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Using the APA Manual (5th edition)

The APA manual is very large and somewhat difficult to use.  This page will explain how to use the APA manual to find the information you need.

How do you find anything in the APA manual?

  • The best way to find information on how to do anything (cite a book, use quotations, etc.) is to look in the index. 

How do you use the index?

  • The index provides an alphabetical list of topics in the APA manual.  The index is at the very back of the book (pages 413-439).  To find information, look for the topic by name and then go to the page listed.

Where does the APA manual explain what format to use for pages, margins, spacing, etc?

  • There are two areas for this information.  The first area is titled “Parts of a Manuscript,” which is sections 1.06 – 1.15 (pages 10-29).  This area explains what a title page, abstract, introduction, and references page are.
  • The second area is titled “Manuscript Preparation,” which are sections 5.01 – 5.29 (pages 284-305).  These sections have information on spacing, font, margins, page numbers, indentation, headings, and more.  They also have information on exactly how to write the title page, abstract, main text, and references page.

Where can you find samples of APA papers?

  • The APA manual provides sample papers on pages 305-320.  These show exactly what your paper should look like.  They have examples of formatting, in-text citation, and reference pages.

Where can you find out how to use quotations?

  • Sections 3.34 – 3.41 (pages 117-121) explain how to use quotations.

Where can you find out how to do in-text citations?

  • Sections 3.94 – 3.103 (pages 207-214) explain how to do in-text citations.

Where can you find out how to make a references list?

  • Sections 4.01 – 4.16 (pages 215-268) explain how to make a references list.
  • For the basic format for listing authors, see section 4.08 (page 224)
  • For the basic format for listing publication date, see section 4.09 (page 225)
  • For the basic format for journal articles, see section 4.11 (page 227)
  • For the basic format for books, see section 4.12 (page 228)