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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

APA Style 7th Edition Tutorials for Students in Psychology and Social Work

The citation tutorials are based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition).

What is APA Style?

APA Style is the most common writing style used in college and career. Its purpose is to promote excellence in communication by helping writers create clear, precise, and inclusive sentences with a straightforward scholarly tone. It addresses areas of writing such as how to

  • format a paper so it looks professional;
  • credit other people’s words and ideas via citations and references to avoid plagiarism; and
  • describe other people with dignity and respect using inclusive, bias-free language.

APA Style is primarily used in the behavioral sciences, which are subjects related to people, such as psychology, education, and nursing. It is also used by students in business, engineering, communications, and other classes. Students use it to write academic essays and research papers in college, and professionals use it to conduct, report, and publish scientific research.

In addition, APA Style provides you with a powerful tool that will hep you avoid deliberate or unintentional plagiarism. Please review the Avoiding Plagiarism Guide created by the APA experts to understand what two common types of plagiarism are and how to avoid them. 

The Importance of Citing

Why is learning citations important? Citations help readers understand where the information used in your paper comes from, enabling them to trace the path of that information. When readers wish to explore a specific point or reference cited in the text, citations make it easier by providing information about your sources in a standardized format.

Besides showing readers where you obtained information, using citations also has a strong ethical purpose. In academic writing, it is important to credit ideas that are not your own. Citations allow you to integrate the ideas of others with your own thoughts in a fair and honest way.

                                       APA Manual cover                                            Concise Guide to APA Style

The reference formats for APA Style manuals are as follows:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
American Psychological Association. (2020). Concise guide to APA Style (7th ed.).

Why is APA Style needed?

APA Style provides a foundation for effective scholarly communication because it helps authors present their ideas in a clear and concise, and organized manner. Uniformity and consistency enable readers to (a) focus on the ideas being presented rather than formatting and (b) scan works quickly for key points, findings, and sources. When style works best, ideas flow logically, sources are credited appropriately, and papers are organized predictably and consistently. 

How do I get started with APA Style?

Students are encouraged to first learn about APA Style by reading works written in APA Style. A couple of guides created by APA experts from the American Psychological Association can help you with that:

Anatomy of a Journal Article

Scholarly journal articles share a common anatomy or structure. Each part of an article serves a specific purpose. The handout of Anatomy of a Journal Article explains how journal articles are structured and how to become more efficient at reading and understanding them. Understanding the structure of a scholarly article and the purpose of each part helps you grasp a strategy called targeted reading. Targeted reading means to read specific sections of research articles first to determine if the article seems useful for your research topic. This way you will save time, find useful article faster, and choose which articles to read in full.

Reading and Understanding Abstracts

Abstracts are short summaries of scientific research articles. The handout of Reading & Understanding Abstracts explains the definition and purpose of abstracts and the benefits of reading them, including analysis of a sample abstract. The skill of reading and understanding abstracts of scholarly articles not only saves time but also helps you conduct better research and write more effectively.

APA Style Writing Principles

The poster created by APA experts shows the three main principles of APA Style: clarity, precision, and inclusion and lists steps on how to achieve them. As a student writer, you always should write your academic paper with clarity, precision, and inclusion. 

Let us practice what we have learned!

Research Article Activity

Reading research articles is not an easy task for you as a student. The Research Article Activity designed by APA Style experts aims to make it easy to read and understand a scholarly article. This activity worksheet helps you find, cite, analyze, and summarize a research article. Completing this activity breaks down a lengthy research article into easily understandable chunks. This way helps you better understand the study in the article before you write about it. 

Attribution and Acknowledgement

The information in this Guide is courtesy of the official APA Style website by the American Psychological Association.

Source Credit: Information on this LibGuide comes from APA Style website This website has a wealth of free and authoritative resources designed to help anyone new to APA Style.