Is anyone an APA format expert?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Jerseygirlteach, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Mar 28, 2015

    This is a desperate plea for help. I'm taking a graduate class now and the workload is enormous - beyond anything I could have imagined. For the first time in my life, though, I am getting ripped apart for every paper I submit. The content is fine, but I cannot seem to get APA format correct. So, for every paper I submit (and there are tons), I lose a tremendous amount of points because my apa format is wrong. The professor will also be my professor for the two research classes I still have to take and will be my thesis adviser. :( She is laser focused on APA perfection. She talks about it constantly and I cannot seem to get it right. I've consulted every website that I could find and no matter what, it is always wrong. I'm kind of ready to rip my hair out over this.

    Does anyone know some really good, easy to understand, reliable resources for this? I'm hoping there is something I haven't already tried that can help me because I am so frustrated right now.
     
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  3. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Mar 28, 2015

    I'm not an expert,but have you tried something like bibme.org or easybib.com? Honestly, that's what I used all through grad school.
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thank you. I haven't tried them, but I will take a look. However, it's not just the reference section that I keep getting wrong. It's mostly the in-text citations. I just can't seem to put them in the correct place or change them for certain types of signal phrases (whatever that is) or format them correctly. I feel like an idiot that I can't get it right, but I just can't and the formatting seems at least as important to her as the content. I lose 20% of the credit for every paper because my APA is imperfect. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to submit a 16 page paper and lose a ton of points for it because you have a citation wrong? :dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:
     
  5. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Mar 28, 2015

    Check out owlpurdure- it shows you step by step for apa
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 28, 2015

    Check with the writing center at your university. They should have help available.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I can see you continually having problems since you indicated you don't understand APA formatting.

    What did your professor recommend for a good resource on APA formatting? Did you attend an office hour or schedule a conference to get guidance?
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    She has been emailing me corrections, but somehow, I just keep making mistakes. I have never had a tough time with anything academic before, but I'm just not getting this. I'm either citing incorrectly or in the wrong place or both.

    I've consulted with several websites, but it doesn't seem to be getting through to me. I continue to do it wrong.

    She recommended this APA workshop at the university library, but they only discuss reference pages. They don't go over in-text citations and that's where I'm making mistakes. I keep thinking that I finally have it, but I'm then told that I do not. :(

    I fail to see how formatting can be worth 20% of my grades, but apparently my professor doesn't see it that way. To me, content should be worth more than just 80%, but I'm not in charge and I have to deal with her and my APA struggles for 2 more classes after this.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 28, 2015

    If you're getting nailed for in-line citations, chances are it isn't the APA format per se that you're getting dinged for but the grammar of citation: how you're managing to meld the quotations, partial quotations, allusions, and citations along with the punctuation.

    nyteacher29 attempted to suggest the OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue, and that's a very good choice. The specific page you probably want is https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Is there a writing center at the university that you can go to before the paper is submitted? Most schools have them, but some limit to undergrad. It may be worth getting a tutor to look over formatting and citation.

    I assume you either went to the APA session or talked to someone about it and found that they have no information for in-paper citations.

    What I would do at this point is,
    - get the recommended resource from the university or the professor
    - review the different types of in-text citations because it differs by citation type and study it well (not knowing signal phrases indicated to me that you don't really know APA formatting)
    - get all of your papers and group the errors by type or error or sub-type
    - group by citation type if grouping the other way doesn't show a pattern

    If she hasn't made the correction for you, see if you can figure out how to correct it and get feedback from her to make sure it is right. If for any reason you see a discrepancy between comments, ask for specifics about the difference between the two so you can better understand what you are missing. At no point blame her or insinuate that she is mistaken.

    Good luck. I know it is frustrating.
     
  13. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    You're right about me being pretty clueless about APA. I had barely even heard of it before this class. It was never an issue in any previous classes. I completed a reference page or a bibliography and no one seemed to care how I formatted it. I never heard of signal phrases or running heads or even in-text citations before this class.

    I don't know about the writing center. I will look into it.

    I didn't go to the APA workshop, but it says on the website that reference pages will be reviewed. It also says that students can email reference pages in advance so the person running the session can preview them. I assumed then that this is the focus of the workshop. Again, though, I guess I can email the contact person and ask.

    Anyway, thanks for the help.

    I can honestly say that, while I won't quit, I have regrets about going back for my masters. It's much more stressful than I anticipated and I did anticipate stress. ;) I just hope I get through it. :unsure:
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    If you're not comfortable posting an actual citation that was flagged but you're not sure how to correct, feel free to post a fake one using, for instance, my prior post (in which case the inline would be "(TeacherGroupie, 2015)"), and let's see what we can do with it.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Honestly, I don't know how you are doing it all.

    Just remember, if you can get this APA down, it will take stress off of you. Most students learn this method as part of a class, learning on your own while juggling everything must be a chore and a half.

    Keep that chin up.
     
  16. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Mar 28, 2015

    Thank you, thank you for the offer.

    Here is one example from an upcoming, major, assignment.

    The sentence in my assignment relates to a civil case and I know the following citation is done incorrectly (Civil Action No. 07-2978).

    The citation would refer to this case:

    http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/idea/lre/lawsuit/SettlementAgreement.pdf

    I can't figure out how to cite it.

    Anyone who can help, I will be forever grateful. :) :)
     
  17. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Mar 30, 2015

    I highly recommend buying the print version of the APA Publication Manual and READ it, not just look up information. It has a lot of rationale in the chapters. http://www.apastyle.org/manual/index.aspx
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 30, 2015

    Sorry I didn't get to this earlier - dunno how I missed this post.

    This one's a corker, all right. You've got more than one issue here. On the one hand, you're citing from online something that has a separate existence in print. On the other hand, you're dealing with proper legal citation, which is very much its own thing: the citation should include not only the case number but the jurisdiction (since it's perfectly possible for the same case number to occur in two different states).

    Let me think about this a bit.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I Googled "apa inline citation us district court case" and found a number of links that are likely to help.

    The short version is that the inline citation briefly names the parties gives and the year, plus a section reference if any (if you need it, here's a § you can copy-paste). http://library.weber.edu/cm/a&h/legalcitations.cfm gives this example:

    I'll amend that slightly, per the excellent discussion at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/citing-court-decisions-in-apa-style.html, to note that the names of the parties should be italicized: so it's

    (United Statesv. Cleveland (1944))​

    The court case was filed in 2007, but the date to be used is the date of the court document you're referencing (in this case the settlement agreement), so for the matter at hand it's probably
    (Disability Rights New Jersey v. New Jersey Dept. of Educ. (2014))​
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me add a pro tip: Googling the court case will bring up Web sites on which it is cited. If you're lucky, one of them will be a scholarly document that gets the citation right.
     

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