What is the Point? -->

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What is the Point?


By Amy Kubista, Graduate Writing Tutor

Have you ever wondered, as you toil away at ensuring your paper adheres to all of the APA rules that the manual throws at you, what is the point? Why do you, as a student, commit so many mind bending hours to correcting grammatical nuances, inserting running heads, and choosing appropriate wording so your paper follows APA format? Well, for one, because your professor tells you to, but why is it so important? Let’s take a deeper look at this issue of APA format and its importance in the academic world.

Many journals within the social science realm require articles to follow the APA style in their publications. One of Walden’s goals is to help students produce scholarly articles worthy of publication, and therefore APA is drilled into the students via the papers that are assigned. It is much easier to submit articles for publication if they are already in the correct format, even though most manuals are very similar with their rules (the differences are often in the details). So the strict adherence to APA is due in part to the potential publication of students’ work.

Academic journals utilize specific formatting in order to maintain consistency throughout their publications. This helps avoid confusion between articles. For example, one article may have pretest, another pre-test, and a third Pretest. A reader may easily interpret these as different while in reality they all refer to the same type of test. By having rules to follow, uniformity is assured, and there is less chance of a misunderstanding.

APA rules also help professors in their reading and grading of papers. These rules act as guidelines so professors can easily look for necessary components of a paper instead of quibbling about certain grammatical or style rules. Instead, everyone follows the same rules. Think of it as something constant in a skill that has so much elasticity. Plus, learning to use APA shows you are capable of taking directions from professors (or a future boss) and problem solving by finding answers to APA questions you may have.

So the next time you are flipping through your APA manual because you can’t remember how to cite a personal communication, know that there is some reasoning behind the madness. When you are submitting articles for publication, you will be grateful that Walden and your professors were so insistent on using APA format.


  1. Thank you very much for making me understand the use of APA format in writing.I will learn more to adhere to the proper use of it. It laudable.

  2. Thanks for information, I always ready to lean to achieve more goals every day by day.

  3. Have not had of this format before looks diffcult but will make sure i get use to it in this mph programe at least am still learning

  4. You're Awesome, this was very informative, and I do appreciate the knowledge that you've provided about how to use and when to use APA style. I will be sure to keep this information close in case I forget any of it. :-)

  5. This is very informative. Thank you for clearing it up for me. I've never used APA style; however; after reading this article I understand the importance of it. I'm so excited about learning the APA style. Additionally, as a direct result of this article I feel a little more comfortable. In closing I'll do my best to utilize this style going forward. Thanks !!!

    1. We're so glad you found Amy's post helpful! You might also like to check out the APA section of our website: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/APA.htm

    2. Thanks too much Ms Amy ^_^ It's really useful post !