You are here

An EasyGuide to APA Style

An EasyGuide to APA Style

Third Edition

February 2016 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Written by experienced psychology instructors who are active and respected members of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the updated Third Edition provides a reader-friendly guide for mastering APA style and covers all sections of an APA-style paper. Clear, conversational, and humorous, the book presents easy-to-understand explanations of how to write research papers, term papers, and lab reports, and cite references following APA style and format. The authors focus on the most essential elements of APA style and format, offering useful advice, tips, and visual representations. 

Section I: Overview
Chapter 1: Style Versus Format: Why It Matters to Your Audience and Why It Should Matter to You
What Is the Difference Between APA Style and APA Format?

Why APA Style Anyway? Wasn’t MLA Good Enough?

In the Long Run, Attention to Detail Matters (Including APA Style and Format)

Write for Your Specific Audience: Term Papers Versus Formal Research Papers

Chapter 2: Your Visual Table of Contents QuickFinder
The Sample Paper With Content and Page Numbers

Section II. Writing With (APA) Style: Big-Picture Items
Chapter 3: General Writing Tips Specific to APA Style: Bare-Bones Fundamentals
Clear and Succinct Writing: Using Your Scholarly Voice

Commonly Confused Words in Psychology and Beyond

Subject–Verb Agreement

Active Voice Versus Passive Voice in APA Style

Some (But Not Too Much) First-Person Usage

Avoiding Anthropomorphism

Chapter 4: A Quick Grammar Summary for APA-Style Writing
Parts of a Sentence

Parts of Speech

Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

Chapter 5: Plagiarism and How to Avoid It: Thou Shalt Not Steal (or Be Lazy)
But I Didn’t Know...

It Sounds Like a Bad Word

Quoting: More Than Just a Copy and Paste

Paraphrasing: In Your Own Words

An Author’s License (Yours): Modifying Source Material

But I Can Freely Use My Own Work, Right?

How About This for a Plagiarism Awareness Exercise?

Chapter 6: Avoiding Biased Language
The Fundamental Lesson: View People as Individuals First

Specific Recommendations for Reducing Bias: Nonsexist Language and Other Areas

Sexual Orientation

Racial and Ethnic Identity



Gender and Pronouns: With an Indefinite Recommendation

Section III. Writing With (APA) Style: Getting Down to Business
Chapter 7: Writing Your Introduction: Tying the Story all Together
What to Include in Your Introduction

Formatting Your Introduction

Getting Your Introduction Started

Using an Outline: Organizing Your Literature Review

Common Mistakes to Avoid in your Introduction

Outline for the Sample Introduction Section Included

Sample Paper

Chapter 8: Writing Your Discussion: It’s a Wrap
Formatting Your Discussion Section

What to Include in Your Discussion Section

Getting Your Discussion Section Started

Organizing Your Discussion Section

Common Mistakes to Avoid in your Discussion Section

Outline for the Sample Discussion Section Included

Sample Paper

Chapter 9: Citing Sources in Text: Whodunit (or Said It)?
A Good Rule of Thumb

Ready, Cite, GO

In-Text Citation Basics

Some Curveballs

Chapter 10: A Step-by-Step Playbook of Your Method: How, What, When, Who, and Where?
Where in the Flow of Pages Do You Place the Method Section?

Where in the Method Section Does This Information Go?


Materials and Apparatus


Formatting Your Method Section

Chapter 11: Writing About Statistics and Associated Fun: How Did It All Turn Out?
Let Us Talk Statistics

Basics and Beyond

Formatting Your Results Paragraph

Including Effect Size and Power

Chapter 12: Everybody Needs References
A Helpful Note

Creating Your References Section

Using Abbreviations

The Basics

Basic References Section Formatting Rules

Some Not-So-Basic Rules You Might Need

Section IV. Presenting Your Work in APA Format
Chapter 13: The Numbers Game: How to Write Numbers (and When the Rules Change)
When You Use Numerals

When You Use Words

Using Both Numerals and Words

How to Use Decimal Points

Additional Rules for Including Numbers in Your Paper


When Do You Use Abbreviations?

Chapter 14: Formatting: Organizing, Headings, and Making Your Work Look Good to Print
What Goes Where?

What Your Paper Should Look Like


Spelling Matters: Spelling and Capitalization Rules

Final Touches

Chapter 15: Table That Motion: The Special Challenges of Tables and Figures
What Is What

Getting the Look Down

A Note on “Notes”

Figuring It Out

Get Legendary (and Use Captions)

Where to Place Tables and Figures

But I Am Doing a Literature Review: Could I Use a Table or Figure?

Do Not Forget

Chapter 16: Make Microsoft Word 2013 Work for You: APA Formatting
Word 2013 Tabs and Drop-Down Menus

Setting the Margins

Line Spacing and Spacing Between Paragraphs

Page Headers (First Page and Subsequent Pages) and Page Numbering

Tabs, Centering, and the Ruler

References and the Hanging Indent

Preparing a Table (Rows, Columns, Lines, Centering)

Fonts and Font Variations (Italics, Bold, Superscript)

Page Breaks, Orphans, and Widows

Spell-Checker and Grammar Checker

Developing Good Habits: Autosaving, File Naming, File Storage, Frequent Backups

Section V. Some Nitty-Gritty Details
Chapter 17: Making a List, No Apps Required: Enumeration and Seriation
Why Bother?

Keeping Order at the Section Level

Order Within Paragraphs or Sentences

On a Related Note

Chapter 18: Abbreviations, Signs, Symbols, and Punctuation: The Devil Is in the Details
OMG: To Abbreviate or Not?

Blinding You With Science and Latin


Section VI. In Closing: Important Considerations
Chapter 19: Using Rubrics: Knowing What It Means to Write a Good Paper
Follow Rubrics When Provided

Example Rubric

Chapter 20: Proofreading the Entire Paper: Get It Right!
Sample Student Paper for Practicing Proofreading

Chapter 21: Complete Sample of an Experimental (Research) Paper: Samples, Anyone?
Sample Paper

Additional Resources on Writing

Chapter 22: How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes: All Together Now
APA Style and Format Checklist

Be Aware of Professors’ Pet Peeves


So handy and informative!

Mrs Stephanie Widick
Psychology Dept, Northwestern Ok St Univ-Alva
November 9, 2015
Key features


  • New chapters cover major sections (Introduction and Discussion) of APA-style empirical papers.
  • New easy-to-read screenshots of Microsoft Word 2013 illustrate key points.
  • A visual table of contents includes APA-style formatting and style points using an actual student paper and makes it clear to readers what they need to learn for an APA-style paper; the table of contents also helps readers find additional details within the EasyGuide.
  • Coverage of all sections of an APA-style paper gives readers a truly comprehensive guide for working in APA style.
  • Additional examples demonstrate how to cite commonly used electronic references, including blogs and websites.
  • An in-text multiple choice quiz highlighting common mistakes is ideal for student self-assessment.
  • Brand new edited student papers serve as writing models. 


  • A chapter on common mistakes helps readers use APA guidelines correctly.
  • Sample student papers with QuickFinder bubbles point out APA style and formatting.
  • A convenient lay-flat spine allows students to work on a paper while referencing this guide either in conjunction with the APA Publication Manual, Sixth Edition or in place of it. 

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 12

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental