Guest Blog: Battling APA Style and Winning with Paul Graham


March 13, 2020

One of the most challenging transitions to academic life is understanding citation styles. In some institutions, they permit a wide array of styles to be used, such MLA, Chicago, Harvard, to name a few.

However, here at Yorkville University we have simplified the process by mandating one citation style for all programs, and that’s the APA or American Psychological Association style.

Although it can seem like a daunting task at first, there are many ways to become efficient at using APA citation. At present, a new edition of the APA is available, so check with your instructor if you’re not sure whether to use the 6th or 7th edition of the manual.

Yorkville University Supports

Some important supports are provided directly from Yorkville University. For example, our Learning Success Centre provides strategies for APA citation and formatting.

Our in-house Writing Lab also provides direct support with APA references, you can submit your questions and references to them for review and analysis.

As well, our 24/7 academic support service, Smarthinking, provides APA support for both the 6th and 7th edition of the APA manual. You can also submit specific questions about APA to Library Services for support.

Technology Support

Technology is definitely your friend when it comes to citing in APA.

For many decades, students and scholars have been using Bibliographic software such as EndnoteReadCube, and Mendeley. These are specialized software packages allowing students to download citation information and full-text directly from library databases, online websites, and social media such as YouTube.

Of special note, you can also cite your references in many citation styles, including APA, saving yourself much time and effort when it comes to the final edits of your essay. Although some of these cost money, Zotero is a freely accessible option with free cloud storage back up, meaning that no matter where you are in the world, you can access your research.

Even word processors such as MS WordGoogle Docs, and Libre Writer have citation/reference features that help you structure and manage your research information.

Libguides & the APA Blog

Another great way to identify the proper citation for APA is by using Libguides. Libguides are pre-vetted information sites on all sorts of topics. For example, if you didn’t know much about doing a literature review, you could search Google for “Libguide AND Literature Review” and find many examples.

This same strategy will work for APA citation. Whenever you have a challenging citation, and don’t know how to cite it, you can search for a Libguide. For example, you can search for “Libguide AND apa AND book”. This will retrieve many results, such as the following: Citation Help for APA, 6th Edition, Book or this guide for the APA 7th Edition.

When you have any academic task, not just APA, and are looking for a starting place, try searching using the term “Libguide” in your search of Google. We also have a link directly from the library site to the official APA blog which provides advice for both the 6th and 7th editions.

An APA Battle Plan

Even with all this information, it can be challenging to know how to navigate it when you’re in the middle of your work, so here’s a strategy for tackling your APA challenges:

1. Download Zotero software so you can easily retrieve and manage citations.

2. Get to know how your software – MS Word, Google Docs, Libre Writer – can help you with APA.

3. Spend some time reviewing YU’s Learning Success Centre writing supports.

4. Submit your APA references to our Writing Lab or Smarthinking for review prior to submitting your paper.

5. When you have challenging APA questions, consider these options:

a. Check your APA manual

b. Search online for examples using libguides, YouTube, or the APA Blog

c. Check with Library Services.

6. Most importantly, confirm with your instructor. If your instructor has identified a problem with your references in past assignments, ensure that you get feedback on anything not clear to you.

Although it may seem challenging when just starting out, developing a strategy for APA that includes technology, support services and key websites is an effective way to ensure you’re spending more time on analyzing your topic than struggling with citations.