Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Eight Common APA Mistakes


By Kate Devlin

If you are writing a paper that needs to follow APA style guidelines, read on to see how to avoid some of the most common mistakes writers make.

What are some of the most common issues writers run into with APA style?

As most writers following APA style have probably already realized, there are many dos and don’ts when it comes to APA style. While there are many rules to follow, you may find that the more you work with them, the more familiar they become. You might even become an expert!

You are not alone if you struggle a bit with following APA style. There are great resources to guide you like the American Psychological Association’s website (apastyle.apa.org).

Here are some of the most common mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Pay attention to verb tense. Use past tense for the literature review, the methodology section (if it’s already happened), and the results section.
  2. Use what is called the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) for a series of items. This means that if you have a series of items, you put a comma after each item and before the “and.” For example, I like apples [comma], pears [comma], and grapes.
  3. Only use one space after a period, not two. (This is good practice for whatever you write since two spaces after a period has not been in practice for a while now.)
  4. For quotations, be sure to lead into your quote with a sentence or two introducing it, such as why it’s important and how it relates to what you are writing about. Don’t just leave the quote hanging with no explanation.
  5. Be sure to use transitions between paragraphs and sections. They help guide the reader through your paper. Transitions are words like “first,” “second,” “next,” or “finally.”
  6. Be sure you are using the correct formatting for your in-text citations and your reference list. The APA website has many examples to help you. Also, be sure that any references cited in your text match the ones listed on your reference pages.
  7. Check your formatting—from the title page to the last appendix section, APA has rules for it all—margins, fonts, alignment, indentation, tables and figures, citations, etc. But don’t worry, while APA has many requirements, they also have plenty of examples to follow—another instance where the APA website will help you tremendously.
  8. Be sure that the purpose statement that you use throughout your paper is consistent. You don’t want to send mixed messages to your reader.


While there seem to be a lot of rules to remember when it comes to APA style, there are also lots of online tips and examples to help you.


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Using APA Style Guidelines


By Kate Devlin

Most college students are familiar with APA style as it is often a requirement that they follow the style’s guidelines for their papers. While they may be familiar with it, they may not know all of its ins and outs.

Let’s explore why it’s so important to follow the APA guidelines.

What is so important about APA style?

Following the APA style guidelines is important for paper uniformity and consistency as well as for proper attribution or citing of sources. Papers sound better and flow better when they follow a style like APA.

Here’s a little snippet of APA history from the APA website that I thought was interesting. APA first came about in 1929 when a group of psychologists, anthropologists, and business managers got together and developed a set of what they called “procedures,” and what we today call “guidelines.” These guidelines, which have been revised over the years, are still in use today by students, researchers, and educators for their scientific papers. The most current edition is the 7th edition, released in October 2019.

How exactly do the APA guidelines help writers?

The guidelines help writers by establishing requirements for their papers. I’m going to touch briefly on seven of the main areas that APA covers. Keep in mind that this is a very general overview.

1.     Format (which fonts to use, how to format headings, and margin set up)

2.     In-text citations (how to format them correctly; see APA style guide for examples)

3.     “Style mechanics” (includes use of punctuation, abbreviations, and capitalization)

4.     Grammar (verb tense, active vs. passive voice, singular “they”)

5.     References (how to cite, again the style guide will have examples)

6.     Bias-free language

7.     Tables and figures

What are some helpful resources for APA guidelines?

The best online resource I found was the American Psychological Association’s website. It’s easy to navigate and has great examples. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab also has helpful APA information. Your school or university should have helpful resources as well. Of course, the most comprehensive option is the full guide that can be purchased in print or digital format.



Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Please complete our Ideas Survey.

Check out Kate's tips about editing papers, blogs, social media, reports, newsletters, and resumes through a series of interviews with Simone Conceição.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Questions for an Editor


I’m Kate Devlin, a freelance editor and writer. I thought I’d tell you a little about me and answer some questions about editing. I currently work full time for an IT recruiting company on our communications and marketing team. My job involves writing for our company blog, editing marketing materials, and reviewing and editing resumes before they are submitted to clients. As a side hustle, I do freelance editing for a variety of projects.


I’ve been using my editing skills for more than 20 years, and while not all my jobs have been editing roles, I have used my editing skills in every one of them. 

For some reason, I have always been drawn to grammar and writing and the rules that go along with writing. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why I retain that information. 


As a child, I read all the time and wrote short stories that I submitted to contests. My earliest editing gigs were for my college roommate when she asked me to read her English papers; I even tried to start my own proofreading/editing company in college but unfortunately that didn’t go anywhere at the time.


Through my freelance work, I have read and edited some really interesting works from business proposals, resumes for a variety of careers, college admission letters, master’s dissertations, blog posts, company websites, government annual reports, and so much more.


Types of things I most like to edit

I like to edit anything, but I am particularly drawn to technical materials, documents, and non-fiction. While I like to read fiction, I don’t feel as comfortable editing those types of materials.


Enough about me, let’s talk editing.


Different types of editing

There are five types of editing:

  1. Developmental editing looks at the big picture, like plot, theme, and characters, like in a novel or short story.
  2. Structural editing looks at the story’s structure and content and how to make it better, like chapter lengths, storyline, etc.; it’s similar to developmental editing and can be done in conjunction with it.
  3. Line/stylistic editing looks at word choice, sentence structure, verb tense, description of scenes and images, etc. and makes sure the prose flows.
  4. Copy editing/mechanical editing looks for errors like typos, inconsistencies, or confusing sentence structure that affects readability. Copy editors are often called mechanical editors since they aren’t concerned with the content of the story as much as the correctness of the language and information presented. They look closely at:

a.     Punctuation

b.     Capitalization

c.     Spelling

d.     Grammar

e.     Word usage


This type of editing often involves fact-checking, as well.


5.  Proofreading is the last step in editing process before going to print and looks for the same issues as a copy editor but it’s often done on a printed, hard copy version. Proofreading is looking for typos, spelling errors, as well as issues with typesetting, line breaks, images, etc.


Copy editing and proofreading are my strengths and what I enjoy the most. I like looking for what I call the “nitty gritty” details (typos, punctuation and grammar issues, and inconsistencies).


What is so important about editing? Why would someone need an editor for their project?

Editors make you look (and sound) good. It’s all too easy to miss that typo or comma that’s in the wrong place or to use a commonly misused word (for example, affect/effect; assure/ensure). Editors make sure your copy reads well and is polished before it’s published. A well-written piece reflects well on the writer and creates a good impression.


Can editors edit materials they are not familiar with?

Yes, in fact I’ve read lots of different technical documents and don’t always know the topic the writer is writing about (nuclear power, cryptocurrency, British football/soccer), but I’m still able to edit for the things mentioned above (grammar, punctuation, readability, consistency, etc.).


What are some editing tips you can share with us?

The most important tip I can give is to read through the document more than once—at least twice at a minimum. It’s easy to miss things on the first reading.


Here’s my editing process:

1.     Glance over whole document for anything (format, wording, etc.) that jumps out at me and fix right away.

2.     Read line by line and correct typos/errors.

3.     Keep a “style guide” for consistency—this includes terminology, formatting details, etc.

4.     After first thorough read-through, fix any formatting issues (margins, headings).

5.     Put the document away for a while—a few hours or even a day or two.

6.     Read through again to catch things you may have missed on the first go around.

7.     Add comments/questions in the document for author—this you can do any time during the editing process.


One other thing I do when I’m editing is keep a notebook handy to jot down anything I need to double check or fact-check.

I’d love to answer any questions about editing or help you with your next project. You can post a question on the comments area here.

You can find me at Kate Devlin Editing Services or devlin.kate@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Editing with Kate! milestone for our podcast episodes

Editing with Kate! has published 25 podcast episodes since its launching. Check all the episodes:

Episode 1: What Can an Editor do for You?
Episode 2: Writing a Paper – How do I Get Started?
Episode 3: Six Tips for Putting Together Your Resume
Episode 4: Eight Tips for Creating Social Media Postings
Episode 5: Seven Tips for Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
Episode 6: Tips for Using Social Media to Promote a Business and Create a Community
Episode 7: Using APA Style and Common APA Mistakes
Episode 8: Eight Things to Remember When Editing Your Paper Using APA Style
Episode 9: Tips for Writing a Podcast Script
Episode 10: Brainstorming: Principles and Techniques
Episode 11: Types of Style Guides and Tips for Using Them
Episode 12: Why Join a Virtual Community?
Episode 13: Getting it Done! Using a Coach to Help with your Dissertation
Episode 14: Benefits of Writing
Episode 15: Journaling 101
Episode 16: From Student to Scholar, What’s in it for You?
Episode 17: Writing and Getting Published in an Open-Access Journal
Episode 18: Starting a Blog and Getting Noticed
Episode 19: Top 8 Tips to Know about The Chicago Manual of Style
Episode 20: Things to Know about MLA Style
Episode 21: Self-Reflection and Its Benefits
Episode 22: 8 Steps to Report Writing
Episode 23: The Importance of Digital Literacy
Episode 24: Interviewing a Subject Matter Expert
Episode 25: 12 Tips for eNewsletters

Podcast available on Apple, Spotify, and Google.

Search for Adult Learning Exchange Virtual Community Podcast 
and Select Season 2

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

12 Tips for eNewsletters


Creating and having an eNewsletter can be a great way to market your business. Once you know who your audience is and what content you want to share, it’s time to start putting it together. Check out our 12 tips for eNewletters. 


Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? Share them in this space.




Listen to Podcast

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Interviewing a Subject Matter Expert


Interviewing a subject matter expert (SME) doesn’t need to be intimidating if you are prepared. Do your homework and reach out to the SME with your questions. This episode is about interviewing a subject matter expert. 


What are some tips that work for you when you are interviewing someone?



Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Importance of Digital Literacy


Digital literacy is about more than just being able to read online or being computer literate. It’s about being able to find the information you need and to evaluate what you find. Being digitally literate is important for children and adults alike. This episode discusses digital literacy—what it is and why it’s important. 

What are your thoughts about digital literacy? Share them with us in this space.



Listen to Podcast

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

8 Steps to Report Writing


Writing a report doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. Follow these eight simple tips to get it done. This episode focuses on report writing and provides eight easy steps.



·      The Key Elements of a Report

·      Create a Simple Report Using Microsoft Word

·      Reporting Tools Software


Listen to Podcast


Eight Common APA Mistakes

  By Kate Devlin If you are writing a paper that needs to follow APA style guidelines, read on to see how to avoid some...