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APA Style Writing

Since 1992, the American Psychological Association (APA) has published a style manual detailing the mechanics of language and grammar preferred, and often required, of professionals writing for publication in this discipline. Professionals employed in sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, and criminology may have cause to consult this manual, too, when submitting an article, book, or academic paper. A student of any of these disciplines may be required to use the APA style writing research and other academic papers.


The goal of the APA style writing manual is to streamline the language and the grammatical style used by such writers in order to present a more clearly defined and concise vocabulary. Officially, the publication, which is revised periodically, is called the APA Publication Manual. The current edition, the fifth one, was published in 2001.

APA style writing guidelines address the rich diversity of language used when expressing ideas and the biases inherent in everyday speech when referring to issues of disability, race and ethnicity, and sexuality. The manual also provides reference for formatting text, creating a proper bibliography, and citing references pertaining to legal matters. Reporting and publishing scientific information often presents issues of ethics and the APA style writing manual defines the ethical standards required of published authors.

Some tricky grammatical issues addressed in the fifth edition of this style manual include the proper use of verbs, hyphens, brackets, colons, and semicolons. The correct use of parentheses, subject-verb agreement, and preferred spelling are included. With acknowledgement of our increasingly wireless workplace, the fifth edition includes the correct way to cite e-mail communications.

The processes of writing and submission are also defined for use with APA style writing. The latest edition of the manual includes instructions and checklists as well as sample papers and cover letters.

Anyone directed to use APA style writing techniques should seriously consider becoming familiar with this invaluable reference tool. Your writing will improve, your audience will have a much better understand of your message, and your career is likely to flourish.