What is “Referencing Style” and Why You Need It?

Good academic writing involves proper formatting and citing of the works and thoughts of other reputable authors and researchers. In order to do that, a specific type of referencing is assigned that ought to be followed consistently throughout the whole academic paper. This style then defines the format for other components of the writing. Every student knows that proper academic referencing could be the key to obtaining a high quality for a paper or an essay.

APA style format was developed by the American Psychological Association and it is among the academic referencing styles — along with MLA, Vancouver, and Chicago/Turabian styles. It is also referred to as the “author-date” system, and thus the APA format guide requires a brief reference to mcdougal and the date of publication to be within the main human anatomy of the writing, and also the full reference list at the end.

This informative article contains a myriad of information and guidelines that answer comprehensively the question “What is APA format? ”. Nevertheless , as students, you should always follow what's needed provided by the school/professor and never hesitate to ask for specific citing directions before starting to publish your essay.

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Everything You Need to Know About APA Format

To start with, APA writing format just isn't something that has been emerge stone forever – it's a current referencing style that is being constantly updated by the American Psychological Association. The most up-to-date requirements are located in the 6th edition of the APA's Publication Manual.

The necessity of what referencing style to use is usually attributed by way of a specific discipline. APA paper format is often used for subjects such as Psychology, Social Sciences, Education, Economics, and Business studies.

Still another question every student keeps asking while struggling to come calmly to terms together with his or her APA format essay is: why do people use referencing styles at all? There are at the least three reasoned explanations why your professors require you to make use of the APA referencing guide:

1. To make your work more presentable.
Are you able to sense how all the articles you read for class have an expert and serious tone once they cite each of their references and provide credit to ideas published by previous authors? That’s exactly the type of professionalism your essay will acquire whenever you engage with literature and make use of a defined referencing style.

2. To speak the same language as your reader.
APA citation format allows you to save your valuable word count and communicate what sources you useful for the essay by using special formats for journals, books, or on line articles.

3. To avoid being penalized for plagiarism.
Each time a student cites an author or uses ideas that have been developed by still another scholar, he/she must give credit to that particular person. Otherwise, those essay parts is likely to be marked as plagiarism and the grade will be substantially reduced. Some school penalties for plagiarism go in terms of reducing the grade by 50%, and on occasion even failing you from the course — thus, providing you with no credit.

As you can plainly see, avoiding plagiarism penalties and supporting essay arguments with references to credible sources are the key benefits students will get once he or she learns how to write a paper in APA format.

General APA Format Rules: From Formatting to Making Proper References

The fundamentals of APA formatting include giving the paper an effective look which means that your professor is impressed initially sight. After reading a huge selection of papers for the duration of their careers, professors can recognize it when the APA format isn't followed correctly. That’s why it is of crucial importance to make sure you follow certain requirements for line spacing, page margins, font sizes, and APA format headings.

To begin with, the text should really be typed double-spaced with adequate margins on each side of the page (at least 1 inch or more). Wide margins are essential for professors to make notes and leave feedback while reading the paper. The most well-liked font is Times New Roman in proportions 12.

The APA outline format, or, in other words, the structure of any academic paper, will include these main parts:

  1. The cover page or title page
  2. Abstract, introduction, or outline
  3. Main body, analysis, or main arguments
  4. Conclusions, recommendations, or discussions
  5. Reference list

The topics and individual college requirements will affect what sections should really be present in the essay or paper. The sections may also be affected by the arguments a student really wants to make in the essay and how these are developed in the main human body of the written text. But, not really a single APA format essay can be written without these five essential components. We shall now examine the requirements for every of these parts in greater detail.

Discover how to cite in APA

Cover Page for an APA Style Essay

The cover page is the “face” of an essay or perhaps a paper which is the first thing that the examiner or reader will see. It has to be impeccable. Some universities or colleges will have their very own sample title page (or cover page) that should be put into each essay submission. Be sure to clarify this with your department before submitting your essay.

Normally, an APA format cover page is expected to add a running head, title of the essay or paper, name of the person who submitted the work, institution to that your work was submitted, and a page number.

APA format cover page

What's the Running Head and Where Should It Be Included in an APA Style Essay?

Frequently, colleges or universities require each page to have a running head (or page header) which includes certain information. The running head contains the title of the paper, and is particularly supposed to be present on the title page — a blunder many beginner students make all too often is omitting it.

Exactly like with every thing in academic writing, focusing on how to make the text shorter is really a golden talent. The same pertains to the APA format running head: it will not exceed 50 characters (including spaces). That’s why authors usually take their time to come up with shortened versions of these titles designed for their page headers.

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Different Levels of APA Headings and Subheadings

The APA heading format needs a clear division of the writing into logical parts which can be separated among each other with headings. Normally, there are five format types for headings, whereas mcdougal uses the exact same heading styles to paragraphs with equal importance.

The subheadings help the writer to logically divide one section in to subsections. Like in a section concerning the possible consequences of performance-based management, subsections can present the benefits and costs of such an approach.

Methods for Using Heading Levels When Writing an APA Essay

Heading levels would be the navigation signs that help guide the reader through the text. They denote when an important chapter begins when an additional idea is included with the same argument that was announced in the previous heading. The general rule is there are no requirements to use all five types of headings. Mcdougal should only use headings for the sections contained in his or her text. Here is how different levels of headings and their formats seem like.

Heading level

Heading Style

Heading level 1

Also referred to as the Title Case: Each Word Is Written in Uppercase and Lowercase letters, and the writing Is Centered and Written in Bold


Begin the text with a new paragraph.

Heading level 2

Title Case (Upper and Lowercase Letters), the written text Written in Bold, however, not Centered, and Aligned left


Begin the text with a new paragraph.

Heading level 3

Every thing Is the Same as an even 2 Heading (Title Case and Bold) but NOT Aligned to the Left, as an alternative Indented and the Text Ends with a period of time.
End the heading with a period of time and begin the writing in the next line.

Heading level 4

Title Case (Upper and Lowercase Letters), Text Written in Bold, Indented (NOT Aligned to the Left), and Italicized. Begin writing the writing in the exact same line, breaking up the heading and the writing with a period of time.

Heading level 5

Every thing is the Same as the amount 4 Heading (Title Case, Italicized, and Indented in place of Aligned to the Left) but the Text should NOT Be Written in Bold. Begin writing the writing on the same line, separating the heading and the text with a period.

Some Examples for APA Headings

Assuming this article is definitely an academic text for the principles of APA usage in universities and colleges, here is what APA format headings would seem like in this context.

Title of the text

The benefits and Disadvantages of Using APA Format in Academic Essays

NB! Realize that the essay title just isn't a heading and should perhaps not be formatted like one!

Heading level 1

What is APA and How to Use it


APA is a referencing style produced by the American Psychological Association….

This text is bold, centered, and capitalized.


The primary body of the text begins in a brand new paragraph.

Heading level 2

(2 examples)

History of APA


APA referencing style was first developed in….


Latest Edition of APA


Currently, the most up-to-date edition of the APA style guide is…



Headings 2 are bold, capitalized, and aligned to the left.


The primary body of the text begins in a brand new paragraph.

Heading level 1

How to Format Citations in APA


Citations are a fundamental element of any academic writing. They serve the goal of...

The following section begins again with heading 1 because it introduces an idea that's equally crucial as the previous one.

Heading level 2

In-Text Citations


In-text citations are utilized when there is a need to reference the author that developed the first idea the student is citing…


The very first idea introduced is marked with an amount 2 heading. The following additional ideas are formatted in a level 3 heading (bold, indented, and capitalized). The key text after heading 3 begins in the same line.

Heading level 3

In-text Citations for Journals. When you want to cite a journal, you should…


In-text Citations for Archives. When you need to cite an archive material, you should…


In-text Citations for News Articles. When you want to cite a news article, you should…


Heading level 4

In-text Citations for Online News Articles. When you need to cite a news article that came from an online source, you should…


In-text Citations for Print News Articles. When you wish to cite a news article that came from print media, you should…


If text underneath the section which was introduced with heading level 3 requires additional separation or classification, heading level 4 is employed – it’s the same as heading 3, but italicized.

Heading level 5

In-text Citations for Print News Articles with no Author. In the event that you aren’t in a position to identify mcdougal, editor, or news piece…

Preparing a Proper APA Outline

The outline is really a short structure of the written text that serves two purposes:

  1. Preparatory purpose. Writing an outline helps the writer organize their thoughts and estimate the workload/research needed seriously to complete the writing.
  2. Explanatory purpose. Having an outline helps the reader get a better idea of things to expect from the text, and what parts and concepts are included in the author.

Writing outlines is really a life-saving skill for beginner writers – they help to keep thoughts organized and guide the mind by way of a defined roadmap, decreasing the opportunity of becoming lost in one’s thoughts or endless research. So , if we were to prepare an overview for this article, it would appear to be this.

  1. What exactly is APA: who developed it, who uses it and just why?
  2. General rules for using APA format:
  3. Cover/title page
  4. Headings
  5. Citations
  6. Main components of a good APA paper:
  7. outline
  8. Abstract
  9. Main body
  10. Introduction and conclusions
  11. References
  12. A few examples and practical tips on APA style usage

After developing the outline, it becomes clear what mcdougal has to cover in the readings, or preparatory materials, for writing the article. When the text is ready, the outline then serves as a guide for the reader to show which sections the writing will cover.

What Is a Good Abstract in APA format?

The abstract is just a very condensed and informative paragraph which contains the main information the reader should know in regards to the text before even reading it. Writing abstracts is definitely an art by itself. In a quick abstract that's just 200 words (or more if the text is longer — usually it's about 10% of the essay word count), a writer should clearly state the main concept of the text, its objectives, research question, practices, and key conclusions.

When it comes to formatting, the abstract is formatted as a separate the main text that stands out both contextually and visually from the rest of the main text. Often, it is written in plain text, without any formatting and a simple "Abstract" title on top. In the end, many scholars want to put a few keywords that identify the essence of the paper’s content.

Writing the Main Section of the Text in APA Format

The primary section may be the juice of the article. It includes all the thoughts, ideas, and arguments of the writer. It follows right after the abstract page, and has a running at once top with a shortened title written in capital letters. Each page ought to be numbered, with the abstract page being page 2 (the title page is counted as page 1, but the number doesn’t appear there).

The primary body is broken down right into a couple of sections. The main ones are the introduction, methods, arguments/discussions, and conclusions. Depending on the department or subject requirements, the arguments likewise have specific sections – remember to check with the professor about what should really be covered in the primary body of the text. Like for an insurance plan report, the arguments will include a framework review, an analysis of the organization or policy challenges, and guidelines based on the academic literature.

Each section (methods, conclusions, and discussions) has to start with a brand new paragraph and also have a title. It can be something as simple as “Methodology”, or something more elaborative like “Results of Analysis How Sanitation Affects Literacy”. Discussions or arguments must be the largest the main text, for this reason the main human anatomy is often divided in to subsections – to present and elaborate on results in a structured manner.

With respect to the area and specific requirements put forth by the course, here are two APA main body examples in terms of what sections they need to cover.

APA main human body example 1: quantitative discipline/research results

Introduction: higher contraceptive prevalence is known to reduce HIV
Methods: regression analysis of HIV and contraception prevalence in lower middle-income countries
Results: statistically significant negative effect of contraception on HIV
Discussion: Why contraception lowers HIV; In what conditions it works better/worse; Example
Conclusion: usage of contraception can reduce HIV in countries where current contraceptive prevalence is lower than 20%

APA main human anatomy example 2: political science policy report

Introduction: high alcohol consumption is a threat to public health
Framework for analysis: overview of different country policies to lessen alcohol consumption
Application of framework: Which policy could work best for country X and why; Context of country X; Great things about using approaches A, B, C; Costs of using approaches A, B, C
Recommendations: given country’s X political situation and national economic status, it can employ approach A to reduce alcohol consumption
Conclusion: country X should think about doing A and expect the next results within 5 years

Detailed Video Guide

In the event that you percept visual information better, watch the detailed video guide on APA formatting and citation below:

Examples of Essays in APA Style

Listed here are real samples of some essays formatted based on APA style requirements that will serve as a good basis for you really to start writing your own essay. These samples were published by our "write my essay service" according to the specific requirements supplied by their corresponding professors or universities and may differ in a few ways from what is required from you. So , don’t forget to check on with the department or course convener for specific details for the paper that you are likely to produce.