Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Design and Validation of a Rubric to Assess the Use of American Psychological Association Style in Scientific Articles

Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Design and Validation of a Rubric to Assess the Use of American Psychological Association Style in Scientific Articles

Article excerpt

Gladys Merma Molina1, Hilda Peña Alfaro2, Silvia Rosa Peña Alfaro González3

1Departament of General and Specific Didactics, Faculty of Education, University of Alicante, Spain {}

2New World Spanish-Comunicart, United States {}

3Comunicart, Consultoría en Lingüística Aplicada, México {}

Received on 31 October 2016; revised on 14 November 2016; accepted on 15 November 2016; published on 15 January 2017

DOI: 10.7821/naer.2017.1.220

*To whom correspondence should be addressed:

University of Alicante, Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig, s/n 03690, Alicante, Spain


In this study, the researchers will explore the process of designing and validating a rubric to evaluate the adaptation of scientific articles in the format of the American Psychological Association (APA). The rubric will evaluate certain aspects of the APA format that allow authors, editors, and evaluators to decide if the scientific article is coherent with these rules. Overall, the rubric will concentrate on General Aspects of the article and on the Citation System. To do this, 10 articles that were published within 20122016 and included in the Journal Citation Report will be analyzed using technical expertise. After doing 5 pilot studies, the results showed the validity and the reliability of the instrument. Furthermore, the process showed the evidence of the possibilities of the rubric to contribute to uniform criteria that can be used as a didactic tool in different scenarios.



The Manual for Publication of the American Psychological Association (hereby referred to as the Manual) was published for the first time in 1929 as a seven-page document (APA, 2010) that offered a series of rules to define how to present scientific information. Since then, the manual has continued to evolve to its current edition-sixth edition in English and the third in Spanish. Even though traditionally it has been used as a citation tool, the Manual is a valuable tool and a "fountain of authority in all aspects of written academic work" (APA, 2010, p. 3), since it offers a series of rules and methods to achieve maximum precision in written academic work. It helps to identify the best practices and ethical and responsible use of the manuscript throughout the process of publication. Even though the Manual offers a set of specific guidelines for different aspects of written academic work, per the experts, who conducted this investigation, there are serious deficiencies in the application of APA style that obstruct the revising process of scientific articles.

The normalization in the publications of these periodicals facilitates the communication and the diffusion of scientific information. It is important to unify the formats and procedures of editing the scientific articles to achieve the end goal of transferring, interchanging and possessing information. The process of selection and evaluation of the scientific articles with arbitrary or paired revision, using periodical or scientific publications, is a resource to assure that the articles have certain style and content standards. This process represents one of the pillars that distinguishes the quality of scientific literature (Giménez, 2014).

Measuring the quality of an investigation is a complex process, but there exist common variables that allow one to create homogenous measures. Floyd et al. (2011) signal different reasons as to why the manuscripts that are presented to the publications for evaluation are rejected and imply the fact that the selection of said works by the editors is centered around general aspects, as well as other specific reasons. Among variables to evaluate are: the theme of investigation, methodology, writing, and the format of the manuscript. In the specialized revision, which is the evaluation of the expert editors, the quality of the content is especially valued, the relatedness of the previous investigation and its contributions to science, as well as to determine if these contributions are scientifically valid. …

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