Using APA (or any other) formatting style is like the Amazing Race. Each piece of information needs to be collected in a particular order. You need to complete one step before going on to the next. It's also like a puzzle in that the pieces all have to fit together and there are very specific rules for how each piece of information is used.
There are hundreds of online sites and books that will show you how to follow the APA format but before jumping in it might be helpful to have a bit of background.
1. APA stands for the American Psychological Association. We are using information gathered from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. It is referred to in many ways: APA style guide, APA formatting, APA citation format, etc. The current manual is the 6th edition, published in 2010. (See the link to the left)
2. The Commission on Dental Accreditation supports using this format AND if you continue your education you will be better prepared.
3. It is the standard format for health sciences, though this is not the only style used.
4. Its rules provide a structure for presenting scientific information in a manner that makes communication easier. In other words; it provides a template for communicating.
5. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is considered a very authoritative resource for all aspects of writing academic research papers. (See link to the left)
Often instructors (myself included) emphasize the way articles and books are cited on the Reference page, as if this was all there is to it, but really this is just one part of the process. There are four major components to papers that follow the APA style (See link to the left for a sample paper):
1. Formatting: The way the page is formatted has specific requirements, for example:
Use 12 point Times New Roman font
Each page has a running head (This is the title of your paper) at the top - left hand side of the page that is in all capital letters
There is a page number in the upper right hand corner - on the same line as the running head
Margins are 1 inch
All text is double spaced including the References page
All paragraphs are indented 1/2 inch
Title page: The title is in upper and lower case letters, it is centered in the upper half of the page, and is no more than 12 words
Under the title is the author's name, first name, middle initial, and last name
Under the author's name is the institutional affiliation - where the research was conducted. In our case it would be Flint Hills Technical College
2. Abstract: This is a summary of the key points of your research
It is on a new page (after the title page)
The abstract is one paragraph long and is not indented
3. The body of the paper:
Title of the paper is in the center of the page
Introduction: often this is the same as or very similar to the abstract
Literature Review: a summary of articles that relate to the topic being researched. Your instructor will explain how extensive this section should be. All articles will have in-text citations.
Discussion: in this section you reflect on key points discovered in the literature review and how your research fits with the authors' conclusions.
In-text citations: There are very specific rules for how sources are cited in the text of the paper. Credit must be given the authors of Ideas used in your paper otherwise you are committing plagiarism which is a very serious offense and can lead to dismissal from the college. (See the Scholastic Honesty policy in the college catalog.) (See EasyBib link on left for citation creation help.)
4. References: Works cited in the paper
All resources cited in the body of the paper must appear on the References page
Resources are listed in alphabetical order usually by author's last name. If no author, then by the title of the webpage or article.
This is a VERY brief overview. From this you can see, however, that leaving the paper to the night before it is due is not a very good idea. It's very similar to learning a new software program. Not only are you mastering the material of your research, you are also following a complex set of rules for how the paper is presented. All is not lost, however. There are numerous resources for you to use. Some of them are listed to the left.
One additional point:
You are writing a case study which is a little different than a typical research paper. After the literature review you will present your patient's medical and periodontal conditions, therapy plan, and postoperative instructions(see your assignment). (See the link to the left.)