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Key terms are not the same as keywords, which appear under an abstract. For more about keywords, see my previous post. In creative writing, italics are commonly used to emphasize a particular word, simulating the emphasis you would give a word if you read the sentence aloud.
You see that all the time, right? However, the Manual on p. New or Technical Terms To determine whether you have a new or technical term, consider your audience. A term might be new or technical for one audience and not for another. This phrase might be considered commonplace in behavioral neuroscience or biological psychology research and thus likely not italicized at the first use in journal articles within that field.
Because this audience has a different expertise, you may think they are less familiar with the concept of conditioned taste aversion. In that context, you might consider the phrase technical and italicize the first case in your paper.
A key term italicized in an APA Style paper signals to readers that they should pay close attention. This might be because you are defining a word or phrase in a unique manner or simply because the term is key to the understanding of your paper.
For example, I might italicize a term that will be used throughout the remainder of a paper about conditioning: APA does not maintain a list of technical or key terms—this is intentional.
Only you, the author, can know, or reasonably surmise, whether a term is technical to your audience or key to your paper. You might naturally use the term feline many times. In that case, you might consider the understanding of the word feline key to your paper, and you could italicize the first use and perhaps include a definition.
As you can tell, deciding whether you have key, new, or technical terms is subjective. Your paper may have none. Or, if you need to delineate multiple important concepts within a paper, you may have several. Use italics for labels. The Manual gives this example: Boxes labeled empty should remain empty.
Posted by Timothy McAdoo at Guides for Citing Sources. American Psychological Association (APA) citation style from the Purdue OWL; Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style from the Purdue OWL; Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) online.
Author Holly Monty. APA Format, Chicago Manual of Style, Certified Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS), Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. Thesis and Dissertation Editing Services (APA) for .
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Harvard Referencing Guide. Harvard is a referencing style which is used widely across a range of disciplines; it could arguably be deemed the "most commonly used" style.
% Accuracy with IEEE Format Generator Online. IEEE or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers style is used by publications that are related to computer sciences and other technical fields. Writing Spaces is an open textbook project for college-level writing studies courses. Each volume in the Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing series contains peer-reviewed collections of essays about writing—all composed by teachers for students—with each book available for download for free under a Creative Commons license.