Version: 6th ed.
Official website: http://www.apastyle.org


The best scientific writing is spare and straightforward. It spotlights the ideas being presented, not the manner of presentation. Manuscript structure, word choice, punctuation, graphics, and references are all chosen to move the idea forward with a minimum of distraction and a maximum of precision.


To achieve this clarity of communication, publishers have developed rules of style. These rules are designed to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style concerns uniform use of such elements as punctuation and abbreviations, construction of tables, selection of headings, citation of references, and presentation of statistics.

When editors or teachers ask you to write in APA Style®, they are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field. APA Style was first developed in 1929 by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

Citation rules

In-text citation

Even though you have put someone else’s ideas or information in your own words (i.e. paraphrased), you still need to show where the original idea or information came from. This is a part of the academic writing process.

When citing in text within an assignment, use the author/s (or editor/s) last name followed by the year of publication.

Example in text citations:

Water is a necessary part of every person’s diet and of all the nutrients a body needs to function, it requires more water each day than any other nutrient (Whitney & Rolfes, 2011).


Whitney and Rolfes (2011) state the body requires many nutrients to function but highlight that water is of greater importance than any other nutrient.


Water is an essential element of anyone’s diet and Whitney and Rolfes (2011) emphasise it is more important than any other nutrient.

Citations in brackets (parenthetical)

The APA manual states that the year should be included in all citations that are in brackets. “Do include the year in all parenthetical citations” (APA, 2010, p. 174) This applies irrespective of the style (part of the narrative, or parenthetical) of the first citation.

Example from APA manual (2010, p. 174)

Among epidemiological samples, Kessler et al. (2003) found that early onset social anxiety disorder results in a more potent and severe course. ….The study also showed that there was a high rate of comorbidity with alcohol abuse or dependence and major depression (Kessler et al., 2003).


Airey, D. (2010). Logo design love: A guide to creating iconic brand identities. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Serial / journal article (print)
Thompson, C. (2010). Facebook: Cautionary tales for nurses. Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand, 16(7), 26.
Electronic resource (remote access)
Ministry of Health. (2014). Ebola: Information for the public. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/ebolainformation-public