The Research Paper & APA

A research paper . . .
0 is NOT like a book report, in which you simply
summarize what you’ve read.
0 includes research but goes a step further.
0 builds on what others have written.
0 is an ongoing conversation. Each new scholar who
writes about a particular topic references what others
have already written and adds something new to the
discussion. Now it’s your turn, so use your sources to
support your own argument.
Here are a few tips:
0 Ask yourself a focused research question.
If you tell yourself, “I’m writing a paper about Autism
Spectrum Disorder,” you’re setting yourself up to write a
book report. Instead, ask yourself a “how” or “why”
0 Think critically about the sources you’re reading.
As you read, regularly ask yourself questions like: “How
does this apply to my focus?”; “How does this article’s
ideas compare with that article’s ideas?”
0 Write a thesis statement.
Think of this as a one-sentence answer to your research
Types of Resources:
0 Scholarly, peer-reviewed periodicals
0 Non-peer-reviewed periodicals
0 Non-periodical websites
0 Books
Which of the above is the least trusted source of
Where to Search for Scholarly Sources:
0 Library databases like InfoTrac and ProQuest
0 Google Scholar
If conducting a general Google search, how do you
know which web articles to trust?
Reliable Web Articles:
0 URLs ending in .org, .gov, or .edu are more reliable
than those ending in .com or .net.
0 Make sure that you can identify an author and that
he/she is credentialed.
0 The article should have a publication date.
0 A trustworthy web article will normally cite its
sources and include a list of references, just as you are
expected to do in your own paper.
Study Your Sources!
0 Print the articles out.
0 Read them all carefully. If you don’t understand
something, you shouldn’t use it.
0 Highlight sentences and phrases that you think you
may refer to in your paper.
0 As you read, try to make connections. Jot down your
own thoughts on the margins.
0 Copy highlighted sentences onto index cards. Include
the author’s name and the page number.
Before beginning to type, make sure that you
format your Word document according to
APA style.
0 Times New Roman, 12 point font
0 Double spaced and 0-point spacing before and after
for the entire paper
0 1-inch margins
Next, create a cover page including the title
of your paper, your name, and the name of
your university. Make sure the heading is
centered and entered four lines from the
Now insert an APA running head in your
cover page and then in the first page of your
* A handout titled “How to Create an APA Running Head”
provides step-by-step guidelines and is available at:
Now you’re ready to begin writing.
0 If you need an abstract, it should be on page 2 with
the word Abstract at the top center of the page.
0 The first page of your essay (page 2 or 3) should
include the title once again at the top center of the
0 With the exception of the abstract, each new
paragraph should be indented 0.5 inches.
0 Leave two spaces between each sentence.
0 The references page lists all the sources you used in
your writing and provides important information
about each one. This allows your readers to find your
sources for themselves.
0 Write the word “References” centered at the top of the
0 References are never numbered or bulleted; they’re
listed in alphabetical order.
0 The first line of a reference is never indented, but
subsequent lines are. Once you’ve typed all your
references, highlight them all and then apply a
hanging indent.
References include a few basic components:
0 The author’s name – usually a person; sometimes an
0 The date of publication
0 The name of the book or article
0 For articles, the name of the journal, newspaper, or
0 For journal articles, the volume and issue number and
the page range
0 For journal articles, the doi if available; if not, the URL
0 For websites, the URL
* A handout titled “APA Quick Guide” includes reference
examples for the most commonly used types of resources.
The handout is available at:
Quoting & Paraphrasing
What’s the difference between quoting and
0 Quote = a word-for-word sentence or phrase from the
original text
0 Paraphrase = a passage from the original text
expressed in your own words
Quoting & Paraphrasing
Which of the two should you do more often?
0 Paraphrasing shows that you’ve understood and
applied the information.
0 Don’t simply substitute a few words in the original for
0 Make sure that the language and sentence structure
are truly your own by not looking back at the original
passage when paraphrasing it.
In-Text Citations
When must you cite your sources?
In-Text Citations
Where must you cite your sources?
0 After each sentence that includes information from
any of your sources, NOT just at the end of the
If you find that too many sentences in a row require
citations, this means that your paper does not include
enough original thought.
In-Text Citations
0 For quotes, include the author(s), the year of
publication, and the page number. If no page number
is available, add the paragraph number. The word
paragraph is abbreviated as “para.”
Ex: “Progress has recently been made in the earlier
identification of children with autism spectrum
disorder” (Charman & Baird, 2008, p. 289).
Ex: Charman and Baird (2008) noted that “progress has
recently been made in the earlier identification of
children with autism spectrum disorder” (p. 289).
In-Text Citations
0 For paraphrases, include the author(s) and the year of
Ex: Autism spectrum disorder can now be detected
earlier than before (Charman & Baird, 2008).
Ex: Charman and Baird (2008) noted that autism
spectrum disorder can now be detected earlier than
In-Text Citations
0 If you’d like to use information that your source cites
from another source, it’s always best to find the
original source. If that’s not possible, always cite the
author(s) of the article you found and read.
Ex: According to Siegal, Pliner, Eschler, and Elliot,
“Autism is often not diagnosed until children reach 3–4
years” (as cited in Werner, Dawson, Austerling, & Dinno,
2000, p. 157).
In-Text Citations
0 If a source has three or more authors, only name all of
them in the first citation. Subsequent citations of the
same source should list only the first author’s name,
followed by the words “et al.” (meaning “and others”).
Ex: The study “aimed to characterize infants with
autism spectrum disorder less than 1 year of age”
(Werner et al., 2000, p. 157).
Further Help
0 Refer to the handouts and web links on the Writing
Studio’s website:
0 Make an appointment to visit the Writing Studio at
any stage of your writing process for a one-on-one
Melissa Cueto
[email protected]

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