Apa quick Reference Guide Barton College

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Abbreviations &


APA recognizes only seven acronyms as words that do not require definition:


Define all other abbreviations by writing out name in full on first use and putting abbreviation in parentheses. Example: “…School of Social Work (SSW) …”

Once defined, you must use the abbreviation for all subsequent references;

no flip-flopping!

Use abbreviations sparingly—overuse turns a paper into alphabet soup!

APA does not set a limit on the number of abbreviations allowed; however, most readers can keep track of only 4 to 5 unfamiliar abbreviations.


Less than 40 words

is an “in-line quote.”

40 or more words

are set as a

block quote

Students tend to overuse quotes either because they lack confidence in their ability to express profound ideas in their own words or because they are lazy writers. In either case, your instructors are interested in learning your thoughts on a topic, not the words of another author.

It is appropriate to include a quote when the author’s unique phrasing suffers substantially or loses meaning when paraphrased.

Quotes must be introduced in the text by explaining the meaning, relevance, or significance of the quote to your text. In-line quotations are incorporated into the text, set within double quotation marks, and followed by the in-text citation with the page number of the quote. Use p. for a quote from a single page, use pp. for a quote that spans a range of pages. Note that the sentence punctuation follows the citation.

Example: Keep your writing accessible by avoiding use of “pointy-headed prose” (Barbaro, 2007, p. 7).

If an in-text citation for the quoted author was given earlier in the sentence, only the page number follows the quote.

Example: Smith and Jones (1993) found gum chewing improved students’ retention of classroom material, but also noted professors found “the sight of 30 cud-chewing faces disgusting and demoralizing” (p. 32).

Long quotes of 40 words or more are set as block quotes; each line is indented 5 spaces (0.5” in.) and double-spaced. See Sample APA paper at the end of this document for an example.

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