Technology

Psychological Association Portal Offers APA Style Guidance

By / Jul 19, 2016 (APA screenshot)

Students get extra help writing papers in APA Style through a new portal from the American Psychological Association, which can guide them through the writing process—from research to publication.

To enable students to better follow APA Style in their papers, the American Psychological Association launched an online portal that integrates the processes of researching, writing, and publishing.

It’s an educational platform designed to enhance scholarship.

APA Style Central, which is based on APA’s Publication Manual, allows students to collaborate with each other and instructors on research and the writing process, as well as provides instructors with teaching materials they can assign to classes. Currently, only institutions can purchase an annual license for the portal, though APA is considering making individuals licenses available.

“It’s an educational platform designed to enhance scholarship,” said APA’s Business Development Director for APA Style Emily Ayubi. By providing writing tips, instead of making changes for the students, the program “encourages them to develop critical thinking skills and take ownership of their work. Librarians and instructors can rest assured that the emphasis is on education, and not doing the work for students, but rather coaching and nurturing and guiding them throughout the research and writing process.”

APA began developing the portal several years ago after Publication Manual users pointed out the need for digital resources for students, Ayubi explained.

APA Style Central features four centers to “cover the lifecycle” of the writing process—learning, research, writing, and publishing—all of which are integrated together to enable access to each step at any point in time.

Learning Center. The portal hosts hundreds of learning sources, including video guides and tutorials, the full Publication Manual, quizzes, sample papers and references, and sample tables and figures. These can be easily viewed from the other centers.

“We’re appealing to different learning styles and needs,” Ayubi said. “If you want to watch videos about an empirical paper, you have access to the quick guides and tutorials. If you want to look at what an empirical paper should look like, you can click on the sample paper. If you want to read about what should go into your empirical paper, you can click on the Pub Manual text.”

Research Center. Templates in this section help students narrow down a paper topic, plan and track their literature research, or manage data from tests they conduct. Students can search academic references in APA’s database that come with preformatted citations or create their own citations using a form. The service then helps students create tables and write their methodology section using their findings.

Writing Center. The “fully collaborative writing environment” lets multiple writers—both students and instructors—work together on an academic paper, edit each other’s writing, quickly access references and insert citations, create headings in APA Style, and refer to tables or appendices.

Publishing Center. Once the paper is completed, students can browse a list of journals where they can submit the paper for potential publication.

The portal ultimately expands on the information in the Publication Manual, the APA Style flagship brand, and the revenue APA Style services brings in for APA.

“APA Style Central is a breakthrough for everyone involved with the instruction and use of APA Style,” APA Executive Publisher Jasper Simons said in a statement. “It provides users with 24/7 access to expertly created tools and guidance, as it coaches and helps prepare the next generation of scholarly writers.”

Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. More »

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