Posted by: maf | July 7, 2008

Bibs Finished; APA irritations

I have (as of this moment) graded every single word submitted by everyone in this class. So, if you submitted something prior to 10:54 a.m. on July 7th, but don’t see a grade for it, then I can’t find it!

The bibliographies are all done, except for two that needed extensions. They look great overall. I’ve commented liberally within your files. Make sure you open the uploaded feedback file (the one that has my initials tacked onto the filename). I indicated in the dropbox comment box if I inserted feedback or Word Comments, etc.

Now, a brief editorial on APA. Most of the deductions I made had to do with APA.

There is a big part of me that shrinks from picking on APA formatting in student products. How authentic is this, really? Most of all, these days, I am frustrated by its anachronisms – not to mention its picky idiosyncrasies. MARC records … APA formatting … my brain refuses to remember the minutia involved (there are much more interesting things to keep inside of my brain, after all!)

But here are some arguments in favor of using clean APA, in descending order of importance:

  1. Information ethics. We must give intellectual credit, and be exemplars for our students. This is why I do insist on complete citations, above all else – readers must be able to trace your references, in case they want to follow up.
  2. Professionalism. Choose a style and stick with it, just because it’s part of the scholarly landscape. It’s a form of professional discipline, although arbitrary at times. Professional presentation is your scholarly business suit. I want you all to be fully equipped to dress up your writing in its professional best, when the situation calls for it.
  3. First impressions. When your APA isn’t right, it’s a concrete fault that is an easy target. A shallow reader may discount your innovative ideas and reasonable arguments if he/she can’t get past your stylistic problems. It’s like knowing which fork to use for your salad at a formal dinner.

With all of that said, I will not be so careful in looking over your APA every single time – because I have other things to do. Certain things tend to catch my eye no matter how quickly I look. The best strategy is to get your references perfect and then copy/paste them from that point on.

I am here all week if you need me.

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Responses

  1. If your school district subscribes to NoodleTools/NoodleBib (and many in metro Atlanta do), you can create your own account and use the APA style wizard to assist you with this task in your projects. I relied on this heavily to help me with APA style (I am more of a MLA girl!) during my four years at UGA. šŸ™‚ I find this tool to be especially helpful when you are citing resources from research databases.

    Buffy


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