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When pursuing academic writing, whether that is for education, career, or self-fulfillment, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of plagiarism and academic integrity. The online writing tool, Grammarly, is a great way to ensure the work is of high quality, not just grammatically, but the program checks for plagiarism, as well as writing style. It gives suggestions for overused words, and sentence structure. The program was very straightforward to use and offers excellent explanations as to why the edits are suggested. It walks line-by-line through the work, keeping everything in order (Walden University, n.d.). Another tool offered by Walden University is SafeAssign. This program allows the writer to upload a draft of the document, and SafeAssign checks for plagiarism. It also provides a report of the word count. This program takes a little longer than Grammarly to produce its report but offers peace of mind that the work is free from plagiarism (SafeAssign Drafts, n.d.). Using these two programs, as well as reviewing the information provided by Walden University on plagiarism, helps prepare writers to submit their best work. Understanding that most plagiarism happens due to improper or lack of citing gives students an advantage to not make that mistake, being sure to cite and give credit where it’s due. This helps clarify for some students that plagiarism is not just taking direct quotes and not citing correctly, it’s also the use of paraphrasing and ideas from others without citing properly (Walden University, 2012e).
Another popular, and useful online program students and writers can use the Purdue Online Writing Lab, or OWL (Purdue Writing Lab, 2018). The website offers information on all writing styles, but for this purpose, specifically APA style. It offers an online workshop that gives an overview of the APA style, as well as providing various other resources to learn about APA style of writing. A secondary tool the website offers is a formatting and style guide. This goes more in-depth in the APA style and helps students construct their APA style writings properly, from the title page all the way through the reference or final page of their paper (Purdue Writing Lab, 2018).
There are many rules and guidelines for writing in APA style. One area in APA writing that seems easy, but is often overused, or used incorrectly, is the comma. The American Psychological Association provides the correct time when to use a comma, and when not to use a comma (2010). Most commonly, the comma is used before the words and, and or, and when listing a series of three or more items. Other common reasons to use the comma are between years and dates, and to separate two independent clauses (American Psychological Association, 2010). It also provides reasons when not to use a comma, like separating parts of measurement. The full formatting rules can be found on page 88 and 89 of the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (2010).
A second formatting rule that is seemingly simple, but often can get overlooked is reference formatting. When setting up the reference list, it must be alphabetized by the author’s surname (American Psychological Association, 2010). This may seem simple, but there are few points to remember, for example, “nothing precedes something” (American Psychological Association, 2010 p. 181). An example of this would be the last name Lewis would precede the last name, Lewison. Another point to remember that may not be well known is, “Alphabetize the prefixes M’, Mc, and Mac literally,” as well as any other prefixes (American Psychological Association, 2010 p. 182). The full reference formatting rules can be found on page 181 and 182 in the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (2010).
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Purdue Writing Lab. (2018). Purdue OWL: Purdue Writing Lab. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html
SafeAssign Drafts. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_16483406_1&content_id=_49395875_1&mode=reset
Walden University. (n.d.). Grammarly. Retrieved from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/grammarly
Walden University. (2012e). Walden University: Plagiarism. Retrieved from http://writingenter.waldenu.edu/63.htm
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