APA Term Paper
An APA term paper is a term paper written according to the stylistic and citation recommendations of the American Psychological Association (APA). Though the APA is focused on the study of psychology, APA style has become extremely popular and is now widely used across many disciplines. While papers in the humanities will still be written in MLA style, APA is the predominant writing style for all of the social sciences and many other disciplines, as well. APA term papers are now common in business, education, nursing courses, and a variety of other fields. Some of the most common aspects of APA style that are pertinent to writing term papers will be discussed here.
First, it is important for writers to realize the purpose of APA-style texts. The American Psychological Association designed its writing style to accommodate research texts written in psychology. Most APA texts, including APA term papers, will be investigation-based texts, meaning they report on either the data and studies of other scholars, the research of the report-writer, or both. Furthermore, because research in psychology and the other social sciences is constantly being updated, APA style requires that all in-text citations present not only the author's name, but also the year in which the cited study was published. This is one of the primary characteristics distinguishing APA from MLA style, and illustrates one of the most significant differences between APA term papers and MLA term papers: in psychology and the social sciences, when research was published is almost as important as what the research indicates; in the humanities, wherein scholars study texts and other works of art that do not change, the date of the research is not as important. Another significant difference between APA and MLA style is that in APA, paraphrasing secondary sources is preferred over quoting. In MLA, the generous inclusion of textual quotations is a common occurrence.
One of the most important aspects of APA style that will be relevant to the composition of an APA term paper is structure. One of the most prominent characteristics of APA style is its use of headings. It is likely that an APA term paper will use only one or two of the five possible levels of APA headings. These headings should clearly and concisely identify what the primary topic of each section of the report is. If there are sub-categories for each topic, then sub-headings should be implemented.
When reporting research in an APA term paper, writers must remember to not only paraphrase more often then they quote, but also to report all research in past tense. Rather than saying "Smith finds" the writer must say "Smith found."
In terms of formatting, all APA term papers must be double-spaced and typed using a standard, 10-12 point font. APA reports should have a title page that announces the title of the report, the name of the writer, and the name of the course, as well as the term for which the article is submitted. The text of the document should begin on the page following the title page.
All APA term papers must have a references page. This page should follow the text and precede any appendices, if there are appendices included. This page should be titles "References," should be double spaced throughout, and should list in APA format every study cited.
As mentioned previously, in-text citations for APA-style texts must feature the year in which the cited study was published. In addition, the citation should name the author. If the citation is citing a paraphrase, the page number on which the information was found in the source should not be listed. If the citation is citing a direct quote, the page number should be included.
Detailed information regarding all aspects of APA style and how to write APA term papers can be found in the APA Style Manual. This is the most authoritative source on all matters regarding APA composition.
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