How to Write in APA style?

APA (American Psychological Association) is a style recommended for referencing in scientific papers. It is very common in the academic world, although it is not the only one possible for use. The APA style is often used in the social sciences, including law, history, and sociology. The realities of practice show that APA rules are quite clear and convenient, but they need to be understood, which is what we will do in this article.

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The formatting of a scholarly work is based on this basic principle: each time the author cites a source, it is required to include a reference in the text of the work. It does not matter in what form someone else’s material is referred to. It could be a block citation, a direct quotation in the middle of the line, or a paraphrase.

Intra-text references must contain the following elements:

  • author of the work;
  • the editor’s name, if the author is unknown;
  • the material cited (what exactly);
  • the year when the work was published;
  • several pages may be omitted if an idea is cited rather than a specific phrase, or if the reference refers to the entire work.

How to write block quotes?

The peculiarity of such quotations is in their volume. It is at least three rows of text. Such quotations are set on a new line without quotation marks. Double spacing is used for formatting. Write the source in parentheses (Last name, year, pages).

Direct quotes should be written in quotation marks. You could write the last name in parentheses after the quote, along with the year when the work was published, put a comma, and indicate some pages of the source material used. The second option could be to mention the last name in the sentence, and after it, you write the year of publication, put a comma, and give a number of the pages in parentheses.

How should a paraphrase be written?

If you paraphrase some authors, you should mention their names in the text and put a year of publication in parentheses after the names. Another option could be to write the authors’ names at the end of the sentence in parentheses, then put a year when the paper was published.

Arrangement of the references

According to APA recommendations, references are always placed on a separate page at the end of the scientific paper. This is an informative part that allows us to see the primary sources.

Cited material is given in alphabetical order. Also, you may arrange works in chronological order by year of publication, if a scientific work has several sources of authorship of the same person.

Each bibliographic description of the source begins on a new line, aligned with the width without spacing. As many sources you include, as many paragraphs of the bibliography, you should have. If the description of one source takes several lines, the first of them are aligned to the width, without spacing, and the subsequent ones are written with the spacing of 1.25 cm.

Rules of bibliographic description for individual sources

Most often in the list of sources are indicated books. Their names are always indicated without abbreviations. You should arrange the elements the following way:

  • Last name, first name initial (you may include like this up to 7 authors), (year). Book title: Subtitle (publication number). Place where it was published: Publisher.
  • Books without an author are arranged according to the following scheme:
  • Book title: Subtitle. (year). (publication number). Place where it was published: Publisher.
  • The second most popular citations are articles from journals, especially foreign publications in indexed sources. Obligatory elements of citation design are:
  • Last name, first name initial, (year), the title of the article: Subtitle. Journal title, Journal issue, pages.

The electronic resources are cited similarly to books or scientific articles, only without the information about the place of publishing and publication.

Hopefully, you got a general idea of APA style, and now you will not be frightened when you see the requirements for your next writing assignment.

After spending weeks or even months researching, preparing, and editing your paper, you may be tempted to just print it and call it a day. Such carelessness can come back to you later when your work does not meet APA or instructor requirements. Your supervisor will certainly note the formatting and references in your paper and will likely deduct points from your grade if he or she finds major errors.

So make sure you take the time to carefully edit your work to check grammar, spelling, structure, and formatting.


Shashank Jain, founder of good-name, a young and energetic entrepreneur has always been fond of technology. His liking for technology made him go for engineering in computers. During his studies, he learned & worked on different computer languages & OS including HBCD, Linux, etc. He also has a keen interest in ethical hacking.

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