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APA Style Topic Guide: Home

What is APA Style

You are probably looking at this guide because you have to write a paper for a social sciences class.  Believe it, or not, the group of scientists back in 1929 who came up with APA (American Psychological Association) style were trying to make a simple set of editorial standards so that papers would be written in a consistent format making them easier to understand across various disciplines and by a multitude of authors.

This guide is not comprehensive.  See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and/or use the links provided in this guide for more information.

The Book

Available at each GHC branch library in reserves at the circulation desk

Abbreviated Table of Contents for the Publication Manual

Chapter Descriptions

Chapter 1: Writing for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
      Chapter 1 describes the role of ethics in publishing and offers guidance in following best practices for  
      compliance.
Chapter 2: Manuscript Structure and Content
       Chapter 2 defines all parts of a scholarly manuscript, from title to appendix, emphasizing both function
       and form. It ends with sample papers for users to model.
Chapter 3: Writing Clearly and Concisely
       Chapter 3 offers basic guidance on planning and writing the article. It advises readers on how to
       organize their thoughts, choose effective words, and describe individuals with accuracy and sensitivity.
Chapter 4: The Mechanics of Style
       Chapter 4 instructs readers on the nuts and bolts of style: punctuation, spelling, capitalization,
       abbreviations, numbers, and statistics in text. It demonstrates that consistency in their use is key to
       clear scientific communication.
Chapter 5: Displaying Results
       Chapter 5 describes the effective use of graphic elements in text. It provides readers with guidance on
       which graphic element is best suited to the data being delivered as well as detailed instruction on table
       and figure preparation.
Chapter 6: Crediting Sources
       Chapter 6 provides guidance on reference citation. It instructs readers on when and how to cite
       references in text and on how to construct a reference list that contains everything readers need to
       locate each source.
Chapter 7: Reference Examples
       Chapter 7 offers a comprehensive set of reference examples for readers to model. It demonstrates the
       reference components that readers need to locate the work, with an emphasis on electronic sources.
Chapter 8: The Publication Process
       Chapter 8 provides an overview of the journal publishing process. It delineates author and publisher
       responsibilities in manuscript review, selection, and preparation.

Why Use APA Style

Using a codified style makes it easier to scan an article for key concepts, compare information from one article to another, and removes confusion over presentation of the same information in alternative styles.

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