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APA Style

In academic scholarship, researchers have agreed on specific guidelines about how to format their papers and how to cite their sources. This Guide provides an introduction to the APA style.


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What is APA Style?

APA Style refers to the way we document our research sources in the Social Science fields and covers how to present our ideas (and discuss the ideas of others) in a written format that is clear and consistent. Ultimately, it provides guidelines on preparing your paper for publication but it is also useful as a set of standards and guidelines to properly write and format papers. 

This online guide is designed to help students with several areas of APA Style including:

  • Properly citing sources, both on paper and online

  • In-text references

  • Creating a reference list

  • Consistent formatting of your paper

For more information about APA style, please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, available in the reference section of the library: BF 76.7. P83 2019 or online at APA Style. In response to the Coronavirus school closures, the American Psychological Association is making their manual available for free, at least through May 25 for use on different platforms.

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Why do I need to use APA Style?

APA style creates rules for researchers to follow when writing and formatting papers. Using APA Style not only helps your instructors read and understand your work, but the act of creating citations and citing sources helps prevent plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you use a quote, idea, or any other kind of information from a source and present it as your own. If you don't cite your sources then you risk committing plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense that will or can get you expelled from school. Please ask your instructors if they want you to use APA style.

So, to sum up the benefits of using APA style:

  • It makes your life easier

  • It makes your teacher's life easier

  • It keeps you from getting kicked out of school

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How do I use this guide?

Navigate this guide by clicking on the links at the top left of this guide. You will find a basic outline of APA style, guidance on how to create APA style citations, on how to refer to your sources from your text, and on how to put together your Reference list, and how to properly format an entire APA style paper.

Thanks to Lia Thomas, Librarian at College of San Mateo, for the outline of this page.

APA Style Citation Guide from Columbia College, Vancouver, Canada

Why do I cite?

Created by George Brown College in Toronto.