Johns Hopkins University Secondary Support Initiative (JHUSSI)  

APA Formatting Style

For instructors at the JHU School of Education, writing in "APA Style" means using the editorial style adopted by scholars in the social and behavioral sciences.  This editorial style is governed by rules or guidelines intended to sustain common writing practices for the profession to promote clarity and consistency. In this section, you will learn the basic elements of APA style formatting.


In this section you will learn:

  • How to write in APA's editorial style

How do I cite sources and create a reference list?

APA style uses in-text citations that refer readers to your list of references. Citing sources within your writing and creating a reference list are two separate processes. Ultimately, any in-text citation should refer readers to a source in your reference list, AND any source included in your reference list should be cited within your text. Brief information and examples of both in-text citation and the reference list are presented below. Please refer to chapters 6 & 7 of the APA manual (APA, 2099) for more detailed discussions of these topics.


An in-text citation:

  • Names the author(s) of the source (sometimes in a signal phrase),
  • Provides the date of publication;
  • Includes a page number in parentheses for direct quotations and paraphrases.


The reference page:

  • Lists the works by author (or by titles for works without authors) alphabetically;
  • Provides a publication date and publisher location for the source;
  • Includes only sources with in-text citations.


This editorial style works to establish a uniform approach in writing, including:

  • Common stylistic considerations such as voice, margins, and spacing
  • Formatting of headings and tables headings
  • Punctuation of  text and abbreviation of terms
  • Citation of references
  • Presentation of statistics


The application of APA rules to your scholarly writing is expected to:

  • Sustain a consistent format for your writing
  • Give your readers ready access to the sources supporting your research
  • Provide your writing the credibility of widely accepted research and writing conventions
  • Establish a writing approach that guards against plagiarism

Video Library


APA Format Guide (Peak)

Configuring Microsoft Word for APA Style

APA Format Citations - Sixth Edition By David Peak. This video demostrates how to set up APA formatting requirements in Microsoft Word and addresses in-text citations and the reference list.

After you have completed this section, please go to the APA Resources section.