We edit psychology papersIn every new school year, another crop of scholars is faced with the perennial issue of using citations in their writing. Many people engage me to edit psychology papers. Of course, psychology is the main discipline to use APA, but many professors assign APA style as the reference style for papers in a wide variety of disciplines. Here are a few tips to make it easier. I'm keeping it short and sweet with just the basics here, so if you have more questions, check out some of my other posts under APA Style, or visit the OWL, which is a great source for writing advice in APA, MLA or Chicago style.
Use parentheses correctlyThe first thing you need to know is how to use parentheses. When you put something in parentheses it adds to the sentence, but the sentence must be able to stand alone without it. When you use APA, you are told to enclose the author's name and year of publication in parentheses (Francis, 2015). Notice that the sentence above reads perfectly well without the part in parentheses. However, there are two ways to make a citation. Sometimes you introduce the author's name with a signal phrase at the beginning of the sentence. In this case, you only put the year in parentheses.
According to Francis (2015), blah blah blah.
What I see with some new writers is that they have got stuck on the idea that the author's name is always in parentheses, so they write: "(According to Francis, 2015), blah blah blah." That's quite wrong, since the words "According to Francis," are supposed to be part of the body of the essay, not extra. Notice also that the comma comes after the closing parenthesis mark because the parenthetical date belongs with the name.