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Thursday Thoughts: Introductions

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Road with mountains in the distance
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.


Walden University Writing Center logoThe 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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APA Style Refresh: Citing Multiple Sources to a Single Point

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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
A refreshing beverage to help you refresh you APA skills!


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 author pic

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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WriteCast Episode 52: Transitioning from Master's-Level to Doctoral-Level Writing

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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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APA Style Refresh: Suffixes

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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!  
APA Refresh: Suffixes


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 author image

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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Narrative Writing Series: Tips from Creative Writers

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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.


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.

Walden University Writing Center 

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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