Do Apa Essays Need Abstracts

FOR APA RESOURCES CLICK HERE

Click on a question to jump to the answer.

What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction?

Do I always need an abstract?

What is the correct format for quotations?

How do I cite a quote I found in another source?

If several of the ideas within a paragraph are from the same author, do I need to cite them each individually or can I put one citation at the end of the paragraph?

What if there is not an author?

What if there is not a date?

When do I use p. to indicate page numbers in my references?

What are the rules for the reference page?

Do I include suffixes such as Jr. or III in my references and my citations?

The URLs (Universal Resource Locators or web address) in my references are displayed in blue. How do I get them to appear in black?

How do I create a Table of Contents in APA style?

How do you cite Natural Standard monographs?

How do you cite an entire website (as opposed to a specific document on that site)?

How do you cite a speech?

How do you cite resources from BuildingGreen Suite?

How do you cite a viewpoint essay from the Opposing Viewpoints database?

How do you cite a documentary film?

How do you cite an image?

How do you cite an article/chapter from an anthology or edited book?

How do you cite an e-book?

__________________________

What is the difference between an abstract and an introduction?

An abstract is a brief paragraph, 150-250 words, that summarizes the entire paper.

An abstract should:

  • Always be written after the entire paper is finished.
  • Cover the major points of your paper.

An abstract should not:

  • Introduce information not contained in the paper
  • Contain personal pronouns such as “I” or “We.”

An introduction:

  • Is the first paragraph of the body of the paper
  • Provides background information on your topic
  • Generally ends with a thesis statement which provides a roadmap to the rest of your paper.

Do I always need an abstract?

While APA style requires an abstract, not all instructors require one, particularly for shorter papers. Check with your instructor.

What is the correct format for quotations?

Material quoted directly from a work should be reproduced word for word.

Always include the author’s last name, date, and specific page or paragraph as part of the in-text citation.

  • Page numbers should be used when available (for example, an article in PDF format)
  • Paragraph numbers should be used if page numbers do not exist (for example, websites or documents in html format).

If there is a heading within the document, include that, then count the paragraphs within that section. For example, (Jones, Causes, incidence and risk factors section, 2011, para. 2)

If there is not a heading within the website, count the paragraphs from the beginning of the document.

Short quotations:

If the quotation is fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into the text, enclosing it with quotation marks.

Example 1: citation in mid-sentence

Although studies have shown that drinking water “can improve students’ readiness to learn by increasing their level of cognitive functioning” (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1370), most children and adolescents do not consume sufficient quantities.

Example 2: citation at the end of a sentence

A 2008 study revealed that “77% of US public secondary schools had soda or sports drinks available for purchase” (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1372).

Long quotations:

A quotation of more than 40 words, or a block quote, should be:

  • Started on a new line
  • Indented 5 spaces from the left margin
  • Double spaced

Patel and Hampton (2011) contend that:

Because young children are more susceptible to the effects of lead than are older children and adults, water quality may be a larger concern for child care settings. For example, infants’ diets may consist, in large part, of formula that can be mixed with tap water containing high lead levels. (p. 1371)

or

It is believed that,

Because young children are more susceptible to the effects of lead than are older children and adults, water quality may be a larger concern for child care settings. For example, infants’ diets may consist, in large part, of formula that can be mixed with tap water containing high lead levels. (Patel & Hampton, 2011, p. 1371)

How do I cite a quote I found in another source?

Sometimes you want to use a source that was cited in another source. It is best to attempt to find and use the original source. If this is not possible, then name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in parentheses (see example below) and in your reference list.

Example:

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, “from 1922 to 1929, GNP grew at an annual rate of 4.7 percent and unemployment averaged 3.7 percent (as cited in White, 1990, p. 69).

If several of the ideas within a paragraph are from the same author, do I need to cite them each individually or can I put one citation at the end of the paragraph?

According to the APA Publication Manual, “Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e.) summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you need to credit the source in the text (p.15). Therefore, you need to cite each instance of an idea that you take from an author. Citing only at the end of the paragraph does not indicate which sentences are your words and which are the author’s.

According to the APA style blog, this would be one correct way of citing in this instance:

Children and adolescents are choosing to drink sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water (Patel & Hampton, 2010). This can impact both health and cognitive functioning, prevent dental caries, and reduce weight gain (Patel & Hampton, 2010). The fact that sugar-sweetened beverages are so readily available in schools is one reason that water consumption has decreased among young people (Patel & Hampton, 2010).

However, this can break up the flow of the text. To both prevent plagiarism and preserve the flow of the text, use the authors’ names as part of the text.

According to Patel and Hampton (2011), children and adolescents are choosing to drink sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water. The authors suggest that this can impact both health and learning. They point to studies that show that drinking water can increase cognitive functioning, prevent dental caries, and reduce weight gain. The fact that sugar-sweetened beverages are so readily available in schools is one reason that water consumption has decreased among young people (Patel & Hampton, 2011).

What if there is not an author?

Sometimes you may not see the name of an individual as the author. In this case, the author may actually be the organization that produced the information (for example, the American Red Cross).

When the source does not have an individual or an organization as author, use a shortened version of the title followed by the year. Place the title of an article or a webpage within quotation marks (omitting any initial articles and capitalizing each word).

Place the title of an article or a webpage within quotation marks (omitting any initial articles and capitalizing each word).

Article:

(“Improve Indigenous Housing,” 2007)

Italicize the title of books, brochures, and reports:

Book:

(Guide to Agricultural Meteorological Practices, 2010)

Reference list entry:

Improve indigenous housing now, governments told. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?”Page=10220

When a work specifically lists the author as Anonymous, use the word Anonymous followed by a comma and the date.

In text:

(Anonymous, 2011)

Reference list entry:

Anonymous. (2009) China and the internet. Harvard International Review, 31(2), 68-73.

What if there is not a date?

If there is no date, use (n.d.) to signify there is no date for the material both in the in-text citation and the reference.

When do I use p. to indicate page numbers in my references?

If the periodical has a volume number:

  • Italicize the volume number
  • Switch to regular type and provide the issue number and page numbers
  • Do not use p. or pp.

If the periodical does not include volume numbers, use p. or pp. before the page number to make it clear that you are referring to page numbers rather than issue or volume numbers

For sources 1 page or less, use p.

For sources longer than 1 page, use pp.

What are the rules for the reference page?

  • If you have a citation in your paper, you must have a corresponding reference on your References page
  • Double space the references.
  • Alphabetize the list by the last name of the first author.
  • If there is not an author, alphabetize by title.
  • Use a single space after each period. Note: Within the text of your document you should use two spaces after a period.
  • Use a hanging indent. With a hanging indent, the first line begins flush left; the second line, and all subsequent lines, begin 1/2 inch from the left margin. You can create a hanging indent in the format dialog box in MS Word.
  • Publisher information:
    • Make the publisher’s name as brief as possible, omitting the words Publisher, Co., and Inc. Do include Books and Press.
    • Do not use periods in abbreviations for state names (FL, NY, DC)
    • When the author is also the publisher, use the Author to indicate the publisher:

Example:

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) Washington, DC: Author.

Do I include suffixes such as Jr. or III in my references and my citations?

Suffixes should be included in your references.

Example:

Brinker, T.M., Jr. (2011). Examining the medical expense deduction for families with special needs Children. Journal of Financial Service Professionals, 65(3), 10-13.

Suffixes such as Jr. or III should not be included in your in-text citation.

(Smith, 2010)

The URLs (Universal Resource Locators or web address) in my references are displayed in blue. How do I get them to appear in black?

To remove a hyperlink:

  • Highlight the URL address
  • Right click
  • Select Remove Hyperlink.

The URL address should appear in black font color without underlining.

How do I create a Table of Contents in APA Style?

Because the primary purpose of APA is to provide guidelines for writers submitting manuscripts to scholarly journals, there are no APA guidelines for Table of Contents, bibliographies, PowerPoint slides, or thesis formatting. If your instructor has one of these requirements, you will need to check with them for instructions.

How do you cite Natural Standard monographs?

Example:

Natural Standard. (2011). Aloe (aloe vera) [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/aloe.asp

If you have many citations from this database from the same year, you alphabetize the entries by the title and call them 2011a, 2011b, and so forth, in both the reference list entries and the text citations.

Example:

Natural Standard. (2011a). Aloe (aloe vera) [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/aloe.asp

Natural Standard. (2011b). Caffeine [Monograph]. Retrieved from http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/caffeine

How do you cite an entire website (as opposed to a specific document on that site)?

When citing an entire website, it is sufficient to give the address of the site in just the text.

Example:

The U.S. Green Building Council website is an excellent resource for green building research, case studies, and policies (http://www.usgbc.org).

How do you cite a speech?

Even for a well-known speech, you should find an authoritative source for the text. Then you simply reference the book, video documentary, website, or other source for the quotation. The reference format you need will depend on the type of document you’ve used.

Example of speech from Credo Reference:

Ask not what your country can do for you. (2006). In Chambers Classic Speeches. London: Chambers Harrap. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com

The in-text citation would include the surname of the author or editor of the source document and the year of publication. For example, your sentence might look like this:

President Kennedy proclaimed, “Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” (“Ask not,” 2006).

How do you cite resources from BuildingGreen Suite?

Environmental Building News article:

Malin, N., & Roberts, T. (2011). Energy-efficient multifamily housing. Environmental Building News 20(7). Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2011/6/29/Energy-Efficient-Multifamily-Housing/

Case study:

U.S. Department of Energy. (2007). 30 Hudson Street [Case study]. Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/hpb/overview.cfm?projectid=716

Green product:

Building Logics, Inc. (2009). EnviroTech Roof System. Retrieved from http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/productDetail.cfm?productID=2171

How do you cite a viewpoint essay from the Opposing Viewpoints database?

Format:

Author(s). (Year of publication). Title of essay. In Editor Name(s) (Ed(s).), Title of the Book. Retrieved from Persistent Link or Bookmark

Example:

Stern, S. (2009). Fast food Is linked to obesity and other serious health problems. In Roman Espejo (Ed.), At Issue:Fast Food. Retrieved from http://find.galegroup.com

How do you cite a documentary film?

Basic format:

Producer, P. P. (Producer), & Director, D. D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio or distributor.

Example:

Kenner, R., Pearce, R., Schlosser, E., Robledo, M., Pohlad, W., Skoll, J., & Schorr, R. (2009). Food, Inc. [Motion picture]. Los Angeles, CA: Magnolia Home Entertainment.

How do you cite an image?

There are two ways to cite an image in your paper: you can either include the image in your paper itself, or you can write about an image that appears in a different document. Images like photographs, maps, illustrations, charts, graphs, tables, etc. are called “figures” in APA 6th Edition style.

If you show the figure in the body of your paper, include a caption right beneath it, which will include the reference. Also number your figures.

Example:

Figure 1. How to use Nicorette gum. From Nicorette: Real medicine in the form of gum, by GlaxoSmith Kline Consumer Health Care, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from http://www.nicorette.com/Nicorette_Product.aspx

In this case, you would not also need to include the reference information on your references page.

However, if you write about an image that appears in a different document, you will include an in-text citation and a reference on the references page, just as you would do for textual information you gather from any other source. When referencing images that come from articles, it is perfectly acceptable to cite the parent article. If you want to specifically cite the image:

1. Check the article content for additional source information, such as a photographer or illustrator. If an alternate name is available, use that in place of the article’s author(s).

2. If the image has a title or caption, use that in place of the article title.

3. After the article or image title and before the journal title, insert the image type. Image types are: Chart, Diagram, Graph, Illustration, Map, or Photograph.

4. Replace the page range of the article with the page number for the image.

Example:

Buggey, T. (2007). Storyboard for Ivan’s morning routine.

Diagram. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 9(3), 151.

Therefore, the in-text citation, which would immediately follow your sentence(s) that discuss this figure, would be like the example below. Also include the figure number as it appears on that page of the source:

(Buggey, 2007, p. 151, fig.1).

How do you cite an article/chapter from an Anthology or Edited Book?

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year Published). Title of Chapter/Article. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Name of Book (page numbers). Location: Publisher.

Examples:

Jesrani, P. J. (1998). Working turn tables. In N. Bhatia, S. Dhand & V. Rupaleria (Eds.), Throwing a great party (pp. 19-48). Chicago: NT Publishers.

Melville, H. (1989). Hawthorne and his mosses. In N. Baym (Ed.), The Norton anthology of American literature (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

How do you cite an e-book?

Basic Format:

Author last name, Author first initial(s). (Year). Title of book. Retrieved from

http://www.ebrary.com (or other website)

Example:

Paloutzian, R. F. (1996). Invitation to the psychology of religion. Retrieved from

http://www.ebrary.com

Like this:

LikeLoading...

Following our tradition from 2010 and 2011, we present you an overview of the aspects of APA style that students find the most difficult. The data was collected from the manuscripts submitted to us in 2012. Just as in the previous two posts, we were more interested in the type of mistakes that students do, rather than their quantity. In this year’s analysis, more categories have been included compared with the previous two (27 in total), which allowed us to conduct a more detailed investigation on common APA style mistakes. This was done by identifying the mistake categories with the highest frequencies from the papers submitted to us. This post will guide you through the most common APA style mistakes and offer you advice on how to avoid them when writing your own paper. We will start off with the general formatting of the paper; then, we will move on to citing sources and formatting the reference list.

General Formatting

Running Head and Page Numbers

Surprisingly, 86.3% of all papers either did not have a running head or a running head that was formatted incorrectly. In addition to this, 75% of all students who submitted a paper to us either did not include page numbers or, those that did, did not format them correctly.

Advice: The running head is a shorter version of the title that appears in the header of all pages. Even before you start writing the paper, make sure that you include a running head and page numbers in the text file. Also, check the proper way to format them according to the 6th Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2009). Pay attention to the alignment, size, font and character length of the running head. Also, make sure that the page numbers appear in the upper right corner of the page.

Abstract

In 2012, 72.7% of the authors who submitted a paper to us didn’t format the “Abstract” heading correctly or didn’t have an abstract in the first place.

Advice: The abstract is an essential part of your paper, so you should always make sure that you have one! Also, make sure that the abstract appears on a separate page and that its heading is formatted correctly. One common mistake that a lot of students do is formatting the heading in bold and/or italics. Quite on the contrary, this heading should be centered and formatted as the rest of the text. You can find more information about the abstract by checking our post on how to write a good abstract.

Keywords

In addition to problems with the abstract, 61.3% of the students who submitted to us did not include keywords in their paper. Keywords are very important, because they are used by indexing services and search engines to deliver the content that the user is searching for.

Advice: Keywords should be situated below the abstract and be formatted according to the recommendation in the 6th Publication manual (APA, 2009).

Headings

Most of the students who submitted their manuscripts to JEPS were confused with the format of their headings. In fact, 86.3% of all papers had headings that were either of incorrect level or otherwise had problems with their format.

Advice: The headings are always one of the difficult parts when it comes to formatting your paper in APA style. The first thing you should do is to check the 5-level heading structure that can be found in the 6th Publication Manual (APA, 2009). Headings in research articles are easier to format because they follow a similar structure. However, literature review articles can be a bit more challenging. Any headings that appear at the same level should be equally important in the point you are trying to make. Headings that are level 2, 3 and so on usually elaborate on the section that they appear in. You can find additional information in our Bulletin post on how to format headings in APA style.

In-text Citations

Eighty-four percent of all papers submitted to us in 2012 had problems with in-text citations. Mistakes in this category include: incorrect use of ‘et al.’, spelling inconsistencies, incorrect use of commas and ampersands, as well as wrong order of multiple citations in a single parenthesis.

Advice: Citing sources accurately is an essential part in writing your paper. Make sure that you know the rules for citing works written by different number of authors. Additionally, check whether the names and the year of publication of your citations have been consistent throughout the text. If you find the authors’ names difficult to spell, use Copy and Paste to avoid mistakes. Be careful not to omit the comma and ampersand when citing a work written by three or more authors. Finally, do not forget that you need to order alphabetically all multiple citations that appear in a single parenthesis.

Other Less Common Mistakes

Figure 1 shows APA style mistakes that were encountered less frequently in the papers submitted to us, but that nonetheless constituted a significant part of all mistakes across the 27 categories.

 Figure 1. Other less common APA style categories that students found difficult in 2012.

Advice: You should leave out all personal information in the text and then delete the file’s meta-data in order to ensure that the blind-review procedure is followed. To delete the file’s metadata, simply go to the “Properties” menu in Word and delete the information in the “Author” field. The same thing can be done by right-clicking on the text file in Windows Explorer and choosing “Properties”.

JEPS requires that all manuscripts submitted to us have the correct margin format specified in our guidelines (2.54 cm for right and left margins, 3.0 cm for up and down margins). It’s good to start with these small details before the actual writing of the paper, since you can very easily forget about them later on.

Quotations can also cause some difficulties to students. One mistake that a lot of authors commit is that they forget to provide page numbers for direct quotations. It’s good to avoid this type of mistake because it can be time-consuming to go back and search for the page that the quotation was taken from, especially if you have quoted a lot of materials. Also, do not forget that there are different rules for quoting text that is longer than 40 words (see APA, 2009).

Reference List

Layout Formatting

Seventy-seven percent of all authors who submitted to us in 2012 did not format the “References” heading correctly or did not include one in the first place. This result is very similar to the one concerning the “Abstract” heading because those two types of headings are formatted in the same way.

Advice: Before even writing your references, always make sure that you have a “References” heading. It should be centered and formatted just like the rest of the text.

References

The data analysis shows that 90.9% of all authors made three or more mistakes when formatting their references. While this number is very impressive, it includes a number of APA style mistakes such as: incorrect use of commas, full stops, ampersands, italics, or overall incorrect formatting of the different types of references.

Advice:  The easiest way to avoid mistakes in the reference list is to use referencing software- there are some freeware programs that will do a very good job. They will save you a lot of frustration and also make it easier for you to organize your references. You can check our post that introduces a similar program. If you still want to format the reference list on your own, make sure that you know how to format the different types of references (e.g. books, journal articles, dissertations). Most of the other rules, such as the use of punctuation marks and formatting the title, follow the same logic and are relatively easy to learn. Here are a few very common mistakes in this category:

  • One thing that a lot of students do is that they capitalize all major words in the title of the reference. You should remember that only the first word should be capitalized. If the title contains a colon or dash, the word immediately after it should also be capitalized.
  • Be careful not to omit the ampersand when writing the reference for a work written by 2 or more authors.
  • Make sure that you use intervals correctly- especially when writing the authors’ initials.

Further reading on the JEPS Bulletin: APA style: How to format the references list?

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Of all the papers that we received in 2012, 88.6% had one or more omitted DOIs. Providing DOIs for journal articles may seem like a trivial thing to do and that’s probably one of the reasons why a lot of students failed to do so.

Advice: Journal articles that are published online usually provide a DOI on the first page. Also, most journal publishers provide this kind of information on their website. A lot of articles that have been published in the last 10 to 15 years normally have DOIs, but it’s best if you check whether each article you are referencing has one. You can learn more about DOIs here.

In addition, there are some other less common APA style mistakes in referencing sources, as presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Other common APA style mistakes in the reference list.

Referring to mistakes made by students in the section of the references is the failure to list all cited sources in the reference list. This mistake can easily go unnoticed when you cite sources, but leave writing the references for later. The easiest way to avoid this mistake is to provide a reference for the cited source right away. Also, you can use the search engine in Word to see if all cited sources appear in the reference list (and vice versa). This strategy is also very effective for finding spelling inconsistencies between in-text citations and the reference list, a mistake that some 45% of the authors did.

While the correct formatting of your references is important, you should also pay attention to the general layout formatting of the reference list. For example, it should begin on a new page and the references should be formatted with hanging indentation (see APA, 2009).

Additionally, make sure that the references are ordered correctly. They should be ordered 1) alphabetically and 2) according to the number of authors and year of publication (if applicable).

Conclusion

With so many rules to remember, formatting your paper in APA style can be tricky. However, with a little patience and experience you will quickly grasp the basic rules. If you ever need help with an APA style question, you can always ask it in the APA style Q&A section of our website.

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank the JEPS team members, and especially Ezra Bottequin, who helped me collect the data for this post.

 References

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: Author.

 

Photo credit: morgueFile.com

.

Martin Vasilev

Martin Vasilev is a final year undergraduate student of Psychology at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and the author of some of the most popular posts on JEPS Bulletin (see for example, his post on the most common mistakes in APA style was the most read in the JEPS Bulletin in 2013 and his post on writing literature reviews, which was reprinted in the MBA Edge, a magazine for prospective postgraduate students in Malaysia)

More Posts

Posted in Manuscript analysis, Publishing in scientific journals and tagged Abstract, APA style, citations, common mistakes, references on by Martin Vasilev. 3 Comments

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *