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Learning APA Basics. Presented by: Annie Cawthon. What is APA?. American Psychological Association (APA) Used to provide consistency and uniformity in writing Originated in 1929 as a seven page article and is now a 440 page manual. (YEP…..the dreaded red and black 5 th edition APA book…..)

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learning apa basics

Learning APA Basics

Presented by: Annie Cawthon

what is apa
What is APA?
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Used to provide consistency and uniformity in writing
  • Originated in 1929 as a seven page article and is now a 440 page manual. (YEP…..the dreaded red and black 5th edition APA book…..)

(Cuddy, 2002)

why should you care
Why Should You Care?
  • 200 level courses: APA is just being introduced. Partial credit given for mistakes.
  • 300 level courses: No credit given for incorrect APA. No faculty corrections will be made to submitted papers. The paper is returned to the student, appropriate APA changes must be made, and the student will receive a drop in one letter grade!
  • By using correct APA, you are eliminating the risk of being suspected of plagiarism- which is taken EXTREMELY seriously!

(Brenda Rowe’s NUR 420 website)

specific 300 level course apa expectations
Specific 300 Level Course APA Expectations
  • Title page: Correct placement of running head; correct header with page number; inclusion of title, student name, and affiliation (school name). Correct pagination, headers, and margins on subsequent pages.
  • Correct references in the body of the paper; correct use of author’s name and publication date; Correct citation of secondary sources.
  • Quoted material must include page number, author, and date.
  • 100% accuracy on reference page.
the title page p 10 11 in apa manual
The Title Page (p 10-11 in APA Manual)
  • Title:

- Should be a concise statement of the main topic

- Use upper and lower case letters

- Avoid using abbreviations in the title

- Title should be at center of page

- Avoid using phrases such as “A Study of….” or “An Experimental Investigation of…”

- Recommended to be 10-12 words

• Author’s Name:

- Your first name, middle initial, and last name

- Omit titles and degrees (e.g. Dr., Professor, PhD, EdD)

• Institutional Affiliation:

-Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University

the title page con t pp 12 296 apa manual
The Title Page con’t(pp. 12 & 296 APA Manual)
  • The Running Head:

- Located only on the title page!

- It is an abbreviation of the title

- Located flush left at top of the title page in ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS.

- Should not be more than 50 characters (including letters, spaces, and punctuation)

- Example on p. 306 in APA Manual

manuscript header p 288 ex 5 06 in apa manual
Manuscript Header(p. 288 Ex. 5.06 in APA Manual)
  • Use the first two or three words of the title
  • Located on each page
  • Located in upper right hand corner
  • The manuscript header is useful because if the pages get separated, the page number and header on each page will assist in putting the paper back in the correct order.

Steps: View Header/Footer Align right Type in 2 to 3 word portion of title insert 5 spaces click icon to insert page number. The manuscript header and appropriate page number will automatically be added to each sequential page, so you only have to go through the process once- when creating the title page.

in text citations p 207 apa manual
In-Text Citations(p. 207 APA Manual)

1 author: Include author’s last name and year. Do not include month.

Ex: Walker (2004) discussed that…..

In a recent study...(Walker, 2004).

2 authors: Cite both names each time.

Ex: Walker and Rosen (2005) found that…..

In a recent study…(Walker & Rosen, 2005).

3, 4, 5 authors: Cite all authors the first time you use them, the each subsequent time, use the 1st author, followed by et al. (period after al & don’t use italics)

in text citations con t p 207 apa manual
In- Text Citations con’t(p. 207 APA Manual)

Example of 2, 3, or 4 authors:

1st time: Bradly, Ramirez, and Soo (1994)

Subsequent times: Bradly et al. (1994)

(*Omit the year from subsequent citations if within the same paragraph)

Ex: Bradly et al. found that…

6 or more authors: Cite 1st author followed by et al. (year) for first and subsequent citations.

  • In the reference list, list the first 6 authors, then shorten the rest to et al.

--If you have two sources with authors who have the same last name, include the initials of the first author in all in-text citations, even if the year is different.

citing personal communication p 214 apa manual
Citing Personal Communication(p. 214 APA Manual)
  • Items considered to be personal communication include memos, interviews, and telephone conversations (non-recoverable items).
  • Do not include in the reference list, cite in-text only.
  • Include the surname and initials and provide exact date as possible.

Ex: T. K. Lukes (personal communication, April 18, 2005) expressed….

…..(T. K. Lukes, personal communication, April 18, 2005).

the reference page ch 4 in apa manual p 215
The Reference Page( Ch. 4 in APA Manual, p. 215)
  • Step 1: Alphabetize properly
    • Remember: “Nothing Precedes Something”

Ex: 1st- Brown

2nd- Browning

    • If there is an apostrophe in the last name (M’Carthy), disregard the apostrophe when alphabetizing.

Ex: 1st- MacArthur

2nd – M’Carthy

- Invert all names. Ex: Cawthon, A. L.

the reference page con t ch 4 p 214 in apa manual
The Reference Page con’t(Ch. 4, p. 214 in APA Manual)
  • Separate authors, surnames and initials, and initials and suffixes with commas.
  • When there are 2 or more authors, use an ampersand (&).

Ex: Cawthon, A. L., Weathersby, K. A., & Crow, K. E.

• When there is no author or editor, place the book title or organization in the author position (p. 249 APA Manual).

• Capitalize only the 1st word and proper nouns in the title and subtitle. Do not use quotation marks or italics.

(p. 240 APA Manual)

Ex: Responses to stimuli: Evidence for…

**Turn to p. 239 to view elements of a reference to a periodical**

helpful resources
Helpful Resources
  • The APA Manual (5th ed.)

- Sample paper on pp. 306- 320

- Appropriate use of numbers on pp.122-128

- How to cite a web address on p. 231

• Professor Summerville’s website (www.faculty.mercer.edu Summerville APA style guide link on left side of page)

• http//www.owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

(APA formatting and style guidelines)

• www.mercer.edu/arc/

(This site takes you to the online writing lab offered by Mercer University.

• Swilley Library (You can meet with someone from the writing lab. The writing lab can be found on the bottom floor of the library). Also, if you are in the library, stop by the reference desk and grab an APA pamphlet- “APA Style Guide and Checklist”

  • Using APA properly is going to be extremely important throughout the next three years, make it easier for yourself……get the APA Manual (5th edition).
  • Be aware of great resources to use when you have an APA question.
  • Use your faculty as a resource…that’s why they are here! They want to help!



Cuddy, C. M. (2002). Demystifying APA style. Orthopedic Nursing, 21(5), 35-42.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). (2001). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.