The formal style known as APA format is used in many different disciplines in academia, and many students will find themselves taken aback upon entering college because of this. It seems, initially, that writing a paper in APA format is very complicated or at least very tedious. It really isn’t. It will take a bit of extra time in the beginning, before the student becomes accustomed to it, but before long it will be second nature. Here are a few tips to get you started:
This is the most important thing students can do to make writing in APA format painless. The really tedious experiences occur when a student puts off organizing their notes or references until the paper is already (or half way) written—then they realize they need much more information than they expected for their APA styling, and they have to back track. No one enjoys that. Read over the style guide ahead of time and collect the necessary organization in an organized manner throughout the research and writing process.
Many word processing programs have modules which will organize your references in your preferred style as you go. This will help you include the correct style of citations, and even more importantly, it will make creating your works cited page a breeze. You won’t have to worry about formatting each and every citation, because you’ll enter the information in a form, and the software will take it from there.
Even if you don’t have the advantage of using a word processing software that can automatically insert correctly formatted citations, you should be citing as you go while writing the paper. Not taking any shortcuts like putting symbols in, but putting in the correctly formatted citations at each and every necessary point.
As you collect sources for your research, copy them down in correct reference list style in a document on your computer. This will save you massive time in the end. And as you take notes, be sure to indicate what information comes from what source, to make citation painless when you write your paper.
Sometimes, instructors will have some preference that doesn’t exactly match your style guide—be sure to listen if they do!