APA Writing Styles

Updated July 20, 2017

APA style is one of the most commonly employed writing styles and reference systems in both business and academia, rivaled only by MLA. The APA system has a long and respected history and, when used properly, benefits both writers and readers by making the organization and examination of articles easier and more efficient.


The APA style was created by the American Psychological Association as a way to standardize formatting, including the use of quotations, references and footnotes. It is most commonly used in the social sciences.


The APA style makes it easier to read, understand and analyze documents, regardless of who the author is.


Papers have a cover page, abstract, body of the essay and references, in that order.

Cover Page

The cover page includes a header in the top right corner, and the full title of the paper, the author's name and any company or academic affiliation in the middle of the page.


The abstract features a header and a very brief synopsis of the paper in approximately 120 words.

Main Body

The body of the paper makes use of in-text citations that include the quoted author's last name and the date of the author's publication.


The reference page lists the names of all authors, dates of publications, names of articles, publications in which the articles appeared and page numbers of cited material.

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