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A Comprehensive Guide To Writing An APA Format Research Paper

The APA style guide for formatting citations is the preferred method applied to research papers within the social sciences. It’s a detailed system that applies uniformity so that anyone unfamiliar with the material can easily look up resource information cited within the work. Here is a comprehensive guide to writing an APA research paper:

Research Paper Basics

Use a standard 8.5” x 11” white paper, with margins of 1” all the way around. You should use a clear and legible font such as Times New Roman or Calibri set to 12 pt. Include a running head on all pages, flush left. The running head should be a shortened version of the research paper’s title and should be no more than 50 characters. Include a page number, flush right, at the top on all pages including the cover page. The cover page should include both the running head and page number at the top. The main title should be centered and placed about one-third of the way down. Include a sub-title on the next line, followed by your full name on the next line, and university name on the line after that. Don’t bold or italics for the title. It should all be written using both upper and lower case letters. The first letter of each proper noun or verb should be in upper caps.

Citations and Bibliography

In text citations, such as paraphrases, facts, data, and quotations should include author information, the year of publication, and the page number where the information can be found, for example (Thomas, 1999, p. 199). Alternatively, you can include the author’s name within the text immediately followed by the year in parentheses and with the page number placed in different parentheses at the end of the sentence. For example “According to Thomas (1999)….” (p. 199). Long quotations – four lines or more – are included in block quotes, indented 1.5” from the left margin and written without quotation marks.

The bibliography section will include complete citation information for all resources referenced in the text. Citations are arranged alphabetically by the author’s (or editor’s) last name. Each citation should include last name first name, year of publication, followed by the title of the work, location and publisher. If it’s an article within a larger work, such as a journal, include the title of the article before the title of the larger work. Also include the volume and issue number, as well as the article pages at the very end.