Properly Citing APA for College Research Papers

The APA format sounds very intimidating at first. The word plagiarism hovers above us all as if we are all criminals trying to get away with a bank heist! I started studying APA before this class, when I was studying for my English Challenge Exam. It was then that I realized this was not an alien concept. After all, people have been writing research papers ever since college was invented! Once I got the hang of the order of content in the references, I realized it wasn’t so bad. While doing research for my research paper, I realized there is software available to assist me (or, should I say, do it for me). One of a few is Perl, which is described on their website as: “…software available to help people struggling with the APA style format.” (Perrla, n.d.) It is reassuring to be familiar with that if I do struggle with this new style of writing, I always have the option of letting a plan do it for me, so I can center on the topic at hand, instead of worrying about making sure my paper is legal!

In the past, my research papers have seemed much unorganized to me. Sometimes I italicize something to make a point. Or I’ll write it in bold to make it stand out. If no font is specified, I like to use a pretty font, just to spice it up a little. APA seems to be saying – “Hey, let’s all get on the same page, here, and use a uniformed style.” That way all of our papers look the same, and it is only the material that makes them unique. The first thing that made sense to me when learning about APA was just this: a pretty font distracts the reader from the content of your paper. Looking all over to find a reference of quoted material distracts the reader, also. College is all about learning. The APA style makes sure we can focus on just that. According to Silverman, Hughes, and Weinbroer (2004), “Too much concern about correctness can inhibit your writing; too little interest can come between you and your readers.” (p. 2). I like the organized format that I’ve learned about for listing my references. Once I get the hang of it, I’m sure it will come naturally, and won’t feel so intimidating. In the meantime, I’ve learned of some excellent resources with examples of different references and the ways they should be listed.

Like I mentioned before, plagiarism hovers over us all like a rain cloud. We aren’t bad people. We aren’t here to cheat our way through school; we want to learn! It is the accidental plagiarism that scares me the most. “…the Web has made it much easier to catch ,” (Katie Hafner, Lessons, 2001) What happens when in 10 years there are so many college papers posted somewhere on the internet, that every paper I write comes back with matched content… even when I’m using my words?! Hopefully, that won’t be a problem just yet! The threats of plagiarism are more aimed towards those dishonest people out there; I’m going to try not to worry too much about it. Meanwhile, I plan just to struggle through and try to cite everything correctly until I catch on.

Argumentative Essay Writing Tips and Tricks

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

You’ve just been assigned a dreaded Argumentative or Persuasive Essay, and you have no idea where to start! Utilize the following tips to get you through the process with a minimum of fuss and stress.

Do a Cursory Search on Your Topic

Before attempting to form an opinion on the issue, it is important to educate yourself on your topic. Find out what types of articles people are writing about your issue. You will need to narrow your search effectively in order to find quality information. For example, searching for a general topic “gender” will probably be fruitless. However, search for “U.S. salary gap for females” will generate some quality leads. Make sure to keep track of your sources throughout this process; you may need to cite them later.

Write a thesis statement.

The best thesis statements introduce the issue and the writer’s knowledge on this topic, focus and control the entire essay writing process, and state an opinion. Be careful to avoid vague language such as “Many politicians might find that negative campaigning could hurt their chances of re-election.” Instead, use strong, opinionated language such as, “In order to increase their chances of re-election, politicians must not endorse negative campaign ads.” A good thesis statement also includes language that informs the reader of what is to come in the body of the essay: “For the sake of serving our state residents properly, the California state legislature must balance the budget immediately in order to adequately fund educational programs and keep government offices in operation.” This thesis statement deals with all of the main issues (i.e., funding, state offices and educational programs, and the state budget) that the writer plans to cover in more depth throughout the essay.

Write Strong Topic Sentences

Look back to the main ideas you included in your thesis statement. These will become discussable topic sentences for your body paragraphs. In the previous discussion, the main idea of educational programs was mentioned in the thesis statement. This general idea could be broken down into many different sub-topics. For example, this writer may want to address the issues of public school disability programs, cafeteria programs for low-income students, and ESL programs statewide. Write a topic sentence for each of these ideas. Topic sentences are arguable, support your thesis statement, and deal with only one, single point. For example, “Ninety-five percent of Californians claim they take some prescription drug” is not a topic sentence; it is a fact. A topic sentence should state an opinion that supports the thesis statement. Organize your topic sentences in the order in which you plan to present them in your essay.

Body Paragraphs

Each of your body paragraphs should tackle one issue. Do not try to make several points in a paragraph, instead limit your discussion to a single point addressed in your topic sentence. Once you have outlined your list of discussable topic sentences, you can begin to fill in your body paragraphs with other types of sentences, those that explain, illustrate, inform, or quote expert ideas. Make sure fully to develop your discussion of each topic sentence by only including paragraph sentences that support it.

Utilize Quality Sources

Now that you have narrowed down your topic and done some writing on it, you will have a better understanding of the types of research you will need. Doing random searches on the internet is not the most-productive use of research time. You might consider visiting a community or school library to enlist the aide of a trained librarian who can direct you to quality sources, find books and articles that address your specific thesis statement, and help to order unique materials from other libraries.

Write an Interesting Introduction

It may seem backwards to write an introduction to your essay after most of your paper is finished. However, this strategy will help to make your introduction interesting and informative. At this point, you have a good general knowledge on your topic and opinion on it. Now is the time to lead your audience where you want them to go. Start with something attention grabbing like a shocking quote or a question. Then, use transitional sentences to inform your reader on the general nature of your topic, narrowing with each additional sentence, and ending with your thesis statement. Placing the thesis statement in the last line of the introduction will help to control and focus the essay for your reader.

Write a Satisfying Conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay and functions as your final goodbye to the reader. Make it memorable. You will need briefly to recap some of the discussion you raised in the introduction, but you must also leave the reader with the feeling that you have successfully completed your argument.

Rethink the Thesis Statement

Now that your paper is written, go back and look at the thesis statement. Is it still applicable to EVERYTHING in your essay? If not, feel free to change your thesis to reflect what is in your body paragraphs.

Revise, Revise, Revise!

Always check through your paper several times looking for specific errors. You might, for example, read through your draft once just looking at your sentence structure. Then, read through the entire essay again looking at punctuation. Professional writers often spend more time in revision than they do in initial writing.

Additional Tips: 1) Make sure you fully understand your assignment before attempting to write. 2) Read your essay aloud to yourself. You may “hear” errors that your eye has a tendency to skim over. 3) Have a friend or family member look at your essay. A second set of eyes is always helpful in spotting errors.

2 Books that changed my view on Weight Loss

2 books that have changed my view on weight loss

As a weight loss coach, I regularly keep myself updated with latest information and different perspectives on weight loss science. I also learn a lot from conversations I have with people, emails I receive or comments that I read on my blogs. Of all this information input, there are two books which changed my entire vision on weight problems.

Thin for Life

On a purely physiological level, the book that I consider absolutely essential is Anne Fletcher’s ‘Thin for Life’. Even though the book was published in 2003 and may be considered old by some, it is more relevant than ever as it includes a key variable in explaining weight gain – the sugar variable. When I speak of the sugar variable, I obviously think of different sugars encountered in any diet that are responsible for the rise in blood sugar. If you had to name one “big” reason for weight gain widespread in industrialized countries, this would be it. We eat too many foods with high glycemic index.

Curiously, it has been decades since weight loss experts have been trying to suggest that you should avoid taking fats. Moreover, on a lot of American food packaging, the emphasis is on low fat foods. The book rightly points out that the certain fast absorbing sugars have the greatest link with weight gain. The book teaches the indispensable lesson of differentiating between good and bag sugars. For this reason, this book is on the top of my list.

Richard Simmons’ Never Give Up

In my quest to better understand the different reasons for weight gain in an individual, I got invaluable insights from Richard Simmon’s book titled ‘Richard Simmon’s Never Give Up’. The book deals with the emotional state of a person and its direct impact on their body weight. Your emotions can create a different unwholesome-vis-à-vis ratio of food, or create the necessary chemical conditions inside the body for weight gain. In this case, the root of evil is the emotions, it is the emotions that we must “deal” to solve a problem of weight gain. The problem is vast since emotions cannot be managed easily.

The book also enters the field of personal development such as developing self-confidence, stress management, overcoming anxieties, etc. The most is a technique to make strides towards resolving its internal conflicts called EFT. This technique is used to lose weight. It has no side effects and can be used in conjunction with a well-designed plan.

Emotions, Diet & Chemical Imbalance

These two books also deal closely with the issue of chemical imbalances caused by both diet and emotional states of a person. The major impact on chemical imbalance in human body that causes the gain in weight can be attributed to ‘leptin’ hormone. This hormone has the function of regulating appetite and managing fat reserves in the body. In other words, imbalance in this hormone can change the entire weight loss equation. One product which I definitely recommend to truly activate functioning of leptin hormone is Venus Factor. It is a supplement which brings a natural order to human body. It has the magical dual functioning of reducing both body fat and curbing unnecessary appetite to attain that figure you always envied of having.