· Introductory information
o Avoiding biased and pejorative language
o Italics (underlining)
o Quotation marks
· Reference formats
o Abbreviating within a reference
o Alphabetizing within reference lists
o In-text references
o Reference list formats
APA style is the style of writing specified in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (4th ed., 1994). The publication manual began as an article published in Psychological Bulletin in 1929. That article reported results of a 1928 meeting of representatives from anthropological and psychological journals, "to discuss the form of journal manuscripts and to write instructions for their preparation." By 1952 the guidelines were issued as a separate document called the Publication Manual. Today the manual is in its fourth edition, and the APA format described in it is a widely recognized standard for scientific writing.
Some of the more commonly used rules and reference formats from the manual are listed here. However, this web page is no substitute for the 368 page manual itself, which should be purchased by any serious psychology student in the U.S., or by students in other countries who are writing for a journal which uses APA format. The APA manual can be found in almost any college bookstore as well as in many large, general-purpose bookstores, in the reference and style guide section. It can be obtained directly from the APA order department at 1-800-374-2721.