Assignment Helper: APA Style and Citation Management Tips

Caption needed xkcd cartoon
APA (short for “American Psychological Association) style is the standard citation convention used for most social science research including information science, and the convention you will be using for the majority of your assignments throughout your iSchool experience. Like any writing convention, it can take awhile to get used to the detailed formatting rules. While it is good to avoid citation fixation, it is still important to learn and properly use the APA style employed by LIS researchers.

Luckily, there’s several resources to help you learn and use APA style:

  • It is well worth purchasing the latest APA Publication Manuel to keep handy as a printed reference guide for your School of Information writing.
  • Purdue’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a comprehensive resource for APA formatting rules and writing tips.
  • The Citation Machine helps you generate and format citations in APA (or other common citation formats). While this can be a huge time saver, be sure to also double-check your citations against the APA manual.
  • Consider adding the APA Style Blog to your Feedly or other RSS feed reader for answers to frequently asked APA formatting questions.

Staying organized and by keeping good track of your citations can be a big time saver especially when paper deadlines loom near. Besides using a citation manager such as BibMe or EasyBib, a couple of other time-saving tips you might find helpful:

  • Create an APA-formatted template Word document that includes correct title page, headers, page numbers, margins, font, and bibliographic indentation. Whenever you begin a new paper, simply use the template and “Save as”. This will save you formatting time for each paper you write.
  • Make sure each reference you use in your paper is listed in your bibliography and each source listed in your references is referenced in the body of your paper. As you research your topic, keep a running reference list. When it comes time to write your paper, you can add or check off each reference as you use it.

For more tips on staying organized with your school work, check out this blog post by School of Information student, Rebekah Randle.

Got other APA resources or tips to stay organized? Share them in the Research Helper & Tips group.

Image credit: Randall Munroe (Xkcd)