer to apa from and purdue apa or just google


  6. I am glad that you also used mobile application. Your post is clear and easy to understand. I think all of us had almost the same experinece in our life. And I see that it is already famous post fo this moment. Well done!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for very interesting and brief post on your experience. I agree with you that some researchers make citation mistakes. But, if they make mistakes will there papers’ be regarded as credible sources?


  8. Ruslan, hope your last paper (at university I mean) will be great and will include great citing and referencing, writing style and organization as well. In order to achieve it you will have to practice a lot, I believe. I think that a good way to avoid mistakes in writing and in applying APA principles is to effectively reflect on tutors’ feedback. Also, we shouldn’t leave the aspect of formatting and paper organization for the last moment but do it properly from the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ruslan, this is a nice post, although quite short. I would recommend addressing some of the suggested questions in the syllabus/on moodle, for example, what you see as the strengths and challenges of using a system like APA, or what advice you have for future students.



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