What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using APA Format?

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There are various formatting styles used to conform documents to grammatical and mechanical standards for publication. Different fields and professions use different formatting styles, making mechanics and style by no means uniform. The American Psychological Association's format is used by writers in fields of social and behavioural science.

Obsolete Style

Since APA is primarily only used by scholarly publications in the field of behavioural and social sciences, it is somewhat obsolete compared to other formatting styles, such as MLA and Chicago. If you write a document in APA format that is intended for publication in the field of law, liberal arts or humanities, you will have to convert it, which can take a lot of time and effort.

Inefficiency of Reference List

APA requires that the reference list that corresponds with internal parenthetical citations be arranged alphabetically. An alphabetised bibliography can be rather inefficient compared to reference lists that catalogue entries numerically in order of numerical in-text citations.

Footnotes and Endnotes

APA does not require footnotes or endnotes, which can be perceived as an advantage or disadvantage. Footnotes and endnotes can distract the reader and interrupt the flow of reading if the reader stops to consult notes. On the other hand, internal citations, which are used in APA format instead of footnotes and endnotes, can also interrupt the flow of reading. Readers are easily distracted by the words in the parentheses and can lose their train of thought.

Convenience of Spacing

APA format requires double-spacing for most documents. Double-spaced text is easier to read, since the eyes are less inclined to repeat a line. Double-spaced text is also easier to edit, as it allows editors space to insert editorial marks and comments.

Accessible Guidelines

APA formatting and citation guidelines are easy to access. You can learn about APA formatting and citation as well as recent changes and revisions by visiting the APA website, without having to purchase a new style manual every time a section is updated. Further, since the style is used by writers in the fields of social and behavioural science, many colleges and universities publish guides to APA style.

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