How to Use an APA Format for an Academic Research Paper


The Difficulty of a research paper

Research papers present the writers with many difficult problems, and a lot of them have to do with the nature of a research paper as it stands. The first thing to realize is that research papers require, well, research, something that many other types of papers do not have to worry about. This is a bit specific, but it is also very important to understand what goes into a research paper. Namely the research requires much more complexity with the in text citations and the works cited page, so you will have to double check your format for these.

What papers should you use APA for?

The APA format stands for the format of the American Physiological Association, which was a major force in academia at the time the standard was founded. Not only did their efforts make APA the standard format for Psychology papers, but they also made it standard for other social sciences such as sociology and gender studies, followed by it becoming the standard for sciences as a whole, even hard sciences like physics and biology. It is rival, MLA, it primarily used in the humanities, such as English or Art Criticism. There are small differences, so you should definitely be aware of them.

How to find APA resources

APA format can be difficult to get a handle on, so you should look to make sure that you find good resources to teach you the proper way to format your paper. The best, and straight forward way, is to go to a bookstore and purchase the relevant manual of style. This will have everything you need to write your essay, with examples, bibliographical information, as well as other information that might help you. If this fails, many websites will also help you out, some of them from the APA association itself.

Citations and so forth

The hardest part of writing a research paper in APA format is the citations. The most basic type of citation is the in text citation. How it works is this. The citation is of the format, [AUTHOR]-[DATE]. For example, we might have (Smith, 2010), which is the short hand reference for use of a fact from that source in the paper, so the reader can see what you are talking about. If you are not directly quoting the material, you do not have to have a page number, but otherwise you must include it.

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