Researchers Use Classroom Game to Engage Students Learning APA Style Citation

By Theodore Davis | March 09, 2022
Dr. Abhjiit Nag (left) and Dr. Anitha Chennamaneni (right)
Dr. Daniel Clark (left) and Dr. Walter Murphy (right)

For educators at any level, each semester is a new chance to improve their classes and try new things to help their students learn. Professors at the university level are no exception. Dr. Daniel Clark and Dr. Walter Murphy have both gained valuable insight from experimenting with new methods in their respective classrooms. In their collaborative article, “The Efficacy of a Classroom Game for Teaching APA Style Citation,” they hope to spread that knowledge beyond the campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Dr. Clark had previously played a game of his own making with an undergraduate class to help them use APA citations. He felt that a game might be able to engage them and allow them to retain the information better.

“I wanted to give my students the opportunity to practice this APA style citation in a low-stakes/no-stakes environment where it wasn’t gonna cost against their grade,” he said.

The game consists of students using celebrities’ names pulled out of a hat to practice composing a citation. They are divided into groups so that they can work together. Then, each citation is looked at by the class as a whole to check them and make corrections. Dr. Murphy explained the reason for grouping students:

“If someone were to do this on their own and the whole class was there and they got something wrong, that could be kind of embarrassing, but if you’re in your group then you kind of have that support.”

Classes in which the game was used, both as part of his research and outside of it, have so far responded well to it. Most of them are not very competitive, but they do get excited whenever their citations are correct.

“I had a student do a little touch-down dance one time after he got an answer right and everyone gave him a big round of applause,” said Dr. Clark.

These kinds of teaching tools do a lot to keep students engaged and learning. Those at A&M-Central Texas have benefited greatly from being taught in such a casual, fun way. With any luck, Dr. Clark and Dr. Murphy’s article can give that opportunity to students at other universities as well.

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