Academic Assistance: How to Write a Paper in APA Format

There are very many referencing styles out there. One of the most used ones is the American Psychological Association Format, better known as APA format. The APA stated earlier that the guidelines elaborated in the formatting were developed to allow easy reading in the behavioural sciences and for clarity of communication.

The reason why APA is widely preferred is because:

  • Many publications use this style of referencing
  • It is one of the major style regimes for books and other publications along with AMA and CSE styles There are certain rules to follow when referencing APA style. This article will discuss those rules for the most common references.


APA must not be confused with MLA. MLA referencing requires footnote additions of references and no in-text referencing (explained later in this essay). For the APA style of referencing, you have to add a new page at the end of your document for “References” and “Bibliography”. The difference between these two is:

  • References are those books and online journals which you picked out information from and used it as part of your essay.
  • Bibliography contains all other books and journals that you looked at but didn’t use in your essay as such

The reason you have a bibliography that is separate from references is because you can’t possibly quote over a hundred books and journals in your paper. There is also the possibility of using other references apart from the ones you quote. If, by chance, your teacher sees you have quoted something that is not in your references, they will look at your bibliography.

The referencing style is standard:

Author (Year). Name of Publication (Edition). Place Published: Name of Publisher

If the reference was linked to a website, then you need to include it in the reference as “Retrieved from: URL”


Basically, you need to show exactly where you used all the “References”. For this, you have to reference whatever you used within the text in the form (Author, Year). It is good practice to reference as you go along so you don’t miss any references and are not penalized for it either.

All in all, practicing good referencing techniques for papers is a good way to acknowledge that you don’t know everything and are still learning. It is naïve to think that you are the creator of whatever you produce that is not yours. Be sure to reference everything properly and efficiently.

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