Here are the things that your APA papers must be or have:
- Hanging indent – they are annoying, but they are required.
- Alphabetical references – nonnegotiable
- No second person (you, yours)
- In-text citations. Attribution is vital. Sometimes it takes a bit to get a feel for when to use attribution, but we have time.
- Basic formatting – Double spaced Times New Roman, 12pts. Cover page on large papers.
Things I will annoy you with so many times that you will eventually give in:
- Sentence case on titles – I am not going to knock points off your final paper if you don’t catch all of these, but do your best. Most auto-citation stuff (including Zotero) won’t fix this, so you have to go back through and fix it. Do it the first time you cite and you won’t have to worry about it later.
- Spacing – Pretty much every element in an APA reference has a period and a space after it.
- Formatting of in-text quotes. They are different depending on whether you are quoting or not, and APA is different than MLA. Watch a tutorial or read the basic page on it in the Purdue Owl and you should be good.
- Download Zotero. It will help you catalogue and organize your references, and you can drag and drop citations. You can thank me in grad school.
Things I won’t bug you about that I or other teachers may have bugged you about in the past:
- First person. If you are describing anecdotal information (personal experience) it’s fine. If you are describing your research method, also fine. Just don say, “In my opinion” because that’s implicit and weakens your statement. More details here.
- “They” as a non-gendered pronoun. APA will likely incorporate this in the next round anyway, and gendering is tricky. So you can say, “They were a good friend” instead of “He or she was a good friend”. Hallelujah. If the gender of the subject isn’t identified, you don’t have to do the whole he/she/one/pluralization dance anymore.