Monday, April 04, 2016

Research Papers and Formatting, Oh My!

We have two papers to do in my current master's course, and the initial draft of both of them is due this Sunday. I've been slacking off the last few weeks, but now it's getting to be crunch time. I've got perhaps just a closing paragraph to do on the larger one, but then I have to do the resources page (bibliography, whatever) and format the inline references.

MLA. APA. CMS. Is it really so hard for academics to agree on a formatting style? In this program I've used both MLA and APA for papers--I get them confused to I have to look them up each time just to ensure the formatting is correct.

And then, of course, there's Microsoft Word. How do you get the title at the top of each page? How do you get the page number at the top of each page? How do you get the title and the page number at the top of each page?  It probably took me 20 minutes of searching the Help button, and following the instructions to the letter, in order to make it happen.  It's certainly not intuitive.

So if blogging is light the next couple days, now you know why!


Anonymous said...

Have you tried one of the formatting programs? I've never used one with Word, but I've had students who used them. EndNote is probably the best known, but there are alternatives. A cursory web search shows a few free alternatives (e.g. Zotero- just the first one which came up; I have no experience with any of the free alternatives). You build a library of your references, and let the program format them according to any of a range of styles. Most of them seem/claim to integrate with Word to create the bibliography and enable you to add citations in the paper.

Darren said...

NOW I read this comment, after having spent over an hour and a half figuring out how to do the bibliography in Word! It works pretty much as you described--but still, given my odd sources, I had to play fast and loose.

I couldn't figure out how to reference a US law in APA format so I winged it!

Joshua Sasmor said...

I was going to recommend LaTeX and BibTeX, but if you've already finished...