If you have never written a paper in APA Style, there are a few things you must know. First and foremost, please go purchase a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, commonly known as the APA Style Guide. There are some professors who will not only check your sources, but will also check to see whether you formatted them correctly using the APA Style Guide. Using APA Style allows the professor to focus on the substance of your paper, because the flow of the writing is uninterrupted. It may take a while to get used to APA formatting--especially if you usually use another type of formatting. Don't worry though; these tips will help you.
How do I prepare the paper?
Content issues aside, the layout and preparation for an APA-Style paper is very simple. Set your document's margins to 1" on all sides; then set the header to 0.5" from the top. Select the standard font, which is 12-point Times New Roman, and set line spacing to "double." Then, insert page numbers at the top right, but do not show the page number on the first page. Note: Bold print is never used in APA Style.
Title Page Contents
At the top of the page, you need to declare your "running head." The running head is limited to 50 characters, to create a short title for your paper. Type in all capitals, "RUNNNING HEAD: YOUR SHORT TITLE GOES HERE," replacing the words "YOUR SHORT TITLE GOES HERE" with the short title for your paper. In the header section of the first page, paste the running head at the top of the header, right-aligned.
Start typing your title at 3 inches from the top of the page, centered, and double-spaced. Add your name, college name, and any other required information below the title, double-spaced.
Write a short description of your paper in 120 words; some classes will allow longer abstracts. Cover four main points: objective, methods, results, and conclusions. Don't give the results away yet, but tease the reader into wanting to read your paper.
This is where most people get stuck, and why the APA Style Guide is your best bet to produce a perfectly formatted paper. In the body of your paper, references are cited by author's last name and the year of publication (Example, 2009; Charles, Beardman, Cho,&Wang, 1911).
At the end of the paper, set your references page to double-spacing. Indent all of the lines in the citation below the first line. For example, journal articles are generally cited as follows:
Example, A. (2009). Publish your work in APA format. Education Quarterly, 22(4), 100-112.
Note: Use italics for the journal title and the volume number only.
If you are citing a book, the general format is:
Charles, H., Beardman, J.W., Cho, K., & Wang, A. (1911). APA format: The best way to publish.
(pp. 112-114). New York: Harper Collins.
Use italics for the book title only. Make certain that you save your work regularly and establish a backup system, just in case.
Now you can use APA writing format for your papers. These formatting tips will help you write your paper correctly. Good luck!