Publication editors and university faculties typically adopt style guides or manuals as a way to set standards for writing and designing manuscripts and academic papers. Book and magazine publishers and most corporations and use style manuals, as well. In the 100w program, we use the 6thedition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association, 2010). As with other style manuals, it includes rules for almost every aspect of a paper, including margins, fonts, headings, numerals, citations, references, and so forth.
In addition to referring to the Manual, you can find excellent information online at the APA Style Blog (2017) or the Purdue Online Writing Lab (2016).
If you are not accustomed to using a style manual, you may find yourself shaking your head now and then at the various rules imposed on students and authors by APA Style. Using a style guide or manual helps you to write papers that have a consistent style and format. When people within a field or department follow the same guidelines for the form of their writing, then it makes it easier for their readers to focus on the substance of what they are saying.