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Commonly Used APA Rules

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Seventh Edition may seem intimidating if you think you have to know all of it and apply all its intricacies to your academic writing assignments. Fortunately, there are a few sections in the APA Manual Seventh Edition that cover the vast majority of the issues that you will encounter in academic writing. We recommend keeping bookmarks at the following most frequently consulted pages.

Page 48 (Table 2.3, Figure 2.4): Table 2.3 shows how to format each level of heading in regard to alignment, capitalization, boldfacing, and use of italics. Figure 2.4 shows headings in the context of a paper. Every paper should have some headings, and longer papers will have multiple levels of headings, so consult this section frequently.

Pages 61 to 67 (Sample Student Paper): The student paper shows citations in the context of a paper (pages 61 to 65). This is a useful supplement to Table 8.1 (referred to below). From the sample paper you will get a better sense of how to cite sources in your own papers. Pages 66 and 67 show you what your references pages should look like and have examples of typical sources that are formatted correctly.

Pages 189 to 191 (Lists): You will be listing items in various formats often in academic writing. The details there concerning the formats of items in a series (paragraphs, sentences, items within a sentence, bullet point lists versus numbered lists) are somewhat complicated. This bookmark will allow you to check the formatting quickly and see the options.

Page 266 (Table 8.1): Table 8.1 shows the basic citation formats. The style of citations (both narrative citations and parenthetical citations) is mainly dependent on the number of authors. Table 8.1 also shows how and when to abbreviate the name of a group author.

Page 272 (Table 8.2. Block Quotations): Table 8.2 shows examples of how to cite quotations correctly. Section 8.27 (beginning on page 272) shows the special formatting requirements for quotations of 40 words or more.

Page 316 (Textual Works): This page is the beginning of section 10.1, which shows how to format periodical sources (journal articles, newspaper articles, etc.). Peer-reviewed journal articles will be the sources you use most often in academic writing. Once you become adept at formatting these sources, you are more than halfway home in APA documentation.

Page 321 is the beginning of how to cite book sources (section 10.2), another common source of information in academic writing. Sections 10.3 to 10.15 (pages 326 to 350) present how to cite a variety of sources from chapters in a book to YouTube videos and blogs.

Pages 350 to 352 (Webpage and Website sources) Section 10.16 is the section you will probably use next most often (after the sections concerning how to format journal articles and books).

There is a wealth of knowledge in the APA Manual in regard to grammar, writing style, writing mechanics, and displaying results (formatting tables and figures). Writing studio consultants can direct you to those areas through writing consultations.