Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Evaluation of Software

One important point the author would like to make is that ease of use is in the head and hands of the user. Learning style, computer skill, and other factors greatly influence a person’s judgment that one program is easy to use and another is not. The author is an advanced computer user with years of experience in writing and publishing. Since students are more likely to be novice computer users and writers, review of the products was conducted with a “beginners mind”. The goal was to use the software, with minimal technical assistance or use of printed directions.

Another important point is that no software program eliminates the need for the printed APA manual. All programs reviewed for this article ease the work of creating references. Most do not provide the same support for the other writing guidelines. Students are advised to use the APA manual as a primary tool for constructing papers and to make decisions about the format of the paper while using any of the programs. This will allow for a greater degree of accuracy in applying APA guidelines.