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APA Resources

Outlining Your Ideas Before Writing

A writing assignment has three stages: planning, writing a draft, and editing the draft. There are many ways to plan. Outlining is a common strategy. Outlining allows you to organize your ideas and ensures you have satisfied assignment requirements. Writing with an outline simplifies the writing process and helps you succeed. You are probably familiar with outlines that use Roman numerals, letters (capital and lowercase), and Arabic numerals to show an order from most general information to most specific information. Note how the following task is organized in outline form:

Preparing to Drive a Car

I. Entering the Car

A. Insert the key in the door lock and turn it counterclockwise

B. Open the door

1. Disengage the latch

2. Pull door open

a. Crouch slightly to clear the roof of the car

b. Slide onto the driver’s seat

C. Sit behind the wheel

II. Starting the Car

A. Place right foot on brake

B. Insert key in steering wheel lock

C. Turn the key clockwise to start the engine

1. Release the key when the engine starts

2. Place both hands on wheel

When you are planning how to address an academic writing assignment, it is usually best to start by organizing your thoughts:

  • What is the task your instructor assigned?
  • What parts must be included to satisfy the requirements?
  • What is your purpose for writing the document?
  • What background information will you need to supply to the reader?
  • Are there terms or concepts you will need to explain?
  • What peer-reviewed sources will support your claims in the document?

Once you have answered these questions, you can begin creating an outline. The Roman numerals will be followed by headings representing the major assignment requirements.  The capital letters will be followed by subheadings representing main themes for those requirements and so on. Once you have completed the basic outline, you can begin filling in the details like the specific assertions you want to make about your chosen topic and which peer-reviewed sources will support those assertions.

Writing a Literature Review

Consider this advice about a literature review and check your review to ensure it satisfies these requirements. A literature review contains critical evaluations of published material. Your job in your literature review is to organize, integrate, and evaluate previously published material on your topic and discuss the progress that these authors and researchers have made toward clarifying the problem. According to APA, your literature review should (1) define and clarify the problem, (2) summarize previous investigations to inform the reader of the state of research, (3) identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature, and (4) suggest the next step or steps in solving the problem. Please consult your APA Manual or contact us if you need further assistance.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when you use someone else’s words or ideas without crediting the original author with a citation.  Whether the plagiarism is intentional or not, it is still a serious issue. The consequences for violating Keiser University’s plagiarism policy are listed in your Keiser University Student Handbook.

In addition to acknowledging the original author’s words or ideas with a citation, you must decide whether to use quotation marks around the author’s exact words, paraphrase, or summarize those words.  Paraphrasing is more than changing a few words. You must change the sentence structure and phrasing while retaining the author’s original meaning.  Often, it is simpler to summarize the key information that the original document conveyed.  You must cite the author(s) who originated the words or ideas whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.

Avoiding plagiarism is not difficult:

  • Maintain good notes on the sources from which you obtained information.
  • Make hard copies of your sources that will contain the authors’ names and the publishing information connected to the source so that the information is always available as you compose your document.
  • Submit your documents through plagiarism detection software so that you can be alerted to any potential plagiarism issues.

Research and Scholarly Writing

Academic writing has qualities that distinguish it from other forms of writing and requires students to develop specific writing skills. To develop those skills, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Academic writing always uses formal language and tone; it is not conversational.
  • It is written for an educated audience who are not experts in your subject matter.
  • It uses a specific format (APA) that regulates page composition, heading structure, and how sources of information are documented.
  • It has the purpose of advancing knowledge about academically interesting subjects.
  • It is expected to be accurate, informative, and well edited in terms of writing mechanics (grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, appropriate vocabulary, etc.).
  • It is based on information relevant to your topic that you have found in peer-reviewed sources.

Finding Scholarly Sources to Support Your Academic Writing

The best resource for finding scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles is the EBSCO host databases. Once you select a database related to your particular field of study, you can enter search terms to find articles on specific topics. To ensure you have scholarly articles, make sure you check the scholarly, peer-reviewed box. Check the full-text box if you would like to see the entire article rather than just the abstract.

If you need assistance finding specific information related to your assignments and research, please contact the Keiser University librarian Mr. Nicholas Blaga at [email protected]. The Keiser University online library’s address is

You will need certain information from your sources to document the origin of your information:

  • Names of authors
  • Year/date of publication
  • Title of the document
  • Title of the publication the document appeared in
  • Other publishing information or a path to the original document

The information you will need for your citations of the source and for its listing on your References pages will vary by the type of source. The APA Manual contains the information you will need to document your sources of information correctly.

Citations and References

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Comma Rules

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Apostrophe Rules

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PowerPoint Tips

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Jessica Kircher

Going to Keiser University was one of the greatest experiences in my life. All of my deans, professors, and staff made me feel that I was a part of something very special, and I am. I would recommend for anyone to get their education at Keiser University.

Belinda Haney

The instructors at Keiser University impacted my life. They believed in my ability to become a great graphic designer, regardless of how I felt about my skills. KU helped to prepare me for the real world and got me to where I am today.

Justin Pugh

If not for my education at Keiser I probably would not be where I am today, in both life and career. It is because of going to Keiser and the instructors I had that I joined a club started by Mr. Williams, The Lakeland Shooters Photography Group, which allowed me to venture into an amazing and very creative field that I use to enhance all aspects of my life.

Anthony Sassano

The Design program at Keiser University was filled with real world learning and hands on instruction… Based on the portfolio I created while a student at Keiser University, I landed a job in Graphic Design for a major online retailer immediately after graduation.

Ty Fitzgerald

The year and a half I spent in the program better prepared me for attaining a job in the field…As a hands-on learner, the project-centered teaching was perfect for me.

Jackson Tejada

Keiser University has given me the opportunity to embrace a career change… It has opened the door for a timely graduation and quick return to the work force…

Dale Caverly

Without the education I received at Keiser University, I would not be where I am today!

Meisha Ebanks, R.N.

I not only received an excellent education but also encouragement and training that built my self-confidence every day.

Nidia Barrios

I realize the amount of knowledge I gained and feel that the educational experiences have developed me in to a person who can move higher up the career ladder.

Carlos Ramirez Flores

Keiser University’s MBA program has renewed my mind, changed the way I think, and given me a new sense of purpose.  The professors transformed my attitude and behavior, gave me the self-confidence I was lacking, and restored my energy.

Connie Sue Centrella

It has been great attending and graduating from Keiser University.  Because of the small class sizes, I was able to build good relationships with classmates and professors.  The PA professors care very much about the progress and success of the students and have been great advisors every step of the way through the program.

Annelise Merriner, PA-C

Attending Keiser University and getting my degree was the best decision I have ever made.  The small class sizes and personalized attention helped me get my degree quickly.  The hands-on experience and the education landed me a job at a neighboring law firm.

Dedrick Saxon

I chose Keiser because it had everything—small classes, caring professors, hands-on learning, and counselors that are really there for you.  I feel like I’m part of a family here, not just a number.

Natalie Dou

After being denied for several promotions at my current employer, I decided that I needed to further my education.  Since graduating from Keiser with my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I have been promoted and I am able to obtain positions that weren’t available to me before.

Laurie Williams

Beyond the curriculum of the courses, the lessons the instructors have taught me have paid dividends in my real work experiences. How to respond to criticisms, project and time management, interview skills, the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, they not only showed me how to design, but they taught me how to be a professional.

Ryan Bushey

Keiser helped change my life by getting my education at the right school! I had been going to another school before, I dropped out because I felt that I was not getting enough information. When I found out about Keiser, I was pleased because the instructors were great.

Nadege Dor

My decision to attend Keiser University has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I chose to enroll in the Information Technology program… The one-class-a-month pace helped incredibly with my self-discipline.

Marla Hadley

The BA for Business Administration at Keiser has to be one of the best in the nation. Keiser takes the basics that are taught at the Associates level and uses them to strengthen your skills and knowledge.

Vivian R. Howard, BA in Business Administration Graduate

I found that Keiser University’s Nuclear Medicine program of advanced studies and small class size was a perfect fit. I never came across a faculty member who wasn’t truly interested.

Gustavo Gonzalez, Nuclear Medicine Technology Graduate