How to Use This Book
This book is largely a reference guide that will help you to format and structure papers. At the same time, it presents useful guidance about the characteristics of high-quality writing that is both competent regarding the use of the English language and consistent with APA style. Your final product will be stronger if you attend to the material on creating compelling prose and to the technical material relating to APA style.
If you are writing a term paper that presents information on what others have studied and reported but that does not involve your own original research, you are likely to benefit from the material in chapters 1 and 2, which relate to high-quality scientific writing; chapters 3 and 7, which relate to introducing the topic you are addressing and integrating that information in a coherent package; and chapter 8, which involves the formatting of reference citations. Some parts of chapter 9, dealing with formatting, will also be helpful.
If you are working on a research project, you will benefit from the material in the chapters already mentioned. In addition, there is relevant information in chapters 4, 5, and 6, which deal with the details of your research and your results.
After you have completed your project, if you are creating a poster presentation, chapter 10 will be helpful. If you are preparing to give an oral presentation, chapter 11 will give you guidance. If you are interested in Internet or electronic publication, chapter 12 will be useful.
Finally, there are two appendixes with a sample research paper in each. In Appendix A, you will see a research paper with common APA-style errors.
You may want to glance through this appendix to see if you have fallen prey to these errors, which I have found to be the most common among my own students. Appendix B is a corrected version of the material in Appendix A.
By paying attention to the guidance that this book provides, you will be able to produce written papers and posters and will know how to organize and deliver oral presentations. You should also gain a sense of what you want to communicate and how you want to convey it in a way that other researchers will recognize as competent and professional.