APA Publication Manual is the rule book of academic writing and formatting styles developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). APA Style is one of several highly-regarded writing styles and formats used for academic documents such as research publications, papers, essays, journal articles and books today. Due to the clarity and coherency APA style brings in any document that gives a boost to the popularity of APA style among the masses. However, writing a dissertation in an APA style is not an easy task since you need to follow stringent rules and guidelines. Here we will discuss the five most common APA style mistakes made by doctoral students and how they can avoid these mistakes while formatting their dissertations.
1. Running Head and Page Numbers
Most of the students submit their dissertations without a running head or even numbering of the pages. Even when the dissertation has a running head or numbered chapters, greater is the possibility of incorrect formatting and placement. Therefore, you should be careful about these. Before you start writing your dissertation, it is preferable to update the formatting style in writing software such as Word, Google drive and Latex etc. Include a running head and page numbers in the text file and make sure that it is formatted correctly and evenly throughout the dissertation.
In your dissertation, ‘Abstract’ is an important section as it briefs the reader about what all is contained in the document. Thus, make sure that your dissertation has abstract well-written. Most of the students fail to format the ‘Abstract’ heading correctly. Formatting the heading in bold and italics is one of the most common mistakes that many students do. You should avoid making this mistake and should place the heading in the centre and format it as the rest of the text.
Many students make the mistake of not including keywords in their dissertations. In APA style of writing, keywords are very important because it is the keywords which are used by the indexing services and search engines to find and deliver the content that the user is searching for. While writing in APA format, you should place the keywords below the abstract.
You should avoid using incorrect heading or even formatting them incorrectly. Headings are the most difficult part when it comes to formatting your paper. You can avoid mistakes in formatting the heading by checking the 5-level heading structure mentioned in the 6th Publication Manual (APA, 2009).
5. In-text Citations
You should avoid in-text citations while writing your paper in APA format. Mistakes in this category include wrong use of ‘et al.’, spelling inconsistencies, wrong use of commas and ampersands, as well as the wrong order of many citations in a single parenthesis.