APA Formatting is the Scholarly and Professional Way

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I hate formatting a research paper. apa-manual

The research portions and drafting of a paper, of any sort, have never bothered me much. What I hate is the absurdly strict punctuation and citation rules associated with them. By the time I am done with most of my papers, they look more like algebra equations than scholarly works.

I also have a pretty big disdain for not being able to include myself in my work. By that I mean, no opinions, just the facts, and attempting to leave all biases at the door. Its just well, nearly impossible. Why on earth would I invest to time into researching and writing if I didn’t have at least some interest and opinion on the subject matter? And for me to to voice my opinion is a very difficult task indeed.

Throughout my ADN experience I was constantly asked to jump through hoops. I guess I’d be foolish to think of RN-BSN experience would not involve at least a little hoop jumping. Today we spent 2 hours being told how easy it is to plagiarize, that even it we cite it can still be considered plagiarism, and that plagiarism is absolutely not tolerated. If I never heard the word plagiarism again, I would be a happy nerdy nurse. InternetPlagiarismCartoon72

So how do you paraphrase information without plagiarizing? Apparently for me it involves taking simple words and stringing them into a chain of complex language which flows gently off the tongue, yet often has to be read multiple times to decipher its true meaning. Why? Usually because I have to read the content 10x to even begin to understand what they are saying to me, so by the time I spit it back out, I’ve stewed on it a while and I have to make it sound prettier coming out than it did going in. According the professor this is “thesis and dissertation level” and “you might need to dial it back a bit.” Wow. That’s funny right? Here I am thinking I’m just writing fluffy words, retelling the best I can, and its actually better than required? Nice.

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If only I had a little voice in my head that would ensure I properly punctuated, spaced, and aligned my scholarly work and legitimize my sources. The lovely blue APA manual definitely needs something to be desired. If this style of writing and citation is so great why do they keep having to update it? I mean sure new sources become available, but an amendment would be sufficient for new ways to site internet sources don’t you think? They write a whole new edition and wrangle another $35 from you!apamla

I’m sure the paper will be fine. I’ve always had a flair for writing papers, usually that last minute and often having to run to Wal-Mart to buy ink at 3am (because it never fails you are always out when you need it most!). My 6th grade English teacher Mrs.Barnett would be so disappointed that all her lovely beating in of MLA rules is now going to waste. So disappointed.

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11 thoughts on “APA Formatting is the Scholarly and Professional Way”

  1. Like you I liked the old way better and hated APA in nursing school. Then for extra fun I had to learn a whole new way of citations when I went to law school it was in the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. It was always “check the bluebook”. I am now completely confused on how to “properly” cite things!

    1. What really annoys me with APA is they practically rewrite the whole manual every year! My nursing school required us to purchase a new copy every year. Now had I actually purchased it, I’d have 4 useless APA manuals in my library because they are onbsolete.
      I really get annoyed by a standard we are supposed to use for academic purposes that does not have a free source for the guides. Perhaps that’s just a personal bias, but I don’t think educational standards should have fees associated with them.

  2. If you don’t want to pay for Endnote you can also try Zotero. I have not used it personally, but have heard good things.

    The APA site has a good tutorial (apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/). For specific questions, I always tell students to search the APA blog (blog.apastyle.org/) because they probably aren’t the first ones with that question (but you can always ask them directly if you are).

    Finally, Purdue OWL (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/) is a wonderful resource with examples of Works Cited, In-Text Citations, a Sample Paper, Frequently Asked Questions, and more.

    Plus, you can always ask a librarian. 🙂

  3. This makes me laugh. In my non blogging life, I am a public health researcher and I spend about so much time trying to get references into some style. Every article I write has to have a different formatting style to meet the requirements of a particular journal. When a paper is rejected, I have to go through this over and over. I have one suggestion, although, it is suggesting the most buggy computer software made. Have you ever tried using Endnote? If you can get the references in the program, it formats the references for you. And it gets it right about 70% of the time…

    1. I tried several programs when I was working on the papers. I just gave up.
      I used what research database I used said was the correct APA format and didn’t get any negative marks for it.

      The internal citations in the paper, quotes, and trying like the Dickens to ensure nothing I wrote could be considered any form of plagiarism were what were most challenging and time consuming. I swear I spent half my time writing trying to make sure no one could say I copied it.

  4. I cannot imagine Typing APA on a manual typewriter… actually the thought of it is nauseating. Anyone have some zofran?

  5. ARRGH! I am breaking out in hives just thinking about APA format – it was the bane of my existance throught college. When I got my BSN in 1988 no one had computers. You choices were to pay someone a fortune to type it up properly for you or spend twice as much time typing it yourself as you did composing the paper! Bleh!!

  6. I have not had to write a "works cited" page since my Advanced Composition class when I got my Associates. Now I have papers coming up and I really just want to pay someone to cite the damn stuff for me!

  7. Interpretation, exactly. How can something that is supposed to be set in stone be open to interpretation. I've experienced similar occurrences. Its really absurd the hoops of academia.

  8. Oh how I hate APA.

    It bewilders me that someone has so much time on their hands that they've sat around and invented so many rules.

  9. I loathe APA. I argued repeatedly with my instructor about my papers b/c she said I wasn't following APA, even when I gave her page numbers to the newest edition…it was that I didn't understand HER interpretation of it. My last paper sounded just like I was charting (we still do paper charting at my work), and that is what she gave me the most praise on. Go figure!

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