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Thursday, June 10, 2010

APA Style: What it is and Resources for Assistance

If you are a student of the behavioral or social sciences, you will often find yourself using APA style. Sure, you are told to use it and might find a helpful site to explain how to compose and cite sources, but what is APA style really?

An important aspect of Psychology is composing. Composing research papers, literature reviews, a thesis, a data analysis, an article, a journal...the list goes on and on. So it is important for anyone to know about the APA format, whether you are a reader or composer. In this post I will elaborate a little on the APA format and include a few sites that may be helpful.

APA style (originating in 1929) refers to the style used for the American Psychological Association (Bush, 2006). It includes many facets to its principles including using biased-free language, having certain standards for reporting journals and articles, inclusion of statistics, properly referencing sources, and specific ethics one is to follow (Bush, 2006). These rules are the components of scientific writing that ease the reading comprehension process. The format of the APA style makes the information presented easy to process by highlighting key elements, pertinent data, and critical details. APA style is most commonly used in the social and behavioral sciences. The APA style format is designed to prevent distractions and highlight significant aspects of the topic. APA is also formatted very uniformly and consistently to avoid plagiarism by correctly citing and referencing appropriate sources. To me, APA style means a straight-forward, comprehensive, and clear piece of composition that gets straight to the point. There is no bias, no distractions, and definitely no partiality without reasoning. The APA stresses the importance of supporting what you compose with appropriate sources, making it more reliable. The standardized construction of the APA style makes it easy to navigate. You can find any section of the paper through the many sections of it, allowing for easy navigation.

Three sites that can be very useful to help one with the APA style are:

This site has handouts, video tutorials, and sample papers to help you learn all about the APA style. It is basically a virtual tutorial of the APA style.

A lifesaver with plenty of information on how to compose title pages, headers, abstracts, citations, reference lists and many many more things!

From Capella University comes a blog that has up to date news about the APA style. There also many helpful links on the blog and you can also write in to ask a question.


Bush, J. (2006, July 3). What is APA Format and Why is it Important?. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from­is-­APA-­Format-­and-­Why-­is-­it-­Important?&id=235442

Capella University. Off the Shelf: APA. Retrieved from

Nova Southeastern University. (2010). APA (6th ed.). Retrieved from

The Writing Lab &The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. APA Style. Retrieved from