APA Style Formatting: When? How? What For?

APA style first appeared in 1929 and was created by a group of psychologists, antropologists, and other scientists willing to ensure clarity and presicion of written material presentation. Numerous attempts to establish common rules of academic writing that would be understood by every human being resulted in introduction of generally accepted system of scientific writing including such elements as references citation, font and heading choice, table of content design and figure insert (About APA Style). Today this uniform system is popular all over the world and widely used by students and scientists.

As for APA style importance, I believe it is of great help to people dealing with scholarly paper writing. Formatting using the style is indeed a piece of cake, although it may seem user-unfriendly at first sight. Also, it is extremely important and difficult at the same time to paraphrase in a way it wound not be counted as plagiarism. One should have rich vocabulary to convey a message delivered by an author in the original source without placing direct quotations and to avoid plagiarism.

There are, of course, a number of shortcomings concerning APA style. For example, APA standards are getting updated with the course of time; therefore a user should always have updated computer software, otherwise it is impossible to embed newly introduced things in accord with APA style in a piece of writing .

While writing my diploma work at a university I struggled a lot with formatting the paper. My groupmates and myself did citing, reference list inserting and table of content editing in Mc Word manually. Can you imagine that a tiniest little error could make us repeat the process of formatting again and again? Today it became much easier and less time-consuming, as I learned to use APA style in writing.

I am also happy to give a piece of practical advice to current and future students specifically struggling with proper citation of references. I have noticed that many students have no idea of how to use the uniform system built in Microsoft Word when citing; therefore it takes them a lot of time to format reference list and add in-text citations. Instead of citing sources manually, one can go to a “references” tab and select “insert citation” option; and it will be added to the writing automatically after detailed information about the source is indicated. Once an academic paper is written, a student goes to “references” tab, selects “bibliography” dropdown list and clicks “insert bibliography”, and list of references will immediately appear at the end of the writing peace in accordance with APA style.

To summarize, I totally support the idea of using widely-recognized style of scientific writing, that is APA, although some of it’s elements may be changed or adapted to meet needs of people today.


About APA Style. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 September 2015 r., from American Psychological Association: http://www.apastyle.org/about-apa-style.aspx


6 thoughts on “APA Style Formatting: When? How? What For?

  1. Dear Marina,

    Many thanks for your post! I really like the way you are writing as you organize the ideas very clearly and logically.

    I also remember the years at the university when I struggled a lot with paraphrasing and proper citation while writing my diploma work. The most interesting was the fact that nobody taught us how to do it actually))

    I absolutely agree with you that using such widely-recognized style of scientific writing like APA or MLA facilitate students to write research papers.


  2. Marina, thanks for giving the history of the appearance of this style. It is really amazing to know that even antropologists were interested in creating this style of citation. One thing I cannot agree is that this style is widely used all over the world. It seems to me, the situation with its usage reminds requirements with taking IELTS or TOEFL exams depending which country you are going to study. I should say the APA style is one of the styles used for specific purposes oriented to the USA direction.


    1. Dear Marina,
      As a current sudent, I would like to thank you for giving a short tutorial on how to create citation using MS Word. I will definitely use it my next assignment.
      I would also recommend a tool for citating in Google Scholar service. You just click “cite” under the title of a source, and paste it into your document.


  3. Great job, Marina. Are you the only one of the group to have discovered Microsoft Word’s “Reference” tab for making automatic citations? That’s a nice little lesson.

    And that “shortcoming” you mentioned is so true. The APA people (whoever they are) get together every couple of years and “tweak” the system. That means we all have to deal with the changes and make sure we are using the UPDATED guide books and UPDATED automatic citation makers.

    Your post is thorough and clear.

    5 out of 5


    1. Dear Robyn,

      Thank you for feedback. I guess I am not the only one who uses “Reference” tab in Microsoft Word. However, I have noticed that some of my group mates have difficulties with referencing sources; therefore I thought this mini lesson might be useful for them.


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