Tips for Student Paper Writing and Managing Changes to APA Formatting
- Avoid using a first-person perspective in a formal academic paper. No matter how valid your points are, the reader tends to dismiss them as either anecdotal or biased when the first-person is used.
- Avoid using colloquial phrases, unless they are part of a direct quote. They may come across as subjective to your reader, or as cliche.
- Avoid using subjective adjectives or adverbs in a formal paper. Your reader may determine their meaning differently from what you intended. Unless you can quantify the adjective or adverb, avoid using it.
Common Formatting Issues
- For an APA paper, you should open the main body with a Level 1 header. Either repeat the title of the paper, or use “Introduction.”
- When stating the purpose of your paper, only use “will” in a proposal. Once the paper is written, say that it “does.” Use something like “this paper explores…”
- Spell out numbers from zero to nine, and use numbers for numbers 10 and above (unless you are presenting a statistical figure).
- Do not use contractions in formal writing.
- Only use "&" when citing a group of authors inside of parentheses for an in-text citation. Use "and" when listing the group of authors in a sentence.
- Do not include active hyperlinks in an APA format paper. Instead, just include the URL formatted as plain text (unlinked).
Formatting for Digital Accessibility
- You can automatically create a table of contents for your document.
- Readers using digital screen readers can easily "tab" through your document sections, without forcing their applications to read the entire document out loud to them.
This video shows how to use and modify the formatting styles in Word.
A General Template
@amydeihl (2019, October 9). Use of singular "they" is no acceptable in APA style formatted papers [Tweet]. Retreived from https://twitter.com/amydiehl/status/1182135456479219712?s=19
GCFLearnFree.org (2016, February 8). Word: Applying and Modifying Styles. [YouTube video]. Available from https://youtu.be/w2lES-5Ynbk
Slade, Tim (2017, January 17). 100+ Free Hero Images for eLearning. [Web log post]. Available from https://timslade.com/blog/hero-images-for-elearning/