APA stands for the organization which worked out the standards for academic papers in the social sciences, American Psychological Association. Initially, APA style was developed to be used in psychology. Later on, the academic community has loosely adopted this citation style. Nowadays, it has little to do with its original field of usage. Let's see what makes APA format paper so special.
The first thing that stands out is the cover page. An APA style paper title page is a tricky thing when you don't know how to go about it. It should include the title of the paper, the name of the author, and the institution to which the paper is being presented. Each page should have a running head along with a shortened name of the paper which should not exceed 50 characters aligned left, and the page number aligned right.
Sometimes professors make little of these requirements; so, when you have to write an essay in APA format, you should consult your tutor on using it. You don't want to lose points just because you've concluded what to do, and how to do it, on your own. College papers aren't always just about the content. You have to abide by certain rules and requirements in order to make your work count in your professor's books.
What is an APA style paper? Let's define it. Well, the main thing about APA paper is the way in which information is referenced. This is why APA is called a citation style. It is crucial for putting valuable information into a very short form, which, despite its briefness, is easy to read and understand for anybody who is reading the paper. Also, it helps to avoid any copyright issues related to plagiarism.
As is obvious from the foregoing account, a proper citation should be the focus of your attention when it comes to writing an APA style paper. Use parentheses to enclose the quotation, the citation is followed by the name or the last names and the initials of the authors enclosed in brackets. After a comma, the year of publication follows next. But, do not forget that there are different rules applied to different types of publications. Please, go to official APA-related resources for more details.
While writing an APA paper may seem like a confusing or difficult task, it is not really that tough. Start by breaking the format and style into smaller, more manageable steps. This will make things simpler.
If there are four or more pages in your work, APA strongly recommends including an abstract. Next, click on Proofing. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word , click on Settings. Next to Spaces required between sentences , change the setting to 2. Click OK to exit.
This setting will alert you to single spaces after a period with the green squiggle that shows when there is a grammar error in your paper. Leave 1 in. Microsoft Word usually is set to 1 in.
You can check this by clicking on Page Layout , then click on Margins. The margin you are using is highlighted, select Normal if it is not already selected. APA style recommends placing two spaces after a period that ends a sentence. This rule is often not enforced by professors. The reasoning behind it is to aid in proofreading. Microsoft Word and later editions does not allow the user to put in two spaces after a period in any automatic way.
You can set-up your grammar check to alert you when you have failed to place two spaces after a period. In Spaces Required Between Sentences, select 2. Now when you type your paper and insert only one space after a period, you will see a small green squiggly where you fail to put in two spaces, once you do a grammar check of your paper. Discussions usually consist of some combination of the following elements:.
The discussion typically begins with a summary of the study that provides a clear answer to the research question. In a short report with a single study, this might require no more than a sentence. In a longer report with multiple studies, it might require a paragraph or even two. The summary is often followed by a discussion of the theoretical implications of the research. Do the results provide support for any existing theories? Although you do not have to provide a definitive explanation or detailed theory for your results, you at least need to outline one or more possible explanations.
In applied research—and often in basic research—there is also some discussion of the practical implications of the research. How can the results be used, and by whom, to accomplish some real-world goal?
Perhaps there are problems with its internal or external validity. Perhaps the manipulation was not very effective or the measures not very reliable. Perhaps there is some evidence that participants did not fully understand their task or that they were suspicious of the intent of the researchers. Now is the time to discuss these issues and how they might have affected the results.
But do not overdo it. All studies have limitations, and most readers will understand that a different sample or different measures might have produced different results. Instead, pick two or three limitations that seem like they could have influenced the results, explain how they could have influenced the results, and suggest ways to deal with them. Most discussions end with some suggestions for future research.
If the study did not satisfactorily answer the original research question, what will it take to do so?
This part of the discussion, however, is not just a list of new questions. It is a discussion of two or three of the most important unresolved issues. This means identifying and clarifying each question, suggesting some alternative answers, and even suggesting ways they could be studied. Finally, some researchers are quite good at ending their articles with a sweeping or thought-provoking conclusion.
Click this link to download the PDF handout of the APA Sample Paper. . Research and Citation. Research and Citation Resources; Conducting Research. APA research paper formatting guidelines: title page, abstract, body, citations, and references. Learn on fonts, margins, spacing in APA.
However, this kind of ending can be difficult to pull off. It can sound overreaching or just banal and end up detracting from the overall impact of the article. It is often better simply to end when you have made your final point although you should avoid ending on a limitation. All references cited in the text are then listed in the format presented earlier. They are listed alphabetically by the last name of the first author.
If two sources have the same first author, they are listed alphabetically by the last name of the second author.
If all the authors are the same, then they are listed chronologically by the year of publication. Everything in the reference list is double-spaced both within and between references. Appendices, tables, and figures come after the references. An appendix could be used to present lists of stimulus words, questionnaire items, detailed descriptions of special equipment or unusual statistical analyses, or references to the studies that are included in a meta-analysis.
Each appendix begins on a new page. After any appendices come tables and then figures. Tables and figures are both used to present results. Figures can also be used to illustrate theories e. Each table and figure appears on its own page. A brief explanatory title, with the important words capitalized, appears above each table.
Each figure is given a brief explanatory caption, where aside from proper nouns or names only the first word of each sentence is capitalized. More details on preparing APA-style tables and figures are presented later in the book. Figures The main purpose of these figures is to illustrate the basic organization and formatting of an APA-style empirical research report, although many high-level and low-level style conventions can be seen here too.
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The body text begins immediately after the point. These guidelines are the ones that set the paper apart from the rest of the academic writing formats. When it comes to a research paper with apa format, everything should be in point font size and double spaced. Should I include page numbers on the title and reference page? Below are instructions and examples for formatting general components of an APA formatted paper, including how to write a cover page, running head header , an in-text citation, and a Reference section. Focus on a rather descriptive information about your results, since its discussion will follow in the next part. Sometimes the teacher may give the word limit for such an assignment.
Identify the major sections of an APA-style research report and the basic contents of each section. Plan and write an effective APA-style research report. Here are some examples from recent issues of the Journal Psychological Science.