The APA/MLA Struggle
One of the most ridiculous things all students have to do at some point in their life is write a research paper. Even more ridiculous that the paper is the reference page. Before the wonder of automatic citation web pages existed, we had to do it the old fashioned way: Find the author, publisher, year published, place published, etc. And it wasn't just these things we needed to find, because we still have to find these things to enter them into the website, but we also had to put them in the correct order and form. It is seemingly impossible. Different websites give different ways to do it and all claim they are the correct, not to mention there are two different styles: APA and MLA. Most of my life, in fact all of my life, I have written in MLA. I recently had to write a paper in APA form, and I can't really say that I enjoyed it. There were changed such as a running header, page numbers, semi-different format, and the reference page was the worst. I spent about forty-five minutes trying to get my reference page correct. Of course I didn't know there were wonderful tools like automatic citations. Here is the general format of APA citations:
- The first line of each citation begins flush left, and the second and subsequent lines are indented five spaces. (This is called a "hanging indent.") .
- Only initials are used for authors' first and middle names. Names are inverted: Miller, J. K
- Single spaces separate each element.
- Citations are arranged alphabetically by authors' last names; works by the same author are in alphabetical order. If the author is unknown, alphabetization is by the first word of the title..
- Only the first letter of the first word of the title of books and articles is capitalized, with the exception of proper nouns. The first word of subtitles (after a colon) is also capitalized.
But that parts not too complicated. Not really complicated at all, actually. The hardest part is getting everything in the write order, and then figuring out if something needs to be underlined, italicized, put in quotation marks or something of the sort. Of course when you go to cite your book, there are a few different factors you need to take into account. First you have to see if the book is by one author or more. Then you need to check whether it is first edition or not, which, who cares? And then there is a completely different format for websites, magazine articles, and the likes. The part I struggled with the most were the websites. Sometimes I couldn't find an author, sometimes I couldn't find a date created, stuff like that. At first, these were the only types of examples I could find:
American Psychological Association. (1992, December 1). American Psychological Association
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved October 30, 2001,
which really didn't help me much since I didn't use that website for research and didn't know what was supposed to go in its place. Then I found another example, telling me what goes where, but it was completely different than the one above.
Last Name, First. (Date of Publication or Revision). Title of Website [online]. Available: website url. (Date of your visiting the page).
Citing Internet Documents
I don't know which form is right, and I'm pretty sure I used a combination of both, which is definitely not right. And besides having to write up the reference page, I had to search the internet and books to try and gather as much information as I could about my subject. Sometimes websites would contradict each other, and sometimes I would read new information that didn't sound like it was actually true. I got tangled up trying to decide which website was wrong and which was compiled of random facts. My point was to try and explain why I prefer MLA over APA, but instead I realized that I don't prefer either of them. Research papers suck, and I still have at least four years to spend writing them. Great.