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An EasyGuide to APA Style

An EasyGuide to APA Style

Fourth Edition

September 2020 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Winner of the 2022 Textbook Excellence Award from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)

This clear and concise book demystifies the process of writing in APA style and format.

Fully updated with content from the Seventh Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, An EasyGuide to APA Style, Fourth Edition identifies common APA style and formatting mistakes, how to avoid them, and helps students become better writers and communicators of psychological science. Written in a conversational style to make the task of learning how to write more enjoyable, this guide helps students navigate the maze of rules in the APA Publication Manual and become proficient in learning the fine points of APA style. Providing detailed examples and complete sample student papers that conform to APA format, the authors illustrate not only how to write using APA style, but also what writing in APA style really looks like when papers are complete.

About the Authors
Section I. Overview
Chapter 1: APA 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: General 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

Chapter 8: Citing Sources in Text: Whodunit (or Said It)?
A Good Rule of Thumb

Ready, Cite, GO

In-Text Citation Basics

Some Curveballs

Chapter 9: 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 10: 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 11: 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 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 Details Just Right

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 2016 Work for You: APA Formatting
Word 2016 Tabs and Drop-Down Menus

Setting the Margins

Line Spacing and Spacing Between Paragraphs

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

Spellchecker 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 Details Can Matter: Emoji This!
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 Rubrics

Chapter 20: Proofreading the Entire Paper: Get It Right!
Sample Page of APA Text for Practicing Proofreading

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

Sample Manuscript Title Page

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

APA Style and Format Quiz: Answers

Be Aware of Professors’ Pet Peeves

Appendix A: Error List for Chapter 20
Appendix B: APA Style and Format Checklist

The book is a supplemental text for the research and statistics course I teach

Dr Dessalegn Negeri Guyo
School Of Professional Studies, Bowie State University
February 4, 2021

Excellent source for students! Not adopted yet, but I may in the fall.

Dr Giesela Grumbach
Health Admin Social Work Div, Governors State University
November 12, 2020
Key features
  • Interprets and translates the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual, helping students understand what is important, what to concentrate on, and how to use tools such as Microsoft Word to achieve psychological literacy.
  • Includes updated scholarship, and new and relevant examples for today's students.
  • Two new sample student papers serve as writing models.


  • A convenient lay-flat spine allows students to work on a paper while referencing the guide either in conjunction with the
  • APA Publication Manual or in place of it.
  • Screenshots of Microsoft Word help students utilize the various functions of this tool for their papers.
  • A chapter devoted to writing a Results section helps clarify confusion about correct formatting.
  • A chapter on common mistakes and a checklist at the end helps readers use APA guidelines correctly.
  • Sample student papers with QuickFinder bubbles point out APA style and formatting.

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

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