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Dissertation Literature Review: APA Style

Guide to help dissertation students with literature review.

APA Style Resources

Sources you can use to find APA answers.

Alliant APA tip sheet

This document covers the most common questions about APA citations. For more detailed information, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition, as well as the other resources listed below.

About APA Style

APA Style guidelines were first developed over 80 years ago by social scientists as a consistent standard for presenting written work. Their intention? Let the ideas take center stage, not the formatting and word choices (American Psychological Association, n.d.). As a result, every element of your paper -- from the margins to the way you write numerals to your reference list -- should conform to APA Style guidelines.

Some of the main areas you'll want to think about:

  • Writing style
    • should be unbiased and formal
  • Formatting
    • Title page, running head, margins (1" all around), page numbers, font type and size (Times New Roman 12pt.), double-spacing
  • In text citations
    • avoid plagiarism!
    • paraphrasing or direct quotes
    • formatting (Author, Year) or (Author, Year, p. #)
  • Reference list
    • Know the formatting rules -- don't let the capitalization rules throw you off your game
    • Include every source referenced in an in text citation
    • Check the Publication Manual or some of the helpful sources on the left for trickier citations


American Psychological Association. (n.d.) About APA Style(R). Retrieved from