APA Citations

I have to say, I don’t know when the last time I had to use APA style was. In my undergrad courses, I was always told to choose either MLA or APA or some other recognized citation style: I used MLA because it was closer to what I had used in high school. I can’t say I’m very impressed by the APA style, and if the whole point of citations is to make them findable by readers, then including the first name would be good first step.

We discussed afterward why there might be so many citation styles (different professions wanting to emphasize different things, etc) and if it would ever be possible to create a universal citation style (widespread conclusion: probably not).  I can understand people being wary to change or compromise a style they may have always used or championed.

However, in the end, it’s just slightly different ways of citing sources that largely vary in how nit-picky they can be in terms of punctuation, capitalization nuances, and word order. Ultimately, does it really matter if someone decides they want to mostly do APA style but with more capitalization in the title? Would that one discrepancy render all the citations useless? Of course not.

And if all the vital information is present, how much does the precision of order matter? After all, one could argue that a reader would not be able to distinguish the author from the publisher from the chapter heading from the title without a standard format. Of course, if one is only familiar with one particular citation style (and as I have learned, there many, many nuances in the correct citation, depending on what portion or format of a work is being used), then a proper citation in a different style isn’t going to be as clear as it was intended to be.

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