What is APA Format and Why Should I Use It?

Posted by on November 14, 2012

Contributed by Jennifer Drewry, Academic Skills Center Coordinator and Instructor at Minnesota School of Business

Research paperThe Paper

Your instructor announces a paper will be due in class and it must be in APA format. This is enough to send the best students into an apprehensive state!  APA? You may ask yourself “I just need to write a paper, why does it have to be in some special format!?!”

Presentation Matters

Think about this, picture yourself at work and your supervisor asks you to train a new employee. How you present yourself and your training material will make a lasting impression on that new hire.  Presentation, whether it is your attire, your speech, your mannerisms or even your written material will influence your audience. Making it positive and professional sends a message.

APA as Presentation Tool

So what does this have to do with APA? First of all, APA stands for the American Psychological Association.  Over time the APA developed a process used in citing sources found in research papers.  The research papers also follow a set format, a template if you will which shows the reader a professional, clear and understandable format for presenting information.  Using this format teaches students how to formulate an argument, compare and contrast differing particulars or simply present their knowledge on a given subject (along with the sources they learned that knowledge from!).Research paper

There are many websites that explain APA formatting.  Two of my favorites are:



Use these on your next paper!

Need more help? Please stop by the Academic Skills Center at Minnesota School of Business.

Thank you for your Interest in Minnesota School of Business.