4 APA Councils for academic writing

The APA Standards cover all the elements related to the dissemination of scientific and academic knowledge, which is why the writing has an important place within the rules and advice of the American Psychological Association. There is no point in our being able to investigate a topic in depth and accumulate large amounts of knowledge if we are not able to make it known. And most importantly, with clarity and simplicity.

In addition, you should bear in mind that academic work requires a particular writing style, which is characterized by a direct, objective and impersonal style. Sometimes we get used to writing privileging our personal judgments, so you should be aware and avoid these cases that will detract from your texts.

As you will see, it is not about becoming a professional writer, but about mastering certain criteria that will serve you for all the work you develop inside and outside of the university. As they say, practice makes perfect. So we give you the following APA tips for academic writing.


Verbs are the most important element of any sentence and in academic works they serve to: argue ideas, expose the activities carried out and the results obtained. The APA Standards always recommend privileging the active voice of verbs. What is that? With the active voice it is highlighted that a subject performs an action. For example:

“The teacher explained the instructions”

While the passive voice reverses the meaning of the sentence relegating the importance of the subject and highlighting the object, in this case, the instructions: “The instructions were explained by the teacher.”

For academic work, the objective use of direct voice is always advised, thus avoiding inaccuracies or ambiguities that may confuse readers. Likewise, it is better to use a past or past tense in sentences. For example:

“Álvarez (1997) analyzed the results” and not “Álvarez (1997) analyzes the results”.


It is very important to maintain the clarity of the expression that the verbs of your sentences coincide with the subjects (singular or plural).

Is correct to say:

“Educational organizations are centers of manifestation of the conflict”

“The result obtained showed that the respondents”

It is incorrect:

“Educational organizations are the center of manifestation of the conflict”

“The result obtained shows”


The APA Standards recommend eliminating repetitions in the writing and, instead, giving fluidity to ideas. It is not necessary to repeat the same words, if with less we can give the same idea. A simple mechanism is to impersonate names by nouns indicating the same thing. You can also enrich your text with the use of pronouns, it is not necessary to repeat the names if the understanding of the text allows it. Remember that being formal in style does not mean that we can not facilitate the reading of our work. For example:

“González and Martínez (2005) studied the consequences of alcoholism in family groups, in rural areas. The authors came to the conclusion. “


It is a simple advice to follow. You see, adjectives are used to modify or add qualities to names and nouns; while adverbs are for verbs. The APA Rules advise to keep them next to the words that correspond to them in each case.

For example, in the following cases, it is good to write:

“The participant repeatedly stated that he had ingested prohibited substances.”

But it is not correct: “The participant stated that he had ingested banned substances repeatedly”. If you look at the first sentence it is clear, while the second one presents a completely different meaning.

These simple recommendations will help you maintain clarity and good style in all your academic work. You do not need to become an expert of the writing, if you follow these simple tips you will see how it improves the legibility of your writings.

Leave a Reply

two − one =