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APA Formatting. How to write a paper in APA style

APA Style (American Psychological Association)

APA style is one of the most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences disciplines. As usual, students begin to write papers in this style in high schools when they receive a task to prepare term papers. This essay format has few editions. Nowadays students are required to use the 6 th edition. The American Psychological Association established this formatting style. APA is considered one of the easiest styles if to compare with Chicago or Harvard styles.

APA Formatting and Style Guide

There are two main categories of specification:

  • Physical appearance requirements

  • Resource citation

Physical Appearance Requirements

The Running Head: APA style requires a page header that is also known as a “running head.” It is used at the top of every page. The page number is inserted flush right and the title of the page is indicated in the upper left-hand corner. One should use all capital letters while typing the title of a paper. A running head looks like this: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER. You should not provide the whole title of the paper there; use the shortened version. The number of characters including punctuation and spacing should not exceed 50.

Pagination, Margins, and Spacing: Every page of the paper should be numbered. The number is supposed to appear in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Pagination is set automatically. As for the margins, they can be also set automatically: 1″ margins on all sides. The paper should be typed double-spaced (unless a professor asks to use single spacing).

Long Quotations: If the direct quotation used in the paper is 40 words and longer, it should be started on a new line. You should indent ? inch from the left margin. The entire quotation should be in a free-standing block.

Title Page: The title page has a specific running head, i. e. it contains not only the title of the paper but also the words “running head.” A running head of the title page looks like this: Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER. The title of the writing assignment should be centered and appear in the upper half of the page. Beneath the title, you should indicate the author’s name (omit titles and degrees, for example Ms., Dr., etc.). Beneath the author’s name, one should enter the name of the institutional affiliation.

Resource Citation

APA format adheres to the author-date method of citations. In other words, one should indicate the last name of the author and the year of publication. If you are paraphrasing the ideas of other people, you should properly cite their names and years of publication. For example, (Burns, 2013).

In case the last name of the author appears in the sentence, the year of publication is supposed to appear right after it in the brackets. For example, Johnson (2013) stated that a big question mark hung over the wisdom of the move.

If a student inserts a direct quotation in the paper, he or she should indicate not only the author’s name and year of publication but also the page number. For example, According to Fox (2009), “The rapid scientific and technological progress is apparently a contradictory process” (p. 34).

There are short quotations and long ones. Both direct quotations require author’s name, year of publication, and page number. However, a long quotation should appear in a free-standing block as it was mentioned above.

Reference List

References should begin on a new page and start with the title “References.” The title is supposed to be centered and appear at the top of the page.

All the reference should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If there is no author, one should indicate the title of the article or the name of organization.

If there are few works that are written by the same writer, one should list them in chronological order (from the earliest works to the most recent ones).

The titles of books and journals should be italicized. Do not forget that the titles should be presented in full.

If you use books, location and date of publication are supposed to be indicated. For location, one is supposed to list not only the city but also the state. For example, Michigan, MI.

If you list journals, you should indicate the number of volume and issue date as well as page numbers.

In case you use Internet sources, you should indicate the website URL.

If you use the edited book, you should add (Ed) or (Eds.). For example, Johnson, M. (Ed.).

If there are two authors of the work, you should put the ampersand between them. For example, Bronson, M. & Jarhead, G.

If there are more than 7 authors of the work, you should indicate 6 author’s name than insert an ellipses, and list the last author at the end.

If no date is given, you can use a shortening n. d. (no date).

The papers that are written in APA style should include an abstract. Abstract should begin on a new page after the title page and start with the title “Abstract.” The title is supposed to be centered and appear at the top of the page. Abstract should not be very long – between 150-250 words. It should contain research topic, the major points that will be discussed in the piece of writing, methods, and conclusions. As usual, there are also keywords at the end of an abstract. They start with the word Keywords that must be italicized and the list of keywords that will help to find this writing assignment in a database.

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