Style manuals have been developed by professional associations as well as edited publications (like journals) to provide standardized formats for authors to report their research results. Professional associations are especially concerned with the authoritative development of knowledge in their discipline and the style manual assures both ethical behavior on the part of researchers as well as the optimal structure for reporting research results. Researchers are expected to give credit to the originators of the ideas they use in making their own arguments. Through references in bibliographies, readers can follow the evolution of the researchers’ work and uncover more information by pursuing the cited items. To a frequent reader of research in the discipline, the standardized format becomes familiar and therefore promotes greater understanding. Examples of style manuals include the Council of Science Editors' Scientific Style and Format, the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, the Chicago Manual of Style as well as the manuals from the Modern Language Association and the American Psychological Association.
Plagiarism is defined as stealing and using the ideas of another as one's own. In the academic world, this is considered a very serious charge and, for students, it can lead to dismissal, and, for faculty, it can result in the loss of one's job and/or one's standing in the profession. When we discussed bibliographies as a test for a reliable information source, we expected the citations to be an accurate reflection of the item's content. If they are not, how can we make an informed decision? Plagiarism can be avoided by precision in citing your sources. When in doubt, cite!
The librarians at Robeson Library on the Camden Campus have produced a three-part video series on the dangers of plagiarism and how to avoid them.
The following sources will provide you with the basics in using APA format.
APA Formatting and Style Guide from Purdue's Online Writing Lab
APA Style Essentials from Douglas Degelman, Ph.D., and Martin Lorenzo Harris, Ph.D., Vanguard University of Southern California. Authors include details about formatting such as spacing, tabs, and a downloadable template for Microsoft Word. They have also linked a sample paper and a sample proposal.
APA Style Tips from the APA includes information about writing without bias and citing electronic resources. Be sure to look at the sidebar as well as the page section titled Style Topics.
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