Department of Social Work APA Writing Center

These resources will help you learn how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style.

What is APA Style?

APA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:

  • the organization of content
  • writing style
  • citing references
  • grammar (e.g., punctuation, word use)
  • organization of tables, charts, and graphs

Why Use APA?

Aside from simplifying the work of professors by having everyone use the same format for a given paper, using APA Style makes it easier for readers to understand a text by providing a familiar structure they can follow. Abiding by APA's standards as a writer will allow you to:

  • provide readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
  • allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar formatting
  • and establish your credibility  by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers.

Who Should Use APA?

APA Style provides fairly comprehensive guidelines for writing academic papers regardless of subject or discipline. However, traditionally, APA is most frequently used by students in:

  • Social Work, Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice

If you are a social work student, you will use APA Style in your work. Use the links below to learn more about APA and how to follow its rules correctly in your own work.

APA Formatting and Writing Style

The following links introduce some of the basic requirements of APA Style as well as describing the different formatting and writing conventions that are used in APA papers.

Paper Format

In-Text Citations: The Basics

Reference List: Basic Rules

APA Sample Student Paper

APA Resources

APA Tutoring Session

APA Quiz