Students who have written papers in MLA for their first year often have trouble switching over to APA. Here are a number of things to check before turning in a paper in APA style.
Within the Paper
- Check your verbs—they should be in past tense for the reporting of any information (e.g., Researchers found . . . . )
- Check that your citations have 3 items if you are giving a direct quote: a last name, a year, a page number with the p. or pp. Example: (Shannon, 2008, p. 43). It is ok to put the name and/or the year in the sentence itself, but all three items (if the page number is available, and sometimes it’s not) should be referenced if you give a direct quote.
- Watch your headings—Level 1 headings are centered with upper- and lowercase capitalization. Don’t leave extra spaces between paragraphs and don’t underline or boldface. If you go to another level of headings, those are italicized.
- Check that several words of your title are at the upper right hand corner along with the page number. They are upper- and lowercase.
- Check that you use the ampersand (&) in in-text citations with two authors but the word “and” in the sentence itself.
- APA has an entire chapter on numbers—watch that yours are correct.
- If you’re citing a web site, put the title of the web site in quotation marks; don’t put the URL in the text.
The Reference Page
- Are the titles of books and journals in italics?
- Are article titles left alone (no quotation marks, no underlining)?
- Watch your capitalization of articles: in APA, make sure only the first word in the title, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns are capitalized. All the others are in lower case. Example: Studies of orphanages in Indonesia: One variable is resilience.
- Is the 2nd line and subsequent lines indented 5 spaces?
- Is the ampersand (&) used between two or more authors?
For more help with APA, please see the following web site:
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