How to Format an APA Style Paper for an Academic Audience
Monday, 08 April 2019

APA format is common for academic style essays and professional research studies. Learn how to format an APA style paper, including APA cover page and citations.

APA, MLA, Chicago Manual Style. . . .

There are so many writing conventions, and now you have to write an APA-style paper. You've never written in APA before. You don't even know what APA stands for.

What are you going to do?

We have you covered. APA isn't too hard to grasp. In fact, some consider it much easier than any of the other writing conventions.
Ready to get an A on that paper? Then read our quick, easy article that breaks down APA as easy as your ABCs.

Formatting an APA-Style Paper

The sciences and medical sectors use APA. It stands for the "American Psychological Association." Before beginning your essay, remove distractions and make sure you are well.

Writing essays is enough to make any student ill, so be sure to check out insurance options through before beginning that paper!

General Rules

A proper APA-style paper requires a title page, an abstract, the body of your essay and a reference page. However, always check with your instructor to ensure he or she doesn't have unique requests that change the regular formatting.

Double space your essay on 8.5" x 11" paper with one-inch margins. Use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, and utilize only 12-point font. Every page should have a running head, which will be described shortly.

Left align paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and do not space between paragraphs.

The Title Page

On the title page, include the full title of your essay on the upper-half of the page. Capitalize the first letter of all major words in your essay.
Beneath the title, type your name. Beneath your name, include the institution's name.

At the top of the page in the header, include a running head flush left that has a shortened version of your title all in caps. Precede this by "Running head":


Flush right, include the page number.

On all subsequent pages, omit "Running head" from the header.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations come in the form of signal phrases and follow the author-date format. Include the author's last name and the publishing year directly prior to or after any information taken from that source.

If applicable, include page numbers.

This can be done in one of two ways:

1. Mention the author's last name (year) and then the information. Example: According to Jones (2004), a schema influences snap judgments (p. 144).
2. Include the information in a parenthetical citation. Example: A schema influences snap judgments (Jones, 2004, p. 144).
APA favors the first way.

Citations show your logic, demonstrate your research and give credit to avoid plagiarizing.

The Reference Page

The reference page lists all sources used in the body of the essay. At the top and center of this page, write "References."
Separate references by hanging indents, which indent all lines after the first for each source half an inch. Do not enter between references, and alphabetize sources.

APA requires writers to follow specific formats depending on the type of source. Newspaper articles, for instance, are cited differently than blog articles.

APA citation generators are helpful in following the proper formats, but always refer to the APA Style Manual to double check references.
Want More Writing Tips?

Writing an APA-style paper doesn't have to be tough. In fact, we have a whole bunch of writing tips to help you out.

Find out more ways to get an A in our article covering the best essay tips for students.

Get ahead and get that paper out of the way.


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