First-Term Student Resource: APA Demystified

APA Style

APA, which stands for American Psychological Association, is a documentation style used in most disciplines at Purdue University Global. APA Style can be broken down into two general categories: paper formatting and source acknowledgment. With a little effort, you can understand the basics of APA Style.

Paper Formatting

The visual design or format of your paper is important because it gives readers their first impression of your work. Clear and consistent formatting ensures ease of reading, so the audience can focus on your ideas without distraction or unnecessary effort. Your paper should follow APA manuscript guidelines. guidelines. These include margins, line spacing, font style and size, text alignment, indentation, and other such aspects of an APA paper’s appearance.

Source Acknowledgment

Any time you use research in your writing, you must credit your sources so the reader can distinguish your words and ideas from those of others. Such source acknowledgment always appears in two places: in the text any time you use research and on a separate list at the end of the paper.

In the paper, you create in-text citations, which typically provide the author’s last name or organizational author and year of publication. If you use exact language from a source, you also quote it and provide the place (usually a page number) where the reader will find the quotation. The reference list at the end of the paper includes full publication information of all cited sources in alphabetical order. Because each in-text citation begins with the same first word or words as its corresponding reference entry (and vice versa), the reader can easily move from text to reference list.

Through citation and references, you show the reader what has influenced your thinking, you invite them to consider the same material, and you demonstrate your integrity. You show that you are a writer who can be trusted.

Learning APA Style

Learning something new can always be challenging. APA Style can be difficult at first because there are so many different kinds of sources and specific requirements. The good news is that the Purdue Global Writing Center offers APA Style resources specifically designed for you and your assignments. Plan ahead, take your time, use the resources, and seek further assistance when you need it.

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