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Introductions are important! They provide context for the topic of the paper and let readers know what the writer plans to discuss in the paper regarding the topic introduced.

The Writing Center has several sources on how to develop an effective introduction, one that draws readers' attention and paves the road for the entire paper.


The Walden University Writing Center helps student writers at all points of the writing process by providing one on one writing instruction, modules, webinars, a podcast, and blog.


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Join us for a new blog feature where we give our readers, students, and scholarly writers an APA Refresh. These posts will help you to understand the common (and some not-so-common) APA rules, guidelines, and style considerations. We hope you find them informative and helpful. Just like a cold beverage on a hot, hot day, you'll definitely enjoy this APA Refresh


The more sources students read in their field of study, the more it becomes apparent that some scholars advance similar claims and or argue similar points. In fact, you might have even noticed that some scholars, in their work, attribute more than one source for a point to reflect this. As well, the further along you are in your studies, such as working on a literature review, a thesis, or a doctoral capstone study or dissertation, the more likely it will be that you will attribute more than one source to a point. So, how do you do this per APA style? In this post, I will provide an overview of how to attribute multiple sources to a single point.

Citation Basics
First, let's begin with some citation basics. If I want to attribute several authors to the same point, I have two choices, right? I can either use a narrative citation, where the sources are part of the grammatical structure of the sentence, or I can cite them parenthetically, where the sources are in parenthesis at the end of the sentence. When I read a work that attributes several different authors to the same point using a narrative citation format, I tend to find it more difficult to focus on the point of the sentence since more focus is placed on attributing different authors to the point.

Here is an example of a narrative citation that attributes several authors to the same point:

Philbrook (2018), Read (2018), Sharpe (2018), and Townsend (2018) noted that citing several authors in a parenthetical citation can complicate the clarity of a point.

While this is correct APA format, I find reading this sentence somewhat hard because there are so many authors listed that the point itself seems drowned out. If you do want to include the authors as part of a narrative citation, though, you can see that the basic format would be the same as other narrative citations except for each source is separated by a comma.

Use Parenthetical Citations to Cite Multiple Sources
That said, let’s look as some examples of how to parenthetically attribute more than one source to a point. Let’s say that the authors Steve Adams, Annika Jones, and Raul Smith all made the point that spicy food is healthy and should be consumed regularly (I agree!).

The basic format for parenthetically citing more than one source for a point is to separate the sources by semi-colons. Here is an example of the basic format for attributing more than one author to a single (paraphrased) point:

Spicy food is healthy and should be consumed regularly (Adams, 2016; Jones, 2011; Smith, 2018).

Seems fairly easy, right? Here, I included semi-colons to separate the sources—other than this, the citation format is the same as basic parenthetical citation format.

However, there are some variations for attributing more than one source to a point depending on the sources you are working with.

Variations for Citing Two or More Source for a Single Point
When there are two or more sources included by the same author, the sources would be listed by the order of the publication date with the author’s name included only once and the dates separated by a comma.

Example: Spicy food is healthy and should be consumed regularly (Adams, 2016, 2018; Jones, 2011, 2014; Smith, 2018).

In this example, Adams and Jones made this same point in two of their separate works, so the early dates of publication are included before the later dates. For instance, Adams’ 2016 work comes before Adams’ 2018 work, but I don’t need to include “Adams” twice; I just need to separate this author’s two sources by a comma.

Yet another format variation for attributing more than one source to a point is when there are two or more works included by the same author with the same date of publication. In this case, sources would be included in alphabetical order according to the lettered suffix (a, b, c, etc.).

Example: Spicy food is healthy and should be consumed regularly (Adams, 2016, 2018; Jones, 2011, 2014; Smith, 2018a, 2018b).

So here, Smith made the point in two separate works, both published in 2018. I included a lower-case letter, beginning with “a,” to differentiate these two sources with the same date of publication.

Learn more about citation variations on our website. Let us know, too, what citation variations you find difficult, confusing, or are just not sure about—we’re happy to help.



Veronica Oliver is a Writing Instructor in the Walden Writing Center. In her spare time she writes fiction, binge watches Netflix, and occasionally makes it to a 6am Bikram Yoga class.


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Making the move from master's to doctoral student can be surprising and challenging in terms of writing expectations. Max and Claire sit down to talk with Dr. Veronica Oliver, Writing Center writing instructor, about her transition and how students can prepare for their own. 

Check out our episode preview!

 

Stream or download (via the Share button) the full episode: 




Visit the Writing Center's WriteCast page for our episode archive and transcripts. Happy listening!

Writing Resources Recommended In This Episode



WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers is a monthly podcast written, produced, and published by staff in the Walden University Writing Center. Join us each month for a dialogue between two Walden U writing instructors. Possible episode topics will always be considered from listeners--share your questions and suggestions in the comments. 


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Join us for a new blog feature where we give our readers, students, and scholarly writers an APA Refresh. These posts will help you to understand the common (and some not-so-common) APA rules, guidelines, and style considerations. We hope you find them informative and helpful. Just like a cold beverage on a hot, hot day, you'll definitely enjoy this APA Refresh!  


When formatting essays in APA style, you may already know the basics of document formatting and how to use in-text citation. If not, I highly recommend a visit to our Writing Center resources for APA style. Even if you already know what to include in a parenthetical citation and how to format authors’ names in the reference list, there are some nuances in APA formatting that can cause problems even for seasoned users of APA style. For example, how should a writer format author names that include suffixes such as “Sr.” or “Jr.”?

According to the APA Style blog, while suffixes are set off by commas and included in the reference list, suffixes should not be included in in-text citations. Whether author Jane Doe is a “Jr.” or “III” or just plain Jane Doe, the only time a writer will use a suffix in conjunction with an author name is in the reference list. You can see a couple of examples illustrating how a writer might cite a work by Jane Elizabeth Doe, Sr., below:

Example in-text citation:

Doe (2016) lamented the nitpicky nature of APA formatting.

Example reference list entry:

Doe, J. E., Sr. (2016). Why does my suffix have to make everything so difficult? The Journal of Nitpicky APA Rules, 22, 6-46. doi:24.5297.t64364


Putting aside the fact that I wouldn’t want to read a 40-page article from a journal titled The Journal of Nitpicky APA Rules, using suffixes in APA isn’t so difficult. Even so, it can be helpful to review some of the more obscure APA rules occasionally. If you find these rules as difficult to remember as I do, the Walden University Writing Center blog team is here to help!


Katherine McKinney is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. She received an M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Walden. Katherine's goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.


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Creating a narrative is common when writing fiction, personal essays, memoir, and other forms of non-academic writing. However, sometimes student writers are asked to create narratives. These personal reflections allow you to share your experiences, wisdom, and insight, but they can feel complicated to write as they seem to live in between scholarly academic writing and creative narrative writing.




To help you with personal reflections, and to show you how narrative writing can be woven in other academic writing contexts, we created a narrative writing four-part blog series. The posts include:
  • Narrative Writing Overview: Learn the definition of the form and general tips for writing personal reflections.
  • Narrative Writing for Capstone Projects: These documents often require students to conduct and reflect on original research or project studies. Lydia shares strategies for including narration within the guidelines of capstone projects.
  • APA Documentation in Narrative Writing: If your narrative includes an interview with someone, you will want to cite that. Even when writing narratives, student writers should adhere to APA-style guidelines.

 

The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.


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Scholarly voice is an important component of APA Style which involves being clear, precise, and formal in tone. If you’re worried your voice may not be scholarly or want to do some quick checks through your work, here are some fast tips and fixes.




If you feel lost regarding what scholarly voice looks or sounds like, re-read your course materials! Reading peer-reviewed journal articles can help you hear and see what scholarly tone looks like in your particular discipline. Look back over your course readings to get a feel for that tone. You might find it helpful to read aloud and/or circle/highlight areas which seem scholarly to you as you read. 

Once you feel you understand how scholarly tone may sound in your discipline, read your draft aloud. Listen to how your work sounds. Do you stumble over a complex sentence or lose your train of thought? Do you find yourself saying something a little differently than you wrote it? These can be good indicators of clunky work. Additionally, do you hear your work sounding informal or casual? Do you hear shifts in tone or voice—whether this is the types of words you’re using or sentence structure? These are great ways to find places to revise for clear, direct writing that works towards scholarly voice.

As you read aloud, keep your eyes open for some of these patterns that make your writing sound less than scholarly. Once you get the hang of it, these patterns are easy to spot and easy to fix. It just takes some practice! 

Adverbs
Adverbs (like interestingly, clearly, ideally) are unnecessary qualifiers you’re placing in your work and don’t enhance meaning but instead highlight how you’d like the reader to feel. By revising to remove these adverbs, you streamline your work and create an objective scholarly tone.

Casual Language
Some common casual language might be phrasing like “a lot”, “sort of”, “very”, “really”, “just like” or other qualifiers (see again suggestion 1).

Lack of Specificity
As a writer in the social sciences, being precise and specific is important so your reader knows exactly what you’re writing about. Instead of writing “you” or “they,” for example, replace those terms with the specific population you mean. Replace “it” and “things” whenever possible with the more specific term.

Expressions
APA states to be as literal as possible and avoid expressive language. Some expressions might be “shines a light on”, “on the other hand”, “in the light of day”. All of these are perfectly fine expressions in conversation, but they aren’t compliant with scholarly tone because there aren’t literal lights, changes in the time of day, or two hands. Ask yourself if you’re being literal in your descriptions and explanations, and revise if not.

With these quick revision strategies, you can work towards revising for and achieving scholarly voice in your writing! For more on scholarly voice, review our scholarly voice webpages, our Use of First Person and Avoiding Bias webinar, and our APA Style modules.


Claire Helakoski is a Writing Instructor  at the Walden Writing Center and hosts the Writing Center's podcast, WriteCast. Claire holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She has taught writing and Composition as well as acted as a writer and editor in a variety of mediums. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and enjoys reading, writing creatively, and board games of all kinds.


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Join us for one or all of our live webinars this coming month, with topics including: APA Style, Writing Center services, flow, and sentence structure . Students at Walden University don't take a summer break, so neither does our webinar schedule. Sign up today! 




Title: An Inside Look at Writing Center Paper Review Appointments
Date: Thursday, July 5, 2018
Time (Eastern): 2:00PM - 3:00PM
Audience: All Students


Title: APA Part 1: Method to the Madness
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Time (Eastern): 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Audience: All Students


Title: Cohesion & Flow: Bringing Your Paper Together
Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Time (Eastern): 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Audience: All Students


Title: Engaging Your Reader with Sentence Structure
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Time (Eastern): 7:00PM - 8:00PM
Audience: All Students


Learn more about our webinars, view any of our archived webinar sessions, and find out how to suggest topics for future webinars by navigating to our Webinars Homepage



The Walden University Writing Center presents weekly webinars on a range of topics related to scholarly writing, APA style, and the writing process. In addition to webinars, the writing center offers paper reviews, live chat, and a podcast to support writers during all stages of their academic careers.


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“It appears the authors contrived a contextual audit of distinct, historical orators and their praxes in order to generate a conspectus of western rhetorical practices”
Yikes! I’m embarrassed to say this lengthy sentence can be found in my first grad school assignment.  I’m still not sure I know what it means, and I don’t think I knew then either. Luckily, I had a very patient professor that saw right through my attempt at sounding collegiate. They told me that good writing didn’t mean long-winded sentences full of multi-syllabic words I had looked up in a thesaurus. Again, Yikes.


Sure enough, I had written my paper in (what I thought) was a good example of scholarly voice. It had been awhile since I had been in school, and I was very self-conscious of my writing. I had no idea what my professor expected of me in my first paper, and I couldn’t help but compare myself to my peers. A number of them were in their second and third semesters of grad school, and some had already been published in academic journals! I thought I had to compensate for my inexperience by writing with complex jargon and ideas, void of any individual style.

I couldn’t have been more wrong! Scholarly writing is often viewed as dull and long-winded, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, the best examples of scholarly writing are clear and direct, and they use concise language to inform and persuade.

However, like all forms of writing, developing a scholarly voice requires practice. Although my professor had explained where I went wrong with my first assignment, it took time and practice to hone the rules of good scholarly writing. For example, I had to learn to balance a formal tone with clarity and concision. In my example sentence, the tone is formal, but the words themselves are unnecessarily complex. To edit this sentence for clarity, I could replace the word “contrived” with “created” and “praxes” with “habits.” 

In fact, to edit this sentence for scholarly voice, I would rewrite it as follows:
“The authors created a list of distinct, historical orators and their habits to create a summary of western rhetorical practices.”
While I substituted some of the complex language for simpler ideas, the meaning of the sentence is still obscured. For example, while authors could in fact “create a list of orators,” the word “researched” better explains the authors’ specific actions. My second revision is as follows:
“The authors researched a list of distinct, historical orators and their habits to create a summary of western rhetorical practices.”
Finding your scholarly voice takes time and patience, and sometimes you have to accept help to discover your mistakes and opportunities for improvement. However, the Writing Center’s staff is here to support you through your journey. We get that scholarly writing is challenging and can be intimidating, because we’ve been in your shoes! Eventually, we all found our scholarly voice, and you will too.

Now it’s your turn! How would you revise my sentence, “It appears the authors contrived a contextual audit of distinct, historical orators and their praxes in order to generate a conspectus of western rhetorical practices” for clarity and concision? Or, if you have a personal example of a sentence you have edited for scholarly voice, please share with us in the comments! 


Tasha Sookochoff is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. Along with earning degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Stout and Depaul University, Tasha has written documentation for the U.S. House of Representatives that increases government transparency, blogged for DePaul University, copy-edited the Journal of Second Language Writing, tutored immigrants and refugees at literacy centers, and taught academic writing to college students.


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It's been a long time coming. After all those courses, discussion posts, projects, writing assignments, and time spent researching topics in your field... you are finally moving into your final doctoral study. Each degree program has its own requirements and series of documents, but many follow this pattern: premise; prospectus; and final study, project, or dissertation. Your program may not include all three of those or something may go by another name. However, these documents are a big shift from the course work you have been doing.


The Walden University Writing Center has many resources to help you as you transition into these documents that are part of your final doctoral study. Writing Center instructors are here to help you with your preproposal documents: the premise and prospectus. Let's take a look at some of those now. 

  • If you are working on a premise or prospectus, you can still take advantage of our paper review service. Just be sure to choose the "preproposal schedule."
  • When the day comes when your prospectus is approved and you begin work on the proposal, you will find all the help you need on the Walden Writing Center form and style page.

If you are looking for a specific type of supporting resource, please reach out and let us know. We will be happy to find it for you. 



The Walden University Writing Center creates resources for scholarly writers at all phases of their Walden University journey. We cater to students just starting their coursework, all the way to students finishing their capstone projects. Paper reviews, a podcast, a website, modules, and live webinars are among just some of the resources we offer to students. 


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Sensitivity in APA style can be a, well, sensitive subject. When we writing instructors receive questions in chat or in paper reviews about sensitivity, students often ask how to be sensitive in their writing—and what sensitivity even means in relation to APA style! The general definition of sensitive applies to APA style in a couple of different ways.




According to the dictionary, a sensitive person has “a quick and delicate appreciation of others’ feelings.” If you have researched how to avoid bias in APA-style writing, this definition makes sense. Sensitivity in APA style does relate to understanding and appreciating the feelings and thoughts of others. However, there is another definition for sensitive that can also be related to sensitivity in APA, and this definition is that a sensitive person is “quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.” You might be wondering how quickly responding to changes relates to APA style, so I’ll return to this second definition after talking a little bit about the general guidelines for avoiding bias and showing sensitivity in APA-style writing.

While there are many ways to ensure sensitivity when writing about groups of people, there are three overarching rules that you can follow to adhere to the APA-style guidelines for sensitivity:

Be specific. It can be tempting to use general terms in an attempt to be polite, but it is almost always best to avoid generalizing. For example, if a writer says, “I interviewed young children,” readers will wonder what constitutes “young.” Does the writer mean toddlers or preteens? If the writer instead says, “I interviewed participants between the ages of 5 and 10,” readers will have a stronger understanding of who the writer interviewed.

Keep terms parallel. It is also important to ensure use of parallel terms when describing groups of people. For example, it wouldn’t be parallel to research how women and males respond to video games. A scholar might instead use men and women. In fact, it’s a best practice to avoid using male and female as nouns in general because these terms are largely used as descriptors, such as when studying male and female penguins, for example.

Use a group’s preferred language. This rule is a little more difficult to follow because different people and different groups prefer different terms. For example, while people-first language is generally the standard for sensitivity in APA, some groups of people, such as autistic children, prefer the descriptor to be used first. It is always a best practice to research preferred descriptors and language when writing about a group of people.

There is one final rule not included in the above list because this rule is principal and supersedes the others: Accept change!

To ensure sensitivity in APA-style writing, it is important to understand that change is constant and that a change in preferred descriptors or language is generally a positive sign of a responsive academic community. For example, at one time, the norm in writing instruction was to only use “they” as a plural pronoun. However, due to changes in language preference in the LGBTQ+ community, we at the Writing Center updated our policy to illustrate our acceptance of gender-neutral pronouns. Change means progress, so being flexible and willing to comply with changing norms can help writers ensure sensitivity and avoid bias in writing.

To that end, the second definition of “sensitivity” that I linked above concerning being responsive to change should now make more sense in relation to sensitivity in APA. While it is important to be sensitive to others’ feelings, it is also important to respond quickly and gracefully to changes in preferred language. By always researching before writing about a specific group of people and by being considerate of changing norms, scholar-practitioners can help contribute to an inclusive atmosphere in academia.



Katherine McKinney is a writing instructor in the Walden University Writing Center. She received an M.A. in English from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Walden. Katherine's goal as an instructor is to show students that the best writing results from practice, and she aims to provide feedback and resources that will guide students through the invention, composition, and revision process.


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