Overview of APA Style

What is APA Style?

According to the Web site of the American Psychological Association (2010), "APA Style was first developed 80 years ago by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world." The APA manual is now in its 6th edition, and it is the preferred style guide in the social sciences, such as psychology and sociology, in the health professions, and in education.

In the IVCC Stylebook, the guidelines described align with the official publication:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2009). (6th ed.).  Washington, DC: APA.

The Web site of the APA offers an excellent tutorial that provides an introduction to the style. Access it here.

Common terms

As you explore the pages about this style, you will see these terms used. This is a quick glossary. 

The References List is an alphabetized list of all of the sources you used. With each source, you list the information a person would need to locate that source. Click here for more information.

In-text citations tell the reader, directly after the use of a source in the text of the paper, when the material was published and where the material came from. They most often appear in parentheses at the end of the sentence in which the source was used. Sometimes in-text citations are referred to as "parenthetical citations."  Click here for more information.

A quotation is a passage of language you copy directly from another source. It is enclosed in quotation marks and cited with an in-text citation.

A paraphrase is a passage of language in your own words that expresses an idea from another source. It is not enclosed in quotation marks, but it is cited with an in-text citation.