When working through the dissertation or article publication process, researchers need to be aware of the many resources available that can assist in guaranteeing the published work is of the highest quality. The main source social science researchers follow is the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual. The manual can be purchased online at most major book retailers, such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as directly from the APA website (http://www.apastyle.org/products/). Make sure to purchase the newest edition (6th), as requirements change to match advancements in the field of social science.
The APA also publishes an APA Style Blog, which offers more detailed or alternately explained information relating to the manual (http://blog.apastyle.org/). Sometimes the answer one is looking for can be found in the Comments section at the bottom of a blog. Researchers can also create an account and reach out to the experts. Various APA-related resources are available online, but it is highly recommended to refer to the original manual and the APA Style Blog website as the authority.
In addition to the APA manual and blog, the Crossref Database is an excellent online source to help locate missing source information or doi numbers (https://www.crossref.org/). Crossref is a nonprofit committed to scholarly publishing and registering articles with doi numbers, also known as the digital object identifiers that directly links to the source. Including the doi number with online sources in the reference list is the most important element of properly citing source information, because it allows future researchers to access the same articles and proves credibility of the researcher.
To use the Crossref database, paste the title of the source in the Search Metadata search feature on the homepage of the website. Hit enter to search the source, and if it is registered with a doi number, it will appear as one of the top results. Although Crossref has switched to the secure hyperlink format as the recommended format for displaying this information, APA still accepts the original http (no s) or the doi:10.#. Regardless of the format used, try to keep the presentation of the doi number consistent throughout the whole reference list:
A newer resource available for cross-checking references is Recite Works (currently in beta testing; http://reciteworks.com/). Researchers can upload their full document and the software will cross-check the APA (or Harvard) references—i.e., using the Author-date format, the software will check the in-text citations with the reference list and vice versa. It will then identify if errors exist with the references, such as a source used in the text but not listed in the reference list. Researchers should run the document through this software at least once and address all errors found to ensure the proper citation information matches throughout.
Last, always refer to the specific university or journal publication guidelines, as these will supersede APA requirements. Each school and journal follows different formatting and style requirements, but many default to APA. When in doubt, it is best to contact a professional APA editor to perform a thorough, detail-oriented edit of the document before publication, which will advance the writing to a more scholarly, publishable format.
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