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APA Writing Style

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Written by
Dr. Michael Turner
  • Icon Calendar 16 May 2024
  • Icon Page 561 words
  • Icon Clock 3 min read

American Psychology Association (APA) developed a referencing style for use in academic writing. Basically, the APA referencing style allows scholars to cite information borrowed from outside sources. In this case, the effective use of the APA writing style helps scholars to acknowledge the borrowed information to avoid plagiarism. Hence, the APA writing style has two main parts, namely author-date in-text citations and detailed reference list, which helps to acknowledge information borrowed from sources.

Author-Date In-Text Citations

The APA writing style requires scholars to list all surnames in the author-date parenthetical in-text citations. It is for sources with up to five contributors. For instance, one must provide the surname and the date of publication for sources with one author. In this case, a comma should separate the surname and year of publication. For sources with two authors, one must provide the last names of the contributors. Basically, an ampersand (&) must separate the surnames of the two authors. Also, a comma should not precede the ampersand but must separate the names and the date of publication. In turn, the APA referencing requires writers to provide all the last names for sources with five authors. Hence, a comma should separate the first four surnames. Thus, the APA referencing style requires writers to list all last-names for sources with up to five authors.

APA writing style

Other Features of the APA Writing Style

The APA writing style allows scholars to use Latin abbreviation “et al.” for sources with six or more authors. For example, a writer should only provide the last name of the principal author for sources with more than six contributors. In this case, the Latin abbreviation “et al.” should precede the date of publication. Also, a comma must separate the abbreviation and the year of publication in the APA 7th edition. As a rule, space should separate the surname of the author and the Latin abbreviation. Thus, the APA reference format allows writers to omit last names of second and subsequent authors for sources with more than six contributors when making in-text citations.


Citing in APA format requires academic papers to have a detailed list of references. For instance, the APA reference page should contain full bibliographic details for all sources used in in-text citations. Basically, every item in the APA format reference page must include the author’s surname, date of publication, and the title of the sources. However, some sources require more bibliographical details. In this case, one should provide the range of pages, volume and issue numbers, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), name of the producer, and city of publication where applicable. Thus, the APA style guide requires writers to provide sufficient details to identify sources in the reference list.

Conclusion on the APA Writing Style

In conclusion, the APA writing style has two main parts that help to acknowledge sources. Basically, the first part of the APA format in writing is an author-date in-text citation. This information should appear in parenthesis at the end of the quoted phrase. As a rule, writers in the APA format 6th edition can only provide the names of five authors in the text citations. Otherwise, they should use the last name of the author. However, for sources with six or more contributors, it precedes the abbreviation “et al.” Finally, the APA paper requires the APA style reference page that provides full bibliographic details of the sources.

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