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Basic guidelines for citations in APA.

Writing Style

Avoid writing in first-person unless co-authoring your paper.  You should usually write your papers in third-person

  • Avoid: I studied the effect of...
  • Allowed: We studied the effect of...
  • Preferred: Respondents indicated their preference for...

Be concise and clear

  • Avoid vague statements
  • Present information clearly
  • Eliminate unnecessary words

Style matters

  • Write objectively
  • Avoid poetic or flowery language


Avoiding Bias

Be sensitive to labels

  • Avoid identifying groups by a disorder (avoid schizophrenics, use people diagnosed with schizophrenia)
  • Avoid outdated or inappropriate labels
  • When you must label a group, try to use a term that group prefers

Gender pronouns

  • Gender refers to a social role
  • Sex refers to biological characteristics

Organizing Tips

Organize sources - Remember to record citation information for every paper you intend to use.  Use notecards or a digital method to keep track of information you intend to use.  Create a labeling scheme for your sources so that you credit the proper source.

Note page numbers - Page numbers are required for quotes.  Although they are not required for paraphrases, APA encourages their use.

Outline - Organize your paper using an outline or web scheme.  Keeping your thoughts organized by topic will help support your topic.