APA style is used broadly among academics, students, and researchers working in the social sciences and allows for the proper citation of the findings of others in a recognizable format. APA style breaks papers into manageable sections that help writers to effectively organize their thoughts and allow readers to more easily navigate material. Here are the basics to get you started.
APA papers should…
- Be typed with 12-point font.
- Use 8.5 x 11 inch paper with one-inch margins.
- Contain a running header. The header should include the title of the paper flushed left and the paper number flushed right. The title page should be numbered page 1.
- Contain four sections: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
- The title page should contain the running head. Note that the title should be in all capital letters.
- The following—title, authors first, last name, and middle initial if applicable, and institution affiliation—should be centered at the upper half of the paper and should appear on separate lines.
- The title page should be double spaced.
- An abstract should be between 150 – 200 words.
- It should include a summary of the paper’s main research points.
- Do not indent the abstract.
- List key words at the bottom of the text by indenting, writing keywords in italics and then listing them.
- The paper should begin with the title centered below the header.
- Use headings for each section of the paper.
- Double space.
In-text citations include the author’s last name, year of publication and page number. The year of publication is specifically important to the social science field because it helps readers to quickly identify whether or not research is current. Here are a few samples.
According to Patterson (2001), “The subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (p. 56).
Patterson (2001) found that “the subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (p. 56); this is different from his earlier studies.
He stated, “The subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (Patterson, 2001, p. 56); this is different from his earlier studies.
- The reference list appears on a separate sheet at the end of the paper.
- The title should be centered and plain text.
- Citations should be double-spaced with no extra spaces between citations.
- Entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author listed for each resource.
- Make sure you have an entry for each resource cited in your text.
- For entries that are more than one line, all the subsequent lines should be indented one-half inch.
- EasyBib is a free site that generates reference pages in a variety of writing styles. Using this resource may save time when compiling a reference list.
Check out the basic web and book formats below.
The format for citing a web resource is:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number (issue number if available). Retrieved from http://www.includeaddresswithfullurl
The format for citing a book is:
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.