What makes APA so difficult?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Maniac Craniac, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    This is more of a general education question, but since it comes up so often on DL boards, enlighten me. After a quick glance at an APA manual, it doesn't look that bad. At the very least, one can look up whatever they are having trouble with while they are completing a paper.

    So, my much more experienced, more laureled DI compañeros, why is this such a recurrent issue, and what tips do you have for someone (for example, if you happen to know any Maniacs who are psych/soc majors ;)) who will experience these woes in the future
  2. me again

    me again Well-Known Member


    When I first started using PERRLA, it was a basic APA software program. However, as the years have gone by, it has become state-of-the-art. It is absolutely awesome because the software does all the work. A click here and a click there and ***POOF*** it's done right!

    It's here: APA and MLA Format and Style Software by PERRLA, LLC - PERRLA.com

    Nope, I don't get a dime out of this, but I use it and believe in it and refer all my students to PERRLA.
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Hogwash...software...just learn APA. It is fun and you will be a chick magnet at parties. Who would not want to hear that the table spacing changed from APA V5 to APAV6?
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    It's not difficult at all. There are a lot of rules to remember so some people struggle. I don't have any trouble with it. I use Zotero, and while it's not an APA style application, it formats my citations and bibliographies in any style I want, APA 6 being one of many. Zotero is a killer research, reference and bibliography tool.

    The biggest problem comes, like in Allie's case, when your instructor understands APA rules slightly differently than you. In that kind of disagreement the student usually loses.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2010
  5. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Those chicks go for pocket protectors too? :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2010
  6. obecve

    obecve New Member

    APA is so much easier, more systematic and usable than other methods (Chicago or MLA). It is clearly a great method to write by. If you learn it it becomes "old hat" and easy very quickly!
  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    But of course - is there any other kind?
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    This is true. I just know this stuff after doing about 200 works cited for my paper.
  9. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    I love this program and can't live without it! Learn APA? Never!
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    LOL. I don't take shortcuts when it comes to matters that will increase my skills. Life has plenty of hacks, cracks, plan Bs, corners to cut and easy-way-outs, but I always prefer to do things the hard way, IF the hard way is what leads to greater personal gains. It also looks like it will save me money, since I was already born with a CPU, motherboard, and TONS of hard disk space and RAM in this maniacal cranium of mine. I have no need to install software when rote memorization of facts and lists is a specialty of mine anyway.
  11. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Thanks MC make me feel like a loser! :(
  12. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I have been working on 6 credits in the past 4 months... you accomplished that in what, 1 month? Which of us is the loser in that equation? I'll give you a hint, he is not even half as awesome as b4cz28 ;)
  13. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Thanks , I feel so much better now. I will put the rope away...lol
  14. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    That's a good idea. You need to put food on your family.
  15. rickyjo

    rickyjo New Member

    Learning APA (or any other strict format) as best I can tell, is like learning a programming language. That's why it sucks. You have a very strict set of rules that one can infer meaning from but cannot guess.

    As for Maniac's comment, I contend that hacks, cracks, shortcuts, etc, usually translate to greater time and money efficiency (as long as they work!) and you get better at them as you practice them, just like anything else.

    Let me put it this way, I cannot believe the kinds of things I have seen paper-clips used for. Sure, I could go buy a bigger better part, or I could get two crappy parts I already have and a paper clip. In the end, I learn more by hacking the 2nd part. In this case a desktop computer's PSU.
  16. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Scene: Student reading over syllabus on day 1

    Student: blah blah blah...forum post, ok. Blah blah blah, non-proctored, cool. 7 short papers due...one every other week, ok.

    Scene: End of week 1

    Student: ok, I have a paper due next week. I better start researching and gathering sources.

    Scene: I've got all my sources, and I'll spend the next 4 days drafting and this baby will be perfect!

    Scene: Nearing the end of week 2, paper due in 1 day

    Student: CRAP!! APA style!?! What's that???

    Scene: The student now spends the remaining 48 hours learning APA style simultaneously while they write the paper.

    Student: So, if it's 3 lines then what again? Where does the flipping period go? Last name where? Page number? Crap, I didn't write down the page numbers. I don't understand when to use italics, and how many indentations?? Two spaces after the period or one?? Who uses ONE space after a period!? Oh man, I'd better not use a semi-colon.

    Conclusion: I have to do this 6 more times this semester? APA style blows.

    *or maybe that was just how I learned it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2010
  17. rickyjo

    rickyjo New Member

    *cringes at cook's example*
  18. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    That agrees with what I said. I made the exception when it comes to personal growth. It may be easier to jog 1 mile instead of 5, but the benefits won't be the same.
  19. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Or I spend that extra time making my essay better and let my APA program auto fill the rest! Dang it have to get off of here and start using the instantcert I just singed up for.
  20. eilla05

    eilla05 New Member

    From personal experience writing a zillion papers already (it seems anyway) all the rules associated with APA is what makes it hard. Its easy to learn the basics such as how to make a reference page or use citations within your paper it is when you come to harder stuff like how to make tables or cite works by 12 authors with an online journal that does not have a year or page numbers etc.

    The worse yet is the interpretation of APA by instructors as someone already said. In reality it is not APA that is hard it is meeting the instructors preferred usage of APA that is hard.. hence you have read my thread ;)

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