Skip to main content

APA Style Guide: About APA

Learn the basics here! For complete guidelines refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition.

APA Overview

What is APA and who uses it?
APA Style was established as a way of setting standards and uniformity for written communication concerning:

  • how content is organized
  • punctuation and abbreviations
  • presentation of numbers and statistics
  • how to cite references (sources used as supporting evidence)
  • preparing a manuscript for publication
Published by the American Psychological Association, the APA Manual  has become the required text used in the academic community in fields where accurate scientific communication is essential. This includes business, public administration and services, health sciences, and some disciplines in the behavioral and social sciences (psychology, sociology, and education). If you are taking a course in any of these areas, be prepared to use APA Style!


Why do I need to use APA?
Proper APA Style documentation may seem like a daunting task and confusing for first time users. However, there are excellent reasons why the use of APA is necessary:


  • Avoids plagiarism;
  • Shows academic honesty and courtesy for the work of others;
  • Allows the reader to learn more about the topic;
  • Builds credibility to your work as you are citing experts to fuel your arguments;
  • Allows other to conduct further research based on your work;
Whether you choose to use a direct quotation or merely paraphrase someone else's idea, you must cite any work that did not come from you.  This includes but is not limited to text, images, computer code and charts.
Remember when in doubt, cite it!

Need Writing Assistance? Visit one of our Academic Success Centers!

Below are links to the Writing Labs located on our North, South, and Central campuses. Students can receive assistance with their writing needs in a friendly atmosphere.

Central Campus Writing Lab (Building 17, Room 241)

North Campus Writing Lab (Building 62, Room 132)

South Campus Writing Lab (Building 72, Room 251)

Keeping up with what's new in APA!

APA Manuals available at your BC Libraries