Introduction to APA Formatting

Lesson 4: Introduction to APA Formatting and Scholarly Writing

Introduction to APA Formatting and Scholarly Writing

Course Outcomes/Lesson Objectives

CO 4). Review the foundations of scholarly writing in regards to Introduction to APA Formatting

    1. Identify a proper APA reference and in-text citation
    2. Identify where to find support for APA formatting in the student’s course
    3. Describe and identify a scholarly source
    4. Discuss the steps to scholarly writing
    5. Identify steps to avoid plagiarism in scholarly writing










The focus of this module is the format for the writing style of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the importance of citing one’s work to avoid plagiarism. As a master’s-prepared student, it is important to demonstrate scholarly writing skills. The American Psychological Association (APA) created writing style rules to help standardize scholarly writing so that it is clearer and easier to understand. This lesson will review some APA basics and point you in the direction of where to find APA resources for help and guidance within your course. Tips to avoid plagiarism is also explored along with some basics in scholarly writing.

APA Format

The current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was derived from a journal article that was published in 1929. The goal of APA format is to advance scholarship by providing a rigorous standard for the communication of scientific findings. Uniformity in writing helps the reader to review articles quickly for the key concepts and the research outcomes. The rules of the APA writing style were devised from an extensive review of the psychological literature, input from authors experienced in scholarly writing, as well as experts in publication practices (American Psychological Association [APA] 2010).

The gold standard reference for APA is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (2010). This is commonly called the APA Manual.


This is a required book for all Chamberlain nursing courses and one you will use throughout the entire graduate program. Browse the book to understand how it is laid out. Use the index at the back to help you find specific information you are interested in. The Chamberlain Guidelines for Writing Scholarly Papers in course resources includes page numbers from the APA Manual so that you can find added information on specific topics.

Where do I Find APA Resources in my Chamberlain Courses?

Step 1: Several Documents have been created to help you build your APA paper. To find the APA file within your resources, go to the Resources Tab on the Course Navigation Bar on the left hand side. Once in Resourses, click on Program Resources.


Step 2: Once within program resources, scroll down until you reach the APA resources.

Sample APA Paper Annotated. This is a sample APA paper that explains some of the APA requirements such as a running head, headers, and citations. It also gives examples of several references that are formatting using a hanging indent.

APA Paper Template. This template is a Microsoft Word document that you can download and type on to create your papers. Once you open the template, click save as and rename your paper, and then save it to your own computer or flash drive in a location where you can later find it. You can edit directly on this template. Be sure that you review the guidelines and grading rubric for your assignment to find out what sections and headings are needed for each assignment.

Chamberlain Guidelines for Writing Professional Papers. This document provides general guidelines for writing in APA format. It contains formatting information for your APA paper as well as tables with examples of different types of references. This is a great reference to print or download to your computer desktop to use as a resource.

Help for APA citations and Scholarly Writing

Click on the link below to review helpful information about APA and Scholarly Writing.

Link for APA help here (Links to an external site.)


According to APA (2010), ethical principles in documenting sources were created to protect the intellectual property of others and to ensure the integrity of scientific information. You can avoid inadvertently committing plagiarism in your writing by using the APA format for citations within the body of the document, as well as in the construction of the reference page.

Plagiarism is defined as using the words or ideas of another and presenting the information as one’s own work without providing proper acknowledgment of the original source (APA, 2010). You must provide an appropriate citation for any references used in the creation of your work. This is applicable to information that is paraphrased, as well as a direct quote. Many students think that once they have cited the source, it is okay to use the exact words of the author.  This is not true.  It is important that if you are using the authors exact words, quotation marks must be used along with a page number in the in-text citation. One must be cognizant of all resources utilized while creating a document, and give appropriate credit for content that is paraphrased, ideas that are generated from reading others’ findings, and direct quotes. It is best practice to note all sources as they are used to ensure that credit is given to all works used in the creation of the document. Keep in mind that all direct quotes must include a page or paragraph number, as well as the author’s name and date of publication (APA, 2010). All references cited within the body of the text must be listed on the reference page and vice versa. The purpose of the reference page is two-fold: to ensure that one gives credit when using another person’s work and to guide the reader to locate the primary source cited within the document.



The incidence of plagiarism has increased with the popularity of the Internet. It has never been easier to find information and copy it into a paper. What do you think the consequences should be for a student who plagiarizes in a paper?

Many are under the assumption that one’s own work may be published freely in multiple sources; this is self-plagiarism. Self-plagiarism is defined as representing one’s previous work as new knowledge (APA, 2010). The crux of the new document should be new information, and one should refer the reader to the original publication, if it is necessary for the reader to have the prior information (APA, 2010).


Stop and Think

What is the difference between plagiarism and self-plagiarism?

Scholarly Writing

All written assignments are evaluated on content as well as writing style and the use of APA formatting. Writing style is a reflection of your ability to communicate in a clear and succinct manner and to demonstrate an understanding of the course content. At the graduate level, it is expected that writing be precise and address all aspects of the grading rubric. It is imperative that content is supported by the use of scholarly literature and not merely opinion or tradition. Therefore, the use of APA style for citations and references is expected.

Start with an identified topic (that meets the course requirement) and create an outline using the grading rubric as a guide. It is important to follow the guidelines and grading rubric, to use the format for paper layout and citations found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), and to include a complete APA-formatted reference list at the end of the paper. Successful students create a Level 1 heading, according to the APA headings format, for each criterion listed in the guidelines and rubric. Once the assignment is completed, review the document for grammar and spelling errors as well as the use of the principles of APA format. An effective method for proofreading the completed document is to read it orally. An illustrated, sample APA Paper is located in Course Resources (see above tutorial).


This lesson described the principles of APA formatting and defined plagiarism, and provided measures to prevent plagiarism along with some basic information and supports on scholarly writing. Please be sure to review the APA Resources found in Course Resources and keep your APA Manual handy when you are writing. In addition, review the Scholarly Writing Webinar powerpoint as well as the module within this resource for more tips to improve your writing. By following the style rules, you will be able to develop an organized paper that gives credit to the scholarly sources that you have used. Be sure to reach out to your instructor or use the free writing tutor through for additional assistance with APA formatting.

Introduction to APA Formatting

Introduction to APA Formatting

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