A Comprehensive Tutorial On Writing An APA Research Paper

The APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. A publication manual explaining all the rules for this style was created for students in the social and behavioral sciences in order to bring a common standard to scientific writing in these fields. There are specific guidelines for formatting, citations, and language usage.

What elements does format include?

The formatting guidelines for APA style include:

  • Document margins on all sides of the page are to be 1 inch.
  • The type of font used and the size should be a serif font such as Times New Roman. This is for the text of your paper. For figure labels, a sans serif font such as Arial is expected. 12 point font is the size required.
  • The entire manuscript should be double spaced. This includes the title page, abstract, body, appendices, references, figures, tables and footnotes.
  • Spacing after punctuation is standard – 1 space after commas, semicolons or colons that appear within a sentence. Two spaces after the punctuation that ends a sentence.
  • Page numeration – the title page starts as page 1, followed in order by the abstract (page 2) and beginning of text (page 3).
  • The reference list should appear on its own new page after the last page of text of your paper.
  • After the references, the tables should appear, each on its own page.
  • The figures follow the tables, again each on their own new page.
  • The appendices are the final part, each on their own new page.

How should the title page be formatted?

The title page is always the first page of your research paper. The title of your paper should be no longer than 12 words and is not allowed to include abbreviations. Long titles may use two lines of text if need be. The author is placed directly under the title, followed by the educational institution. Including the date and course are optional. Your professor may ask to add or omit these.

Insert a page break after the title page to ensure your paper begins at the top of the next page.

What format is required for the abstract?

If an abstract is part of your research paper requirement, it should appear directly after the title page. It gives the reader a brief overview of the contents of your paper. Center the heading on the first line. The text for the abstract should start without a first line indentation. Keep the abstract length within 150 to 200 words.