Resources for Academic Writing with APA focus


As a result of doing my Masters and all the academic writing that comes with it, I have been building up quite a set of resources to help me structure and improve my writing. I thought it would be a good idea to put together a concise summary of what I have found, in order to help myself in future or anyone else in a similar position.

Academic referencing is really just the Art of letting people know where you found your information. In order to do it in a way that communicates clearly, you need to be systematic and predictable in your approach. A number of recognised referencing systems have been developed for this purpose eg Harvard, APA, MLA, Chicago ... I will focus on the APA style as that is the system that is most common in the Social Sciences and it also the system that I most likely will be required to use, when doing my dissertation.

Understanding the conventions of Referencing, efficiently. 

So one of the things struct me about referencing is how similar it is to Algebra. You have a series of elements on your document page such as abstracts, paragraphs, titles, sentences, sub headings, in text citations, full citations, tables, figures ... . And all these elements have to interact in a logical and predictable manner. My goal is to understand these general principles in as few steps as possible, so that most of my energy goes into the high level thinking required for the academic writing.

When to use a Reference ?

  • Paraphrasing / Summarising
  • Pictures from the Internet
  • Use a Table / Diagrams from another source
  • Quote someone

Academic Literature Storage and Reference Management Tool

  • Zotero (Free - Great for Google Docs and Word and Simple Interface)

Image result for Zotero

Resources for Guidance for Zotero

Items on References / Bibliography Page

  • Books: Reference, Chapters, eBooks, Editors Web Sources
  • Periodicals (Print and Non Print): Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, Government Resources
  • Web Sources
  • Other: Interviews, Videos, Lectures, Podcasts

APA Focused Referencing   

General Principles of APA - to follow 

The APA Style style of writing and referencing, that is very common in the social sciences. It is described in the style guide of the American Psychological Association (APA). The guidelines were developed to aid reading comprehension in the social and behavioural sciences, for clarity of communication, and for "word choice that best reduces bias in language".

Basic Structure of a document in APA

  • Your paper should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides. 
  • You should use 10-12 pt. Times New Roman font or a similar font.
  • Include a page header at the top of every page. 
  • To create a page header, insert page numbers flush right. 
    General Tools for Obeying Conventions APA


    1. Love this resource. Also love that you are putting your work out there!

    2. This is a great resource and I believe it will help a lot of us in academic writing.

    3. Im glad it's proving helpful (:


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