General APA guidelines for writing contain the following information:
- The essay should be typed and double-spaced.
- It should be on the paper of the standard size (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on every side.
- Use highly readable clear font, for example 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
- There should be a page header also known as “running head” at the top of every page.
- Page numbers should be inserted flush right.
- “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” should be typed flush left using capital letters only.
- The running head is shortened version of your essay’s title and it cannot be more then 50 characters including punctuation and spacing.
Essential paper sections
Every essay should include 4 major sections. They are: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
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The Title Page
The title page of APA style essay contains the title of your work, the name of the author and institutional affiliation. It should include the page header which was described above. The page header should be placed flush left and the page number should be flush right, both at the top of the page.
- The page header/running head on the title page will look like: Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER. Pages that go after the title page should have a running head that looks the following way: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER.
- The title of the work should be typed in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA suggests that your title should be more than 12 words in length. It shouldn’t contain abbreviations or words of no purpose. It may take up to 2 lines. All the text should be double-spaced.
- The author’s name is situated beneath the title. It should be written the following way: first name, middle initials, and last name. It is forbidden to use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD) at the title page.
- Institutional affiliation should indicate the location were the research was conducted. It is typed beneath the author’s name.
How to write an Abstract?
Abstract should begin with a new page. It should already include the page header.
- Center the word “Abstract” on the first line of the abstract page.
- Don’t use bold, italics, underlining, formatting, or quotation marks within the title of the abstract page.
- Starting from the next line, you should write a concise summary of the key points of your work.
- Your abstract should present at least the topic of your research/essay, essay questions, methods, participants, results, data analysis, and conclusions.
- You may also include possible implications of your research and future work that can be connected with your findings to the abstract.
- Speaking about formatting, your abstract should be a single double-spaced paragraph. It must be between 150 and 250 words.
- Some writing specialists also advise to list the keywords from your paper in the abstract section.
- If you decided to do it, indent as if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (should be italicized), and then list your keywords. The keywords from your research paper will help the scientists to find your work in databases.
References and Citations
APA format dictates several specific guidelines for in-text citations and references. All the instances, citations that appear in the text of your research work should be listed in the reference section at the end of your paper.
- Author citations should follow the basic author-date format.
- The basic structure for citing articles that appear in periodicals follows the author-date format. It should include the author’s last name followed by the date of publication. Article references will vary based on where the article appears and who authored the content.
- The structure of the reference varies depending on who authored the source and how many authors are credited.
- Book reference are usually very similar to journal article references and include the author’s last name, first initials, publication year, book title, location, and publisher.
- Online documents, databases, online communications and journal articles all have unique referencing requirements.