While preparing for the APA faculty workshops I presented today, a very good reminder was brought to light for me that I’d like to share. What came to me was when it comes to teaching, we have to keep things in perspective. Since we are a learning institution, our first priority is our students and their learning. This sounds obvious, but sometimes I think we put our teaching ahead of their learning. APA is a good reminder of that. We sometimes get so caught up in “teaching” students about the correct way to do APA (i.e., by marking every single error) that we jeopardize their learning.
Learning is progressive, and this goes for learning how to write well, as well as how to use APA correctly. When it comes to citation, the basics are to learn why and when to cite. The how to cite is covered in a style guide. Before we even get to teaching the how, the first thing we want to do is ensure that students are using citation whenever they borrow information – and in any venue. To demand citation on projects but not on discussion is inconsistent, and it sends the wrong message. No matter the venue, whenever students borrow information, they must be held accountable for giving credit to the sources they use.
Next we come to how to cite. If they are referring to other sources when they borrow information, they’ve made the first step. Now move them along to the next step, which is how to use the required style guide. They do not need to go out and buy the APA Manual. Instead, students will find what they need in the KU Writing Center. Please take some time to acquaint yourself with the resources we have in the Writing Center, so that you can refer students to specific resources and services. Some of the resources we have available are:
Students have a variety of recording links available to them on the Writing Workshops page. A few of our citation-related workshops are identified below.
- APA: The Easy Way, Basic Citation – This workshop is designed for the student who has little or no knowledge of APA citation. They learn what citation is and why and when to cite. We explain what in-text and full citations are and their basic formatting. We also cover the APA resources and services in the Writing Center.
- APA: The Easy Way, Formatting – This workshop is a follow up to the basic citation workshop and emphasizes formatting, such as how to set up a title page, headers, a reference page, headings, and formatting the body of a paper. We also repeat some information from the basic workshop on in-text and reference page citation format.
- Citing Web Sources with Ease – This workshop covers how to cite some of the most commonly used electronic sources that are not always so easy to find in the APA Manual.
- In Your Own Words: The Art of Paraphrasing – This workshop teaches students what paraphrasing is and how to do it correctly.
Writing Reference Library
Students will find more APA resources in the Writing Reference Library under the Research, Citation, and Plagiarism link. For instance, they will find:
- Videos that show them how to set up a title page, headers, and a reference page
- Basic Citation handout – This page and downloadable pdf discusses what citation is, why and when to cite, how to paraphrase and quote correctly, and gives examples of in-text and reference page citations.
- Common Citations in APA Format – This handout is updated regularly, so students should check back often for the most recent version. This resource is color-coded for easy reference and visual learners. It covers in-text and corresponding reference page citation format for the most common sources that our students access, such as books, journals, web pages, and government documents to name just a few.
- Citing Graphics and Visuals – In this resource, students learn how to look up and provide proper credit for graphics and visuals they may use in their papers.
- Sample APA Paper – Students can see an full paper in APA format.
If after viewing the resources above students still have questions, they can visit with a live tutor for one-on-one assistance. Tutors can help answer specific questions related to APA and offer practice examples for students to work through.
If you haven’t been to the Writing Center in a while, I do hope that you’ll make a visit to see what’s changed over the last few months since we continually add resources. And if you ever notice that something is missing or you’d like to see a certain resource developed, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re happy to develop whatever is needed – and collaborate on such projects as well! –Diane