APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines
Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.
- Use white 8 ½ x 11” paper.
- Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
- The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
- APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
- Double space the entire research paper
- Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
- To create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
- Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
- If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper
Sample running head/page header
APA Paper Components
Your essay should include these four major sections:
- Title Page
- Main Body
This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above.
*Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capitals. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:
- The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose
- It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
- Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
- All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay
- Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
- The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research
Sample Title page:
On the following page, begin with the Running title.
- On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
- On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
- This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
- If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.
Sample Abstract page:
On the following page, begin with the Body of the paper.
- Start with the Running title
- On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
- Begin with the introduction. Indent.
- The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based. It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
- Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
- Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle. The Results section summarizes the data. Use graphs and graphs to display this data.
- Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
- Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
- Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
- Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author’s/authors’ name(s) and the publication year. In APA format page numbers are not used in in-text citations.
Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).
For more information about how to cite properly please see EasyBib’s guides for APA citations based on the sources you are using.
Sample Body page:
On a new page, write your references.
- Begin with a running title
- Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
- Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
- Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.
Sample Reference Page:
Tips on how to write in APA format for dummies
You have just started your school year, and you are expected to hand in a majority of your assignments in the APA format. You are, however, having difficulty in meeting these requirements since you have no idea how to cite inside the text or to format the reference page. You may also require help to confirm whether the format you have used is indeed the APA format. Luckily, I am going to give you easy tips on how to write in APA format for dummies.
Learning to use the APA format in your writing is very simple. Always remember:
- The title page must have a running head.
- In-text citations must include the surname and publication year.
- The font should be Times New Romans, font size 12 unless instructed otherwise
How to format the title page
The title page of the APA format stands out because it has a running head.
- You should write the words ‘Running head’ followed by a colon ‘:’ on the left-hand side of the header.
- You should then write the topic of your assignment in capital letters for instance ‘THE CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLENT FILMS ON TEENAGERS.’ The header is a shortened version of the topic. It should have a maximum of 50 characters including punctuation and spacing.
- Insert the page number at the right-hand side of the header.
- The page should contain:
The above should be centered in the upper half of the title page.
- The title should not exceed 12 words and you should avoid using abbreviations or unnecessary words. The title can also cover one or two lines depending on the topic.
- The text for the entire paper should be double-spaced unless instructed otherwise.
Formatting the content
The subsequent pages following the title page should be formatted in the following ways:
- Include the running head on the left side of the header. However, do not use the word ‘running head’ as you did on the title page. Use the header in the rest of the pages including the reference page.
- The page number should also be on the right side of the header.
- The content should have an ‘introduction’ ‘body’ and ‘conclusion.’ You do not need to write the words ‘introduction’ and ‘body.’ You should, however, include the topics and subtopics in the body (if any) to help guide the reader.
Use the following instructions when citing in the text:
- Capitalize all proper nouns including initials: P. Humpster.
- In text citations must include the surname and publication year:
- Include the page number if available or if instructed by your teacher:
(Humpster, 2016, p. 77)
According to Humpster (2016), explain what the author states (p.77).
- You should use ‘&’ when citing two to five authors:
(Humpster & Smith, 2016) or
Humpster and Smith (2016) argue that….
(Hofstader, Cooper, Dawson, & Wolowitz, 2016)
Hoftstader, Cooper, Dawson, and Wolowitz (2016) assert that…
- Use the word ‘et al.’ when citing more than five authors
(Wolowitz et al., 2017) or
Wolowitz et al. (2017) support…
Formatting the reference page
- Arrange the references in the reference page in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author for each entry.
- Use hanging indentation in all the lines after the first line of each entry. The indent should be 0.5 inches from the left margin.
- The author names are inverted i.e. provide the last name first
- Maintain capitalization and punctuation used by journals in the title.
The basic format for APA references includes:
Author, A. (Publication year). Title: Capital letter for the subtitle. Location: Publisher
Humpster, D., & Cooper, S. (2016). Capitalism: Its effect on society. New Hampshire: Dragon Publishers.
Author, A (Publication year). Title. Journal Title, Volume (Issue – if any), page numbers.
Wolowitz, H. (2017). The consequences of violent movies on teenagers. Journal of Social Behavior, 2 (20), 6-30.
Ask a question