Various styles are used for the purpose of documenting research data. During the educational period students are made familiar with these styles through regular application in academic assignments. Research paper assignments require the students to strictly follow the style asked for by the professor. The basic knowledge on all the styles will help you understand the specifications of each of them. The APA style of documentation, which is one of the commonly used styles, was developed by American Psychological Association, hence the name APA.
APA style is most commonly used for documentation and citation of research documents in social sciences. One thing to be noted is that the main difference in the various writing styles is in the citation methods. There are other differences as well but the method of citing the sources is one feature that differs considerably with each style. The main aspect of citing a source in this style is the use of in-text citations. After the paragraph or line which you have cited, you are expected to give the last name of the author and the year of publication for the reference purposes. There will be a complete list of sources in a separate reference page at the end of your paper, which will give all the other details regarding the sources. The in-text citations are supposed to help the reader link the information in the reference page to that of the cited information.
The reference page should be prepared separately and the sources should be listed under the heading of ‘References’. This is very important because all styles have their own unique way of addressing the details of the sources. For example MLA style uses the heading ‘Works Cited’ where as Chicago style lists the details under the heading of ‘Bibliography’. It is absolutely necessary to use the appropriate heading for the reference page as indicated by the manual of the respective style
APA method totally discourages the use of footnotes. As an exception, when the writer wants to convey some additional information regarding the cited portion, footnotes are allowed. But bibliographical references are strictly to be avoided while writing an APA style research paper. Information which could be taken for a bibliographical note should not be included in the footnote. The strict rules against footnotes are one of the unique features of APA style documentation.
Another feature which sets it apart from the rest of the styles is the use of headers on each page. On the top left hand side of each page, the respective heading is supposed to be added. The title page should have the title, the student’s name and the name of the institution. The finer details regarding the rules are elaborated in the APA style manual. If you are new to this style of writing, it is important that you understand the method even before you start writing.
If you are short of time to learn the style and complete the paper before deadline, you can opt for a custom research paper written in APA style, as asked for. Since documentation style is one of the main aspects of research paper writing, you should not take a chance with it.