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APA Style Guide: Home

This guide is an all in one source to many resources that can answer any questions you have about APA format.

Introduction to APA

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.
Definition Source: Purdue Owl 

The 6th edition source book can be found at several Ivy Tech campus libraries for your own personal use within the library.  It is located in the Reference collection, which means it can only be used within the library. Check the link below to see if your campus library owns a copy of this useful resource. 


Taken from the APA website ‚Äč

The scientific writing is spare and straightforward. It will spotlight the ideas that are being presented and not the way they are presented. Manuscript structure, word choice, your punctuation, graphics and your references are all specifically chosen to move your idea forward with minimal distraction and maximum precision.

To achieve this clarity of communication, publishers have developed rules of style. These rules are designed to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style concerns uniform use of such elements as

  • punctuation and abbreviations
  • construction of tables
  • selection of headings
  • citation of references, and 
  • presentation of statistics

When editors or teachers ask you to write in APA  they are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field. APA Style was first developed 80 years ago by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

Why Use APA?

Aside from simplifying the work of editors or teachers by having everyone use the same format for a given publication, using APA Style makes it easier for readers to understand a text by providing a familiar structure they can follow. Abiding by APA's standards as a writer will allow you to:

  • Provide readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
  • Allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar formatting
  • Establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers

APA Style describes rules for the preparation of manuscripts for writers and students in:

  • Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology
  • Business
  • Nursing

Before you adopt this style for your paper, you should check to see what citation style your discipline uses in its journals and for student research. Check with your professor to see what style he or she prefers for your papers. 

To read further information refer to the APA Style Manual or the APA website or go to Purdue Owl. The links have been provided below in the list of sources that were used to create this guide. 

Heather Ayres

Heather Ayres's picture
Heather Ayres
Director of Library Services - Valparaiso Campus
219-464-8514 ext. 4728