APA (American Psychological Association) style is one of the prescribed uniform format in writing academic papers within social and behavioral sciences nowadays. It is well-known not only for its reference and citation system, but also it offers guidance on choosing the word choice that best reduces bias in language. Moreover, it is famous for its easy-to-use formatting the papers such as choosing the appropriate tables, graphs and figures that will be in accordance with scientific communication (American Psychological Association, 2011). Although there are lots of materials and citation tools, the majority of people find APA style quite challenging. In this blog I am going to provide my personal experience of using APA, consider challenging that I still face and give recommendations for current and future students learning this uniform system.
I got introduced with APA format when I worked on my first Action Research project at Nazarbayev University four years ago. Since that time I realized the essential role of this format. Having become a teacher of Global Perspectives and Project Work at Nazarbayev Intellectual school I have solidified my knowledge about APA as this subject demands writing course works. However, as I remember my students struggled a lot and I devoted even several lessons for the explanation this format.
To tell the truth, I still face some difficulties while writing assignments and final papers on my Master’s degree at GSE. I refer to the Manual of APA again and again in order to make sure that I do everything correctly. First difficulty is to cite the author which has been already cited in the paper you are looking through. The second difficulty is to show competence in interacting audio or visual materials, films and websites. The third difficulty, I suppose, is quite familiar for most of the students: correct paraphrasing. In order to avoid plagiarism I read the words of the author several times, try to catch the main idea, and then only paraphrase.
For current and future students I strongly recommend to spend enough time for making a thorough study of APA style. Another thing is to look through scholarly articles and examine how scholars and academics do proper citing and formatting. The last two points I suggest are willingness and practice.
American Psychological Association. (2011). The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-0562-2 (spiral bound)