APA Essays – The Citation Format Explained

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This citation format is generally used for  essays , research papers and theses particularly relating to social sciences. This citation was first introduced in 1929. At that time it appeared as a seven page guideline in the Psychological Bulletin. However today it exists in the full fledged format. Not all writers consider the format easy to use.

That said the APA format is advantageous to both writers and readers. It is beneficial to writers because it enables them to arrange their paper in a more professional manner. This citation format automatically qualifies a paper for publication in a psychological journal. This citation format has an in-text citation and reference system that makes it absolutely easy for readers who want to refer to the sources cited and do additional research.

An  essay  or research paper under the APA citation format generally has the following components. The paper has a title page. Then there is an abstract of the paper. This is however optional and left up to your mentor. This is followed by the body of your paper. And finally at the end of the paper on a separate sheet is the reference list.

The abstract is a summary of your paper. It gives readers an idea of what your paper is about. Based on this abstract a reader normally decides whether or not to read the whole  essay . The abstract does not normally exceed 120 words. You have to make these 120 words so interesting that the reader is compelled to read the whole paper.

Under the APA citation format an  essay  normally has an introduction. The purpose of the introduction is to acquaint the reader with what the  essay  will be dealing with. It is written on the basis that the reader is new to the subject.

The first page in an  essay  under the APA format must meet the following requirements.

It must have the paper’s title, the name of the author and the institute of affiliation. These should appear centered on the upper half of the page. The other elements of the title page are the header and a running head. The header is a short form of the title and should be no more than one or two words. The running head should be within 50 characters.

In addition to this there are a few requirements that are basic to the APA citation format. It requires that the  essay  or research paper is typed on paper that is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. It also requires that the all-around margin be 1 inch. The line spacing should be double. All the pages of the  essay  should have a header and a page number. These should appear in the right hand corner. This detail should also appear on the title page.

When you quote someone or use an idea that is someone else’s the APA citation format requires that you use parenthetical documentation method for in-text citation. The way in-text citation is done differs a little if the work cited is by one or more authors or from a secondary source or is a direct quote. In APA the parenthetical documentation should include the last name of the author and the year of publication. If the name of the author forms a part of the  essay  text the year of publication is alone mentioned in parenthesis.

As per the APA citation format the reference page should be a separate page with the works cited arranged in alphabetical order. References should be double spaced with no space between references. If a reference runs to more than one line, all subsequent lines should be indented.

APA  essays  that conform to the APA format are invariably more professionally written. Hence this format is recommended for  essays  that relate to research papers and social sciences  essays .

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5 Simple Tips For Writing Essays

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An  essay  is a short piece of work written in an informal manner. French Renaissance writer Michel de Montaigne has been credited for having popularized this literary genre, and 19th-century writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson sustained its popularity.

Nowadays, both high school and college students are required to write  essays . An  essay  can be anything under the sun, and there are certain cases when research data are included to explain the main topic further. Students often experience difficulty while writing an  essay . These 5 tips will help help them overcome the difficulties:

The topic must be of interest to the student. The  essay’s  main topic must be something that a student is passionate about. Readers can detect if the writer is disinterested. Never write long sentences. Famed American novelist Ernest Hemingway is renowned for describing his characters and the setting (of his novels) in short sentences. Such approach makes a piece of work alive and interesting. This applies to  essay  writing.

The readers must understand what they read. Students must not assume that the readers will understand the  essay  right away. They must avoid vague or ambiguous sentences. They must add information related to the  essay’s  subject matter in able to explain the main topic clearly.

Don’t forget to proofread. Proofreading eliminates grammatical and typographical errors. Such method also allows students to rephrase vague or ambiguous sentences.

Never resort to plagiarism. Students can’t avoid reading other writings before working on their  essays . They must read it to help them write. Copying what they read is a sin. There are other things to learn in able to master this literary genre, but remembering these 5 tips will surely enable students to come up with a good  essay . Writing several  essays  can be easy too.

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Trouble With College Essays – Join The Club

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If you are among the thousands of college students that have trouble writing all those  essays , research reports and other assignments, you are not alone. It is estimated that three out of four college students struggles with their research assignments, not because of the research, but the writing. Not only is it difficult to get started, many students are unsure about grammar, punctuation use and the proper use of the English language. This is one of the top secrets, not only among college students, but also people in general. It is kept secret because people believe that they were suppose to learn to write, use English and make sense of sentences in elementary school. This is true, we all learned the basics of English through our school career, but we have all slept since then as well.

Plagiarism – To Copy or Not to Copy

Here is what we say about plagiarism – DON’T DO IT! Not only will it get you a failing grade, but also can get you expelled from school. How do you go home and tell your parents, friends or better yet a potential employer? Most students think that they will never get caught and several years ago, they were probably right. Today there are a ton of spiders on the web that professors and teachers can sign into and plug your work in to see if it matches anything on the Internet. There is another database that searches the Internet and a huge database of research papers, dissertations,  essays  and reports that have been building for several years. You think that you got it reworded good enough? Think again, these search sites will also compare your paper to other sites for information not 100% copied, but similar. It will hit on the results and then bring up the exact site that you may have taken the information from. If your professor finds that your work is too similar or not cited appropriately in your paper, your toast! This is the reason that learning the appropriate manner to cite work is very important, crucial in fact. Also, isn’t it just better to review a grammar guide instead of copying or rewording and taking the chance?

Use of Commas and other punctuation

One of the most common mistakes, besides misspelled words is the misuse of commas in writing. Students either use too many, not enough or all in the wrong places. This gives the professor a great red pen workout and unfortunately, your grade suffers. There are a million rules and guidelines for using commas and it is not only, where it sounds good! Another reasons to bring in a little helper when writing your paper. It never hurts to have the appropriate material to refer back to. In fact, it can save you countless hours of work, searching on the net, and your grade!

Punctuation is something that most students know well, but they are in such a hurry in their writing escapade that they make stupid mistakes. Practicing and really proofing your paper can keep this from happening. Watch for questions and end with a question mark. Emotion sentences warrant an exclamation point and so on! Refer back to your guide to make sure that your paper is correct.

Proofing

Never turn in a paper before proof reading it, ever. No matter how skilled you are as a writer, you can still make mistakes. It does not hurt to have someone else proof your paper either. They may see or catch something that you missed. When you are proofing your own paper you are likely to read across an incorrect sentence and say it the way that you meant it. Allowing others to proof your paper is also a good idea, because they can watch for sentences that are unclear or structured poorly. Fragments are another thing that others can find in your work, makes sense to you, but it may not make sense to them. They have no idea what you were trying to say, but you did when you wrote it! Brush up on rules It does not hurt to brush up on your rules even if you are a great writer. Even great writers make mistakes from time to time. Taking the time to refresh in a subject does not mean that you are inadequate in the subject. In fact to many, it makes you look smarter because you are willing to admit that you don’t know everything. One thing that most people are not good at doing!

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Writing Essays – Seeing the New View in Carl Sagan’s Essay, The Abstraction of Beasts

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If you’ll follow and learn this three-step method of analyzing published essays I show here, you’ll be able to understand published essays and write your own essays about them.

Carl Sagan has written an excellent essay, “The Abstraction of Beasts,” providing another strong illustration of the old view – new view pattern intuitively used in all published essays.

#1 – Usually in the first paragraph, an old view is stated that leads directly to a new view thesis, most often a reversal of the old view. The new view thesis is stated at the end of that paragraph or within the next paragraph or two or so, depending on the length of the essay.

You noticed, didn’t you, that Sagan immediately identifies the old view in the very first sentence of the first paragraph:

“Beasts abstract not,” announced John Locke, expressing mankind’s prevailing opinion throughout recorded history.

Hard to miss, right? But did you spot the new view thesis in his second paragraph? There, Sagan suggests his new view thesis reverse of the old view with two questions:

Could abstract thought be a matter not of kind but of degree? Could other animals be capable of abstract thought but more rarely or less deeply than humans?

Note that, although he’s suggesting a reverse of the old view, Sagan is saying, not of kind but of degree and but more rarely or less deeply than humans. So he’s suggesting that the reverse of Beasts abstract not is possible- that beasts actually do abstract – but perhaps not a complete reversal, not fully up to the level of human abstracting. Now read paragraphs three and four of the essay (begins, We have the impression that) and four (begins, There is, of course,). In that third paragraph-after restating in the first sentence the idea that animals are not very intelligent-Sagan asks a long question: But have we examined the possibility of animal intelligence carefully enough, or, as in Francois Truffaut’s poignant film “The Wild Child,” do we simply equate the absence of our style of expression of intelligence with the absence of intelligence?

The important part of that question is the very last part – or do we simply equate the absence of our style of expression of intelligence with the absence of intelligence?

To respond to that question, Sagan then provides a quote from Montaigne (who in 1580 published the first book ever on essays) that questions man’s ability to communicate, not animals’ ability to communicate. (Ignore the footnote in the essay, but read it later, okay?)

The first sentence of the fourth paragraph begins by reversing the first sentence of the third paragraph (animals are not very intelligent), or at least indicating that there’s an exception: There is, of course, a considerable body of anecdotal information suggesting chimpanzee intelligence.

With that beginning, you expected to find more about chimpanzee intelligence, right?

Now read paragraphs five (begins, Wallace concluded), six, and seven to see if you do find that out. Pay special attention to the last sentence of that seventh paragraph.

Paragraphs five, six, and seven do provide examples of animals showing some signs of intelligence: the baby orangutan, the chimpanzee genius, the two chimpanzees abusing the chicken, and the newborn chimp with the newborn baby being raised as equals in a human household. But at age three, the chimp could say only three words, with enormous difficulty, while the human child was happily babbling away.

Sagan then summarizes those examples by stating that chimps are only minimally competent with language, reasoning, and other higher mental functions, and he repeats the old view again: Beasts abstract not. That could be a signal the new view support is about to begin.

Now, in Sagan’s essay, read the next four paragraphs, starting with the paragraph beginning, But in thinking over these experiments and reading through the paragraph that starts with, There is by now.

In the first three of the next four paragraphs (beginning with, But in thinking over these experiments), Sagan points out how Beatrice and Robert Gardner had the brilliant idea of teaching chimpanzees a language they didn’t have to use with their mouths, the American sign language, Ameslan. Sagan doesn’t use enough keywords to let us know he’s getting back to the new view, but that’s just what he’s doing-and support does follow right away, starting with, There is by now.

#2 – Right after the new view thesis is stated, support for it begins with a story, an example, or reasoning.

And in the paragraph that begins, There is by now, Sagan generalizes that there’s a vast library of descriptions and films of chimpanzees using sign language, and then he narrows down his information to the fact that chimps are remarkably inventive in the construction of new words and phrases. In other words, chimpanzees are recorded on film-and in other ways-many times in the act of abstracting with Ameslan. (It would have been helpful if Sagan had come right out and used the keywords abstract or abstracting or abstractions, right?)

Then, despite not using introductions like for instance or for example for the next six paragraphs, Sagan gives specific examples of exact words and phrases of abstractions created and used by chimpanzees.

Take a good look at that by going back to the essay and reading from the paragraph starting, On seeing for the first time, all the way through the paragraph starting, Having learned the sign ‘open’ with a door. Then return here so we can round out our discussion on support for the new view thesis.

After all those examples of abstractions, the rest of the support for the new view thesis that beasts do abstract much like humans, includes-

  • Boyce Rensberger, the American reporter, talking Ameslan with Washoe, the chimp (Ameslan was Rensberger’s first language)
  • Chimpanzees & other primates learning other gestural languages
  • Signing primates compared with microcephalic humans
  • Chimps have parts of their left brain removed, resulting in loss of language capability, just as that removal does in humans
  • Primates passing on information from generation to generation
  • The mini-story of Helen Keller learning language
  • A quote from Charles Darwin about the effects of using language

#3 – The conclusion should briefly restate the new view thesis, summarize the thesis support from body paragraphs, and look to some future aspect of the new view.

In the fifth paragraph before the conclusion, which begins, The continued use, Sagan begins looking to the future.

Go and read that paragraph, and read through to the end of the essay.

In that paragraph, Sagan asks questions about what would happen if chimpanzees were to establish a tradition of sign language usage for a couple of hundred years – or even for a couple of thousand years, such as we humans have done with language. And he speculates that in a few thousand years chimpanzees might have myths and legends about the origins of their language, just as we have our legends of Prometheus about the origins of mankind’s language.

Then, in the very last paragraph of the essay, Sagan backs up and begins talking about the possibility that we humans may have systematically exterminated or killed nonhuman primates because they were competition for us, and so we cut off their progression toward a civilized, language-oriented future:

We may have been the agent of natural selection in suppressing the intellectual competition. I think we may have pushed back the frontiers of intelligence and language ability among the nonhuman primates until their intelligence became just indiscernible. In teaching gestural language to the chimpanzees, we are beginning a belated attempt to make amends.

Sagan’s conclusion is weak on restating the old view and on summarizing main points that support the new view thesis. But the last sentence of Sagan’s essay does suggest a future continuation of mankind’s current effort to teach sign language to chimpanzees with, We are beginning a belated attempt to make amends. If we are beginning, then that strongly suggests more to follow in the future.

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