My experience with using APA


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During my university years as an undergraduate student, I used traditional way of paper formatting which I learnt while writing my diploma work. The first time I was introduced with APA formatting was one and a half year ago when I attended pre-session course on academic English at Nazarbayev University. Before course started, our instructor asked us to write an essay and give references; I was not familiar with what APA, so I made mistakes while citing, paraphrasing and making the list of references. Since that time, I started learning how to organize paper correctly following APA guidelines. To be honest, I struggled with paraphrasing and in-text citation. When I looked through the website, it seemed to be easy and clear, however while formatting an essay I had a lot of questions like how to cite a work by three and more authors or how to cite a secondary source. Thus, it took time to practice and learn.

Last year, during Academic English course we practiced writing a lot and we had to use APA not only during that course, but also in our research proposal and other final papers. Being a GSE student, I learnt the importance and need for using APA style, since it helps students or researchers to organize their papers accurately starting from writing a title and an abstract and ending with a list of references. APA format is the official style used by the American Psychological Association. There are many other formatting styles as MLA, AMA and Chicago style, however APA style is mostly used in psychology, education and other social sciences.

While reading APA guidelines, I found out that APA formatting must be used in writing research papers, online blogs and other assignments. APA style guides a writer throughout his paper by setting certain requirements in writing the title, organizing paragraphs, citing, paraphrasing, making appendixes and table of content, ant the list of references. I have found the Publication manual of APA, which can be useful for students. As we are all writing thesis this year, this guidelines will be very helpful in structuring our papers starting from a title and to appendixes. Moreover, the manual explains how to write clearly and concisely, and provides us with strategies to improve writing style. The Publication manual of APA deals with crediting sources as how and when to cite, quote and paraphrase; in addition it is helpful in terms of punctuation, spelling, capitalization, italics and abbreviation.

The second source on APA which I found is “Your guide to APA 6th style referencing” by the University of Sydney. This is a great tool for students to address their issues with APA formatting. The guidelines explains how to do in-text reference and reference list of books by one author, two authors or three and more, or books by different authors with the same last name; of e-books, chapters in edited book, or even how to cite a dictionary. This was very interesting for me, as before when giving a definition from dictionary, I struggled how to credit it. In addition, there is a guideline on citing journals, bill-prints, blog posts, CD recordings and videos. Having read this source, I analyzed I did wrong reference to video which was one of the sources of the assignment on Academic English course last year. Although, I have been using APA for one and a half year  I still struggle citing web sites properly. But the “Your guide to APA 6th style referencing” helped me to clarify it.

To conclude, there are many manuals on APA style available in the internet. As for me, I recommend the two sources mentioned above and website which will be very helpful for you. All sources on APA are focused on structuring and organizing paper, and to avoid plagiarism. While writing the first blog, I was warned about plagiarism. Thus, I myself feel I need more practice to learn all the peculiarities of APA style. What about you? Have you got used to it?


Publication manual of the American psychological association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from

Your Guide to APA 6th Style Referencing,  The University of Sydney, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from

Welcome to the Purdue OWL. (n.d.). Retrived September 17, 2015.



5 thoughts on “My experience with using APA

  1. Hi, Bota!

    Thank you for such an informative and reflective post. I think, the issues you faced are familiar to many of us. The two resources you gave us are really nice. Particular “Your Guide to APA 6th Style Referencing” consists of many examples of in-text citation, which are really helpful. But looking at different types of citation, sometimes I feel myself “What if I just use one type of citation and do not try to use many other types of sources?))”.


    1. Dear Gulzina,

      yes, it is true that many of us still struggle with using APA style, however I hope this week’s blog was very useful for us in terms of reflecting on our experience with APA and learning more about it by searching manuals and websites about APA formatting.
      As for your question, I advice you not to be afraid of using different types of citing and practice more.


  2. Dear Bota,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    I completely agree with you that while we are away from campus, having distance learning we cope with a lot of barriers trying to avoid plagiarizing, due to not enough practice using APA style formatting some of users tend to forget about important features of appropriate in-text citation, right paraphrasing etc. Undoubtedly, while reading great deal of credible sources we may lose our path to what and how to cite appropriately in our academic paper writing. In these terms our academic writing on a weekly base is so meaningful for our gradual mastery in the use of correct APA formatting and avoid possible plagiarizing. What about me, each time when I write any academic assignment I revise the rules, especially in specific cases when I doubt e.g. in the suitable format of paraphrasing, etc.


  3. This is very nicely done. You’re written clearly and organized well. You clearly explain the relevance of APA style and describe your difficulties with it. I especially appreciate that you have some tips for us! I am going to check out the University of Sydney guide right now. Thanks very much.

    5 out of 5


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