Writers often are required to use one out of several different formats when writing a paper. For the behavioral and social sciences as well as in education, the APA format is the preferred choice. This format was created by the American Psychological Association in 1929 to establish rules in structuring a paper that will enable ease of reading for both publishers and readers. There are several advantages to using this format in your paper.
The APA format is widely used in many fields of academia. By using the APA format in your paper, you are less likely to have to restructure your paper upon submittal to your professor, the journal’s editor, or a publisher. It also means that it is not necessary for you to learn many formats when writing about different topics. The APA format also gives structure and order in your paper, making it more professional and formal. It also lends credibility to the paper because many readers, particularly in the scientific fields, are accustomed to reading works in this format. And those that fail to comply are sometimes met with doubt and shock.
Another advantage to using the APA style is that it leaves you no room to wonder about how the contents should be structured. The rules set within this format detail the size of the margins, the spacing required, and even what font should be used. It also gives the writer instructions on how sources should be cited within the body paragraphs and in the references section. Page numbers, headings, and even abbreviations also are discussed in the APA Format’s manual. Knowing how to structure your paper will enable you to focus more on your content.
Using the APA format also allows the writer to further develop his or her writing skills. While many are aware that the format has set rules for structuring a paper, it also discusses the ins and outs of grammar that will help any writer. In addition, it also helps develop a person’s critical thinking skills. It promotes unbiased writing and asks writers to ensure that their paper has a neutral perspective. This includes avoiding the use of gender pronouns and making sure that there is no bias contained in any of the text.
Writers are also able to use images in their paper with the APA style. The guidelines include how writers can insert and use charts, tables, and graphs in their paper for ease of reading the data and in understanding it as well. While the written text can be a powerful thing, images enable readers to quickly grasp the concepts presented in the paper, particularly in the scientific fields where a huge amount of numbers may be required in presenting data.
The last, but certainly not the least, advantage that one has when using the APA format is the presence of numerous materials that will help writers in learning and using the format. The APA manual can easily be referenced through the APA website, which also has several tutorials and examples for writers. Because of its pervasive use, there are also numerous other sources of information that can be found online about how to use this format. While it can certainly be challenging to use at first, the popularity of the format helps writers find it easier to learn with so many guides to choose from.
The author of this article has written several scientific papers using the APA format and some literary ones using the MLA format.