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Decoding the APA referencing format for students

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Writing is a form of expressing yourself in words and literary figures. However, over the years writing has also developed its personality as a form of communicating within the scientific world and academic forums. To maintain consistency and ease of readability several writing styles and referencing formats have been developed. One of the most popular today- especially among those who are pursuing fields of psychology and social studies- is the APA format.

What is the history and significance of the APA format?

In 1929 the American Psychological Association came up with their official style known as the APA format for all future journals and papers on psychology. While it was first publicised through an article in the psychological bulletin the guidelines were further enhanced to be presently known as the APA Publication Manual.

Most university-level academic institutions take pride in software such as the attendance or fee management software which simplifies the process of providing quality education. In the same manner, the APA format was created to simplify the process of finding as well as writing projects on different subject matters, especially at an age where research is key to progress.

How to identify an APA format?

A case study written using the APA style can be identified quickly by considering the following components of it:

Title page

First impressions matter and beginning a case study, project, magazine work or lab report is no exception. To set the first impressions right, students must be well aware of having a tidy and thorough title page. As per the APA format standards a title page should include details about the student’s subject, course, roll number, the topic of choice, instructor’s name and date of submission to name some of the common regulations. For students who are unsure about such details of their enrolment, it is easy to look up the information in their school attendance management system. Parents can also help out younger students by checking the portal for fee management software.


The abstract of the project provides more than just a summary of the case study. It gives an insight into the writer’s point of view as a gist only reflects those points which seem the most important. Under the APA format, an abstract for most content will be around 100 to 200 words. However, the exact length and specifications to be mentioned are determined by the guidelines provided by the authorising body.

Main content

A major portion of your piece of work is taken up by the body. In a sizable article, this is further broken down into an introduction, method, results and discussion. The main content of the report or magazine article may often take up similarities with essay writing which is what is avoided by breaking up the lengthy category into separate subtopics.


The primary reason behind the creation of the APA format was that there was a need for proper referencing. At times it is difficult to coordinate all the information mentioned inside the content which is when referencing becomes the least of all your worries. Yet this robs people of a chance to do further research and makes the piece of content feel complete.

With APA format the author can quickly ensure that proper credit is provided to all external sources. This is because under APA format the major rule of thumb is that references must be provided at the end of the paper in the same order of their usage. This practice goes vice versa- any book, magazine, article or other pieces of information noted in the reference list must be mentioned in the main body of the work.

How to make citations within the text?

Referencing can only be useful when sources mentioned at the end of the project align with the places in the main body where they have been used. It is difficult to skim through all the contents of the case study every time and becomes an even harder proposition for those who are unaware of the material being referenced. This is why in-text citations become a necessity.

As per the APA citation style, a book must be introduced with its name followed by the author’s last name and the year of publication within brackets. For example, the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be cited as: (Caroll, 1865). A full-length reference to the same only needs to be added in the designated section at the end of the project.

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