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APA Style: Writing & Citation

This Research Guide has been created to help students use APA style in their writing.

Conciseness and Clarity

In academic writing, clarity and precisian in writing is important in order to get your points across to your audience.  APA provides some pointers in writing your papers with clarity and accuracy.  (see page 113, Section 4.4 in the APA 7th edition manual)

Avoid Ambiguity in Sentences:

Don't use the word feel as a substitute for believe and think.  Use the word feel only when discussing emotions.

Avoid Approximate Language:

Don't use the words very few, practically, mostly, or marginally when talking about the results of an experiment.

Don't Use Jargon:

Jargon is technical vocabulary that communicates ideas in particular field.  It is language that may not be commonly known by people outside of a certain field.  Avoid jargon terminology when writing for a broader audience.

Avoid Colloquial Expressions:

Don't use colloquial expressions.  Colloquial expressions are informal words or phrases that people tend to use try make a point.  These expressions or words are not appropriate for formal writing.

Examples:  loose cannon

                   hot head


                   piece of cake


Anthropomorphism is when you attribute human traits to animals or inanimate objects.  APA recommends that you avoid these types of statements (see page 117, Section 4.11 in the APA 7th edition manual)

Correct Incorrect Explanation
Pairs of rats were allowed to forage together Rat couples were allowed to forage together. "Rat couples" is giving human romantic traits to the rats.
The theory addresses The theory concludes A theory might address, indicate, or present, but it is the researchers who make conclusions.

When describing the content of different sections of a paper, you may start by using statements such as "this section addresses" or "this chapter focuses on."

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