Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Jun 06, 2018     Views: 3143

What does the acronym APA mean?


APA stands for "American Psychological Association" but when you are instructed to write a paper or assignment "in APA" this means that you should format your writing according to the guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.

APA style is used by researchers and professionals who work in the social sciences and some sciences to format papers, cite sources in-text, and list references at the end of their papers. Rasmussen requires all students and staff to use APA style in their research papers because professionals in the programs we offer use it when publishing.


Cover of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.

Why Cite Resources?

Citations are tools that help your reader, but they serve a variety of purposes:

  • Giving credit where credit is due, also known as attribution, thereby avoiding plagiarism
  • Demonstrating that your research rests on a solid theoretical foundation
  • Adding credibility to an argument by integrating the work of experts
  • Situating a piece of writing within the context of the field at large
  • Creating a research roadmap that enables other researchers to follow the creation of knowledge over time

​​Get Started with APA Tools and Resources

We have developed many tools to assist students with APA formatting, and they can be accessed from the Resources tab in your online course or through the following links:

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