Methods to the Madness: Why Does Walden Use APA Style?

Last updated 5/6/2020


Visual: Screen opens to a background image with a person typing on a laptop and a notebook and pencil, along with the Walden University Writing Center logo. The title Walden University Writing Center and tagline “Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears on the screen. The screen changes to show the series title “Methods to the APA Madness” and the video title “Publication Information in a Reference Entry.”

Audio: Guitar music

Visual: Slide changes to image of three different citation styles, each in a separate text box. Slide reads:


Oyo, B. & Kalema, B.M. (2014). Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 15(6), 1-13.


Oyo, Benedict, and Billy Mathias Kalema. “Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, vol. 15, no. 6, 2014, pp. 1-13. doi:10.19173/irrodl.v15i6.1889


Oyo, Benedict, and Billy Mathias Kalema. “Massive open online courses for Africa by Africa.” International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning 15, no. 6 (2014): 1-13. Accessed March 3, 2020. doi:10.19173/irrodl.v15i6.1889.

Audio:  In academic writing there are many different citation styles, each of which has its own rules and format that is specific to the academics that tend to use that style. Here are examples of three of the main academic citation styles: APA, MLA, and Chicago.

Each style is used in different fields for different audiences. MLA, for example, is often used in the humanities, and Chicago style is also often used in the humanities, but is also a popular style for interdisciplinary publications and academic books.

APA style is here at the top and is the style used in social sciences. Because of its use in the social sciences, it is also the style that Walden University students use as a university with primarily social science programs.

I encourage you to pause the video and take a minute to look at the differences in the way each citation style formats the reference entry for this same source. Each citation style emphasizes slightly different information depending on the focus of that particular discipline. For example, note how in APA format the publication year is included near the beginning of the reference entry, while in MLA and Chicago the year is included later in the reference entry. This is because in the social sciences, when the source was published is important because social science research is updated often and that publication year has more importance in social science fields.

To summarize, Walden uses APA style, and this is the style you will use in your writing at Walden, because it is the style used within social science academic communities. However, it can be helpful to understand that APA is just one of many citation styles, all of which academics use depending on their audience and purpose.


Visual: Slide changes back to notebook and pencil with Walden logo from intro screen. Text reads “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? Email [email protected]."