APA Manual as a Tool for Research

When considering the structure of the APA manual, I found its value as a tool for research to directly correlate to the value of structure in a paper itself.  Just as readers internalize the structure of a paper (thesis statement in the introduction, elaboration in the body paragraphs, summary and call-to-action in the conclusion), the uniform style associated with APA itself, as well as the manual, allows users to ‘scan articles quickly for key points and findings.’  It is important in higher research to easily determine relevancy and usefulness, for the breadth of knowledge and findings about any given subject is diverse and abundant.  Likewise, when questioning particular nuances of APA technique, it is helpful to seek the answer according to structural need.

I was particularly drawn to the quote from the forward of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (p. xiii), which explains that through the use of a codified system, researchers can ‘focus intellectual energy on the substance of our research’.  My students often view the ‘citation’ process of research as a necessary evil, an additional task that is puzzling and challenging and (in their minds) useless in expressing their ideas and findings.  The APA’s approach to the task challenges that view, and speaks to the benefits of the system.  In my personal experience, I can agree with the APA, for I am often relieved when I can easily analyze a source further by locating the original material from which an opinion or research stemmed.  Following a ‘citation trail’ provides a more robust overview to a topic when researching, and APA style allows for that process.  In the same way, following a sequential pattern in the style guide allows for a more robust understanding of the requirements for each individual aspect of research.
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association.  (2010).  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Why is APA Style needed? (2016). Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/why-apastyle-needed.aspx

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