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.