In the immortal words of Cleavon Little, excuse me while I whip this out. This, in this particular context, is my APA style book and not… You know what – I’m going to abort this sentence. Now. Right now.
I’m not sure what the general familiarity is with academic citation. Presuming none, let it be said that it’s a generally accepted practice in college-level writing that, upon making a claim, one references the book, magazine, journal, or cosmic vibe that put such a harebrained thought into your skull. This is for the convenience of other academics who will then use the information to mock you in their own papers conclusively disproving your thesis, which you can then counter-use to conclusively disprove the academics who conclusively disproved your previous thesis while simultaneously implying they’re doo-doo heads.
And so the circle of passive aggressiveness continues.
I feel an Elton John moment coming on.
Returning to the act of citation – or, as it is known by college students the world over, “that thing you sometimes do when you’re mostly sober” – APA (American Psychological Association) style is something of an unknown to me, being an English major and having forged the steel of my literary ability in MLA (Modern Language Association) style, also known as “that thing they keep changing every other freakin’ year.” Yet my entrance into graduate academia has brought the foreign scourge of APA upon our household. Enter the internets and the Purdue OWL.
My findings, in relation to APA style, are as follows (quotations in italics):
1. Pronouns are, apparently, of the devil.
APA does not recommend replacing “he” with “he or she,” “she or he,” “he/she,” “(s)he,” “s/he,” or alternating between “he” and “she” because these substitutions are awkward and can distract the reader from the point you are trying to make. The pronouns “he” or “she” inevitably cause the reader to think of only that gender, which may not be what you intend.
They go on to recommend replacing the pronoun with a noun – person, individual, child, researcher, etc. – as if somehow that will be less annoying. My husband, a veritable paragon of helpfulness, recommended I just replace all my pronouns with “yo’ mama”; however, I rained on his parade when I pointed out “mama” was gendered. Instead, it would have to be something like “yo’ caretaker” or “yo’ guardian,” which I think we can all agree detracts from the overall intent.
2. Identify people, but in a way that no can recognize them.
Use adjectives to serve as descriptors rather than labels. When you use terms such as “the elderly” or “the amnesiacs,” the people lose their individuality.
No they don’t.
They’re the amnesiacs.
That is their individuality. I’d venture to say amnesia is a relatively defining characteristic.
And the good news is that odds are against them remembering their offense long enough to get their disapproval published in any sort of academic journal anyone cares about.
Yay scholarly writing!
3. Don’t write in verse? Just try and stop me.
Writing papers in APA style is unlike writing in more creative or literary styles that draw on poetic expressions and figurative language. Such linguistic devices can detract from conveying your information clearly…. Therefore, you should minimize the amount of figurative language…such as metaphors and analogies…; and avoid rhyming schemes, alliteration, or other poetic devices typically found in verse.
I think that I shall never see
A paper written coherently
That did not when eyes read it first
Wish was writ in metered verse.
Leaves the eyes in great malaise.
Why waste time on such fodder?
Why not chug wine instead of water?