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A Guide to APA Style

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Introducing APA

This guide will introduce you to the basics of APA Style, and will point you to additional tools that will help you master this style.

What is APA Style?

APA Style is a standardized format for writing that has been established by the American Psychological Association. It is generally used by students and scholars working within a behavioral science discipline.

Keep in mind that APA Style refers to:

  • the format & structure of your paper.
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper.
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper.

APA Style Resources

Book cover for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationPublication Manual of the American Psychological Association by American Psychological Association Staff 

Call Number: BF76.7 .P83 2010 (Multiple copies located at O'Neill and the Social Work Library)

The go to source for the guidelines on structuring your paper and references in APA style.

Book cover for the APA style guide to electronic referencesAPA style guide to electronic references (online book) by American Psychological Association Staff

Good source for referencing and citing things you find on the web or other electronic forms. Examples include Youtube, course lectures, Facebook and more.

Important Websites

Purdue OWL (Online Writing Center) - APA Guidelines (website) - This site contains all the examples and formatting guidelines you find in the print manual in a browsable website put together by the Purdue Writing Lab staff. 

APA Style Blog (website) - Written and maintained by APA staff, the contributors to the blog answer questions about formatting uncommon resources in APA style. For example, the entry on How to Cite Something You Found on a Website in APA Style, is very useful. 

Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style (website) - The APA FAQ page answers some of your most burning questions about APA Style, such as,

  • Why APA Style, What is APA Style? 
  • Do you have example papers?
  • What do I do if I can't find an example reference?

Tools and Other Resources

Citing Government and Legal Documents (website) - Examples of references and citations not found in the APA Publication Manual or APA Style Guide for Electronic Resources.

Auto-Citation Tools Comparisons and Guides (website) - A list of ideal tools to help you keep track of and format the sources you find.

A Word About Plagiarism

Following citation style rules helps protect you from unintentionally plagiarizing someone else's work. To learn more about plagiarism, please see Boston College's website on academic integrity.

A Video Introduction

The BCSSW's own Professor Kathleen McInnis-Dittrich worked with the Social Work Library staff on a 20-minute video introduction to APA Style.