A Guide on How to Write an APA Format Research Paper

When it comes to writing a research paper, students have to worry about finding primary sources, marshaling evidence and building a strong argument. On top of these requirements, writers also have to worry about the specific format of the essay. For help in writing APA format papers, use the following guide.

What is APA Style?

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. Although it contains the worth “psychology” in its name, this writing style is actually used by a range of the social sciences. Essays in this style intend to show that something has been proven to be true. In general, the essay must be written in past or present perfect tense unless the professor has specified otherwise.

In-Text Citations

In order to prove something to be true, students have to show that they have evidence supporting the thesis. To do this, they must include the name of the publication and the last name of the writer of the source. For example:

“Jennings (2001) demonstrated that stress levels increased noticeable during final exams.”

In this sentence, the last name of the author and the publication date are both referenced. If the reader wants to find out more information, they will be able to look it up in the attached reference page.

Formatting Rules

Unless otherwise specified, students should always double space their APA formatted research papers. Even quotations, notes and the reference page should be double spaced. Margins along the sides, top and bottom of the page should be at least one-inch. Citations must be included for anything that is directly quoted or borrowed from another writer. Anything referenced in the paper should also be included on the reference list. In addition, the upper right hand corner of the page should have the number of the page while the entire document should have a running head.

Dealing With Different Source Material

Depending on the type of materials, there are specific guidelines for formatting the text. Books, films, recordings, plays, magazines and pamphlets should always be underlined in the paper. In comparison, essay titles, lectures, articles and book chapters should have their titles placed in quotation marks.

One of the main things to remember when writing an APA style paper is to always source where an idea came from. Even if an exact quotation is not used, the idea must be referenced to its original author. If students do not do this, they are at risk for plagiarism. All it takes to prevent plagiarism charges is to reference any ideas or quotes that are used in the paper.

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