APA Style Essentials is a web document authored by two faculty members from Vanguard University of Southern California. The site offers a concise summary of the essentials involved with writing a paper in APA (American Psychological Association) style. According to the authors, its purpose is "to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of a department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style."
Type of Material:
Text with links to numerous PDF documents.
This material is most useful for undergraduate and graduate students who are taking a Research Methods course, independent research, or a thesis project that requires writing a paper in APA style. It can also serve as a quick-check for the most common APA-style questions, which is useful for students and faculty alike.
Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing the example papers and pages.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
As stated in the introductory paragraph of the document, its "purpose is to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style." It also can serve as a "how-to" reference guide for producing a research proposal or research paper in APA style.
Target Student Population:
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A basic understanding of writing research papers is necessary in order to understand the different sections of an APA-style paper.
The material is clearly and concisely written. The subject is covered in great detail and, where necessary, includes descriptions and examples and/or provides appropriate links thereto. The authors have captured the major, most-essential elements of writing an APA paper.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
For students new to APA style, this material can be used instead of the APA Style Manual. Students can learn the basics necessary for writing a proposal or research report without ever having to wade through the style manual. Rather than covering this material in class, instructors can simply direct their students to this site to learn the APA-style basics. The document is highly effective as a teaching tool. Students who are directed to this web document by their instructors should have little difficulty in preparing research papers that adhere to APA organization, style, and content.
For advanced students, more-detailed issues (such as examples of 3rd-level headings in the Method section) are not included. Inclusion of more material on how to report (simple) research results and statistics would make it more useful for all students.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is easy to use and navigate. It is very well-written and well-organized, and it comprehensively (yet concisely) presents the APA essentials.
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