This guide is based on recommendations of the fifth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association published by the American Psychological Association (2001). This online publication is by no means a substitute for that book, which is an extensive resource for students engaged in serious research in psychology and the social and behavioral sciences. If online guides like this one — and other summaries of APA style in composition textbooks, etc. — do not suffice, students should purchase the APA Publication Manual for their own use (approximately $27 for the recommended spiral-bound edition) or borrow it from a library. Copies should be available in college and university libraries and in municipal libraries.
Another research guide from Capital Community College, based on the documentation style recommended by the Modern Language Association, is also available online. That guide contains numerous suggestions about getting started on a research paper and a statement on avoiding plagiarism that should prove useful to beginning researchers.
We also recommend the Capital Community College online Library and Information Skills Tutorial as an introduction to using library and online resources. The workbook has chapters on finding books and journal articles, using CD-ROM databases, discovering resources on the internet, developing critical thinking skills, and designing a search strategy. It would be a good idea to go through the Workbook (and take its computer-graded quizzes) before beginning a major research project.
A Sample APA-Style Research Paper, put together by Judy DeLisle, at Valencia Community College in Florida, will show you not only exactly what your paper should look like, but contain suggestions about the writing of the paper. (The text you see there is actually about writing an APA-style paper.
The APA Manual contains a great deal of material on the art of writing itself, which this guide cannot go into. We do...
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