A Student`s Guide to APA

Student Guide
to APA 6 edition
What is APA Format?
APA Style establishes consistent standards of written
communication concerning:
• the organization of content & writing style
• citing references
• and how to prepare a manuscript for
publication in certain disciplines
Why Do I Need to Use APA?
Aside from simplifying the work of editors 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
• Establish your credibility or ethos in the field
by demonstrating an awareness of your
audience and their needs as fellow researchers
Who Uses APA?
APA is used to document papers in fields such as:
• Business
• Health
• Technology
• In other words, all majors and professions at
DU! This includes you!
Similarities & Differences Between APA & MLA
• APA and MLA use parenthetical citations in the
text to refer readers to sources at the end of the
• APA and MLA both use numbered notes to add
information that would interrupt the flow of the
• APA lists of works cited in the paper are called
“References”; MLA lists are “Works Cited.”
• Unlike MLA, APA includes the publication date in
parenthetical citations, and the date appears after
the author’s name in the References.
• Unlike MLA, which lists an author’s full name on
the Works Cited page, APA uses the author’s last
name and only initials for the first and middle
• APA and MLA capitalize, italicize, and use quotes
with titles differently.
Taken from Prentice Hall’s Reference Guide, 8th edition, p. 456
Components of an APA Paper
Cover page (also called a title page)
Abstract (approximately half a page)
Body/text (with in-text citations)
References page
Optional: Figures, charts, photos
General Format of an APA Paper
12-point Times New Roman font
One-inch margins on all sides
Two spaces after all end-of-sentence
Left-hand justification margins (no righthand justification)
Tab key paragraph indentations
Running header flush to the left margin (if
Page numbers in header, flush to the right
Title/Cover Page in APA Format
Each title page should
• A running head
• A page number
• Identifying
information (title,
student name,
university name)
Title/Cover Page in APA Format (Optional Info.)
NOTE: The first three lines are required; the last three lines are
optional. Always follow the request of your instructors.
Details of an APA Abstract
• Note that this is now page 2 of the paper; students should remove the words
“Running head:” from their header, leaving only the all-caps portion.
• The word “Abstract” is centered on the page, with no font changes.
• The abstract begins without indentation on the second line of text.
Details of the Body in an APA Paper
• The title of the paper is restated at the top of the page, centered with no font
• If the paper uses section headings, there are specific formatting guidelines for
them. (refer to A Pocket Style Manual, 6th edition)
General Format of an APA Paper: Headings
The first is for a major heading; the others are for
subheadings beneath the major heading.
Follow the pattern in the chart:
General Format of an APA Paper: In-Text Citations
Avoid plagiarism by correctly citing in APA:
• Direct Quotes
• Paraphrases
• Summaries
• Please refer to pages 166-175 in A Pocket Style
Manual, 6th edition.
In-text Citation Basics
Direct Quote
Enclose the quote in quotation marks
Provide the author
Year of publication
Print sources add a “p.” (page number)
Electronic sources add a “para.” (paragraph
• Include a signal phrase (p. 171-172 in A Pocket
Style Manual, 6th edition)
• When using quote marks, all periods and
commas go inside the quote, ALWAYS, except
when using a citation demonstrated below.
Jenny Jones discovered, "students often had
difficulty using APA style" (1998, p. 199).
In-Text Citation Basics
Paraphrases & Summaries
• If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work,
you only have to make reference to the author and
year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA
guidelines encourage you to also provide the page
number (although it is not required.)
• Provide the author
• Year of publication
• Print sources add a “p.” (page number)
• Electronic sources add a “para.” (paragraph
• Include a signal phrase (p. 171-172 in A Pocket
Style Manual, 6th edition)
• Helps to show beginning and end of source
According to Jones, APA style is a difficult citation format
for first-time learners. The APA style is a difficult citation
format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
The APA Reference Page
• The Reference page begins on its own page (not included at the end of the last
page of the essay). (Hit CTRL-ENTER to start a new page.)
• The word “References” is listed at the top and centered, with no font change.
• Listings are put in alphabetical order by author’s last name (if no author is
available, use the title). The date will never begin a reference on this page.
Reference Page Basics
Different types of sources have different
requirements for what needs to be included, but the
basics are:
Date of publication
Title of periodical (if necessary) with volume
and issue numbers
• Page numbers (if part of a periodical)
• Website retrieval information (if a web
• DOIs (if available)
Reference Page Basics
• Each reference cited in text must appear on the
References page
• Each entry on the References page must be cited
in text
Two exceptions (in-text citations only):
• Classical works
• Personal Communications
Reference Page Basic Examples
Author. (Year). Title. City, State: Publisher.
Bradshaw, C. (2012). Foreplay and the
suburbs: A prequel to Sex and the City.
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Reference Page Basic Examples
Simple Website Citation
Author. (Date published if available; n.d.--no
date-- if not). Title of article. Title of Website.
“Retrieved” date, “from” URL.
Jones, H. (n.d.). Why did it have to be
snakes? Raiders of the Lost References.
Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
(Notice, there is no period after a URL when ending the reference)
(A date is only required if there is a belief that the webpage will
disappear in the future; otherwise state, “Retrieve from URL”)
Reference Page Basic Examples
General Journal Citation
Author. (Year). Article title. Title of Journal,
number of the edition, pages.
Summers, B. (2002). Stake your claim:
Innovations in vampire slaying. Journal of
Modern Demonology, 42(3), 149-159.
*Include the DOI if it is on the article:
Citation Assistance
A Pocket Style Manual, 6th edition
NoodleTools (DU library resource)
• DU’s APA Brief Overview document is
available through the library webpage
and under “research services” link and
“APA help” link.

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