Natural Therapies Institute

Professional ideas to improve your writing skills.

Following directions on how to write an APA format paper

If you are taking a psychology course or another type of social science course, you will need to use APA to write your essay. APA is the abbreviation for the American Psychological Association. This is the governing body and clearinghouse for all things research-based about psychology and social sciences. The APA is responsible for creating a standardized format for research papers and essays so that the writers and the readers are able to distinguish one type of source from another. By having a common formatting style, readers can immediately tell if the paper is an APA paper or one from a different governing body, like the MLA. When you are given the task of writing an APA paper, it is important that you follow the directions and properly format the paper.

Make Sure You Are Properly Understood

When you do not format the paper properly, readers might misunderstand the sources you used and how you used them. Improper formatting can actually lead to calls of plagiarism and cheating. The formatting styles, the focus is usually on the sources, because the style is designed so the reader can instantly tell if you used a book, a magazine, a journal, or another type of source. By indicating a different source, you can be accused of plagiarism. The higher up in education you move, the more common it is to see students being punished for improperly citing sources.

Invest in a Style Guide to Follow the APA Directions

The APA has style guides that are updated every time the organization decides to make changes in the way they want papers to look. Fortunately, the style guides do not change very often, but they all recently underwent a major upgrade as all style guides adopted formats for online sources and Internet publishing. Since then, any style change has been minor. You can certainly use the style guides for any questions you might have on the minute details of using APA. Interestingly, many students are confused about where to put punctuation and what details need to go in what order.

Use Online Apps for Extra Help

When you need help on crafting APA papers, there are plenty of websites that can help. Some actually work as apps that will properly write your bibliography entries and sort them into the right order. With these apps, you just need to print the page and turn it in with the rest of your paper.


Online Resources