Los Angeles / Orange County Libraries

When do I use a dash?

The APA Blog has two articles on using the en dash – the short dash – and when to use the longer dash —  the em dash — in your writings

The em dash is mostly used to set off a comment you want to make on the surrounding material.

 Em dash    http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/09/computer-editing-tip-em-dashes.html 

The en dash is used for ranges, such as page ranges or dates.

En dash    http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/09/computer-editing-tip-en-dashes.html

Both posts show you how to create the two dashes in Word.

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Readings on “What is the What”


What is the What by Dave Eggers has been chosen as this year's Book of the Year.  This novel is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, who, at the age of 7, along with other children, was forced to leave his village and start a perilous trek to freedom while avoiding and surviving the deadly violence and terrain of the Sudan.

For those of you interested in more information about Mr. Deng and the work he and Mr. Eggers continue to do visit the website of the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation,  a foundation established by Mr. Deng and Mr. Eggers to increase access to education in the Southern Sudan.

The website also contains links to Dave Eggers'  essay about the writing of What is the What as well as his report of a trip to Sudan with Mr. Deng in 2007.

You can also find a reader's guide to What is the What which contains information which may give you some context about the events of the novel including a timeline of modern Sudanese history, the transcript of an interview on NPR with Dave Eggers and Valentino Deng, suggested additional reading, and articles written by Mr. Eggers which he later used as the basis for the novel.


More APA writing tips

The APA blog has two articles that might be helpful in your paper or dissertation writing.

The first article reveals a tool in Word, Paste Special, that helps you format information you copy from the Web into your document.  If you use Paste Special, the imported material should adopt the same formatting as your document, saving you the time to reformat everything.

The second article provides tips on how to alphabetize names that are in different alphabets.


Choosing a Title for your Dissertation or Paper

The APA style blog has a helpful post on how to choose a title for your dissertation or paper.  Keep it short, summarize the main idea and (yes!) give away the ending!

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When to Use Bold-Faced Type

Check out the APA Style Blog for an explanation of when to use bold-faced type in your writings.  The short answer is to use bold-face only within the body of the text such as for common headings within the body of the paper like Method, Results, and Discussion.  The blog post has a link to sample papers.  It’s always helpful when you can see how the rule is being used.

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EBSCO’s new search page

EBSCO has improved its search page to make searching a little easier.  I’ve previously mentioned searching by Field Codes which allows you to search a specified field in the record such as author, title, tests etc.  Now, EBSCO has made it easier and clearer to use Field Codes by providing boxes with drop-down menus so you can choose the fields without remembering the field code.  It also allows you to specify whether you want the results to include all (AND) your search terms or any (OR) of your search terms or to limit the meaning of the search term by using NOT.  This is a great way to find cited articles where you know the author and the title.

Using the field codes are optional, so you can continue to search the way you did before.  This search page looks a little more like MetaSearch with the boxes joined by the AND.

 NOTE:  If you want to use the Subjects search you should first go into the Thesaurus (at the top of the page) to get the exact word used by EBSCO.  If you don’t use the exact word no articles will be found.   See the “Using Subject Searches” finding guide by clicking "Finding Guides" on the right side of this page for more information about searching by subjects.

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How to Format Statistical Information

The APA blog has information on how to include statistical information in your writing.  It also explains what to do when the statistic has its own parenthetical value.   According to the blog, APA style does not like nesting parentheses.  ((  ))

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Citing Secondary Sources

I’ve gotten some questions on citing secondary sources in your research -  when an article or book you’re reading contains a quote from another source.  The APA blog has a discussion of when and how to cite a quotation you find in another article.   APA suggests you track down the secondary source and make it a primary one but, sometimes, that’s not practical.

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Citation tip from APA

The APA Style blog has some good tips for using quotations in your research. They suggest 5 different ways to use a quote and give you the appropriate APA citation format.



How to find a DOI

The APA Blog has a video on how to find the DOI in EBSCOhost, on the article and in Cross-Ref:


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