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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on August 23, 2022.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

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Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

APA format (7th edition)

Let an expert format your paper

Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:

format for apa essay

Table of contents

How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.

References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).

Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?

Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.

In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .

A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .

APA running head (7th edition)

APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.

Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .

APA headings (7th edition)

The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.

Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .

For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).

The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.

Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.

APA abstract (7th edition)

APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.

Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.

The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.

Creating APA Style references

Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .

Formatting the reference page

Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.

Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).

Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.

APA table (7th edition)

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

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Streefkerk, R. (2022, August 23). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/

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format for apa essay

APA Sample Paper

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This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Note:  This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style  can be found here .

Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper  ,  APA Sample Professional Paper

This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader

Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student  and  professional  papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.

However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in  student style and one in  professional  style.

Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7. 

APA 7 Student Paper:

Apa 7 professional paper:.

American Psychological Association

Sample Papers

This page contains sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style. The sample papers show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript for publication in a professional journal and that students should use to submit a paper to an instructor for a course assignment. You can download the Word files to use as templates and edit them as needed for the purposes of your own papers.

Most guidelines in the Publication Manual apply to both professional manuscripts and student papers. However, there are specific guidelines for professional papers versus student papers, including professional and student title page formats. All authors should check with the person or entity to whom they are submitting their paper (e.g., publisher or instructor) for guidelines that are different from or in addition to those specified by APA Style.

Sample papers from the Publication Manual

The following two sample papers were published in annotated form in the Publication Manual and are reproduced here as PDFs for your ease of use. The annotations draw attention to content and formatting and provide the relevant sections of the Publication Manual (7th ed.) to consult for more information.

We also offer these sample papers in Microsoft Word (.docx) format with the annotations as comments to the text.

Finally, we offer these sample papers in Microsoft Word (.docx) format without the annotations.

Sample professional paper templates by paper type

These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different professional paper types. Professional papers can contain many different elements depending on the nature of the work. Authors seeking publication should refer to the journal’s instructions for authors or manuscript submission guidelines for specific requirements and/or sections to include.

format for apa essay

This guidance is  new  to the 7th edition.

Related handouts

Other instructional aids

Sample student paper templates by paper type

These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

APA does not set formal requirements for the nature or contents of an APA Style student paper. Students should follow the guidelines and requirements of their instructor, department, and/or institution when writing papers. For instance, an abstract and keywords are not required for APA Style student papers, although an instructor may request them in student papers that are longer or more complex. Specific questions about a paper being written for a course assignment should be directed to the instructor or institution assigning the paper.

Sample papers in real life

Although published articles differ in format from manuscripts submitted for publication or student papers (e.g., different line spacing, font, margins, and column format), articles published in APA journals provide excellent demonstrations of APA Style in action.

APA journals began publishing papers in seventh edition APA Style in 2020. Professional authors should check the author submission guidelines for the journal to which they want to submit their paper for any journal-specific style requirements.

Credits for sample professional paper templates

Quantitative professional paper template: Adapted from “Fake News, Fast and Slow: Deliberation Reduces Belief in False (but Not True) News Headlines,” by B. Bago, D. G. Rand, and G. Pennycook, 2020, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 149 (8), pp. 1608–1613 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000729 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Qualitative professional paper template: Adapted from “‘My Smartphone Is an Extension of Myself’: A Holistic Qualitative Exploration of the Impact of Using a Smartphone,” by L. J. Harkin and D. Kuss, 2020, Psychology of Popular Media , 10 (1), pp. 28–38 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000278 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Mixed methods professional paper template: Adapted from “‘I Am a Change Agent’: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Students’ Social Justice Value Orientation in an Undergraduate Community Psychology Course,” by D. X. Henderson, A. T. Majors, and M. Wright, 2019,  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology , 7 (1), 68–80. ( https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000171 ). Copyright 2019 by the American Psychological Association.

Literature review professional paper template: Adapted from “Rethinking Emotions in the Context of Infants’ Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Interest and Positive Emotions,” by S. I. Hammond and J. K. Drummond, 2019, Developmental Psychology , 55 (9), pp. 1882–1888 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000685 ). Copyright 2019 by the American Psychological Association.

Review professional paper template: Adapted from “Joining the Conversation: Teaching Students to Think and Communicate Like Scholars,” by E. L. Parks, 2022, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology , 8 (1), pp. 70–78 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000193 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Credits for sample student paper templates

These papers came from real students who gave their permission to have them edited and posted by APA.

From the APA Style blog

format for apa essay

Who needs an author note? You … maybe

Professional papers intended for submission to a journal must always include an author note. Student papers do not typically include an author note.

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A step-by-step guide for creating and formatting APA Style student papers

The start of the semester is the perfect time to learn how to create and format APA Style student papers. This article walks through the formatting steps needed to create an APA Style student paper, starting with a basic setup that applies to the entire paper (margins, font, line spacing, paragraph alignment and indentation, and page headers). It then covers formatting for the major sections of a student paper: the title page, the text, tables and figures, and the reference list. Finally, it concludes by describing how to organize student papers and ways to improve their quality and presentation.

The guidelines for student paper setup are described and shown using annotated diagrams in the Student Paper Setup Guide (PDF, 3.40MB) and the A Step-by-Step Guide to APA Style Student Papers webinar . Chapter 1 of the Concise Guide to APA Style and Chapter 2 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association describe the elements, format, and organization for student papers. Tables and figures are covered in Chapter 7 of both books. Information on paper format and tables and figures and a full sample student paper are also available on the APA Style website.

Basic setup

The guidelines for basic setup apply to the entire paper. Perform these steps when you first open your document, and then you do not have to worry about them again while writing your paper. Because these are general aspects of paper formatting, they apply to all APA Style papers, student or professional. Students should always check with their assigning instructor or institution for specific guidelines for their papers, which may be different than or in addition to APA Style guidelines.

Seventh edition APA Style was designed with modern word-processing programs in mind. Most default settings in programs such as Academic Writer, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs already comply with APA Style. This means that, for most paper elements, you do not have to make any changes to the default settings of your word-processing program. However, you may need to make a few adjustments before you begin writing.

Use 1-in. margins on all sides of the page (top, bottom, left, and right). This is usually how papers are automatically set.

Use a legible font. The default font of your word-processing program is acceptable. Many sans serif and serif fonts can be used in APA Style, including 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia. You can also use other fonts described on the font page of the website.

Line spacing

Double-space the entire paper including the title page, block quotations, and the reference list. This is something you usually must set using the paragraph function of your word-processing program. But once you do, you will not have to change the spacing for the entirety of your paper–just double-space everything. Do not add blank lines before or after headings. Do not add extra spacing between paragraphs. For paper sections with different line spacing, see the line spacing page.

Paragraph alignment and indentation

Align all paragraphs of text in the body of your paper to the left margin. Leave the right margin ragged. Do not use full justification. Indent the first line of every paragraph of text 0.5-in. using the tab key or the paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program. For paper sections with different alignment and indentation, see the paragraph alignment and indentation page.

Page numbers

Put a page number in the top right of every page header , including the title page, starting with page number 1. Use the automatic page-numbering function of your word-processing program to insert the page number in the top right corner; do not type the page numbers manually. The page number is the same font and font size as the text of your paper. Student papers do not require a running head on any page, unless specifically requested by the instructor.

Title page setup

Title page elements.

APA Style has two title page formats: student and professional (for details, see title page setup ). Unless instructed otherwise, students should use the student title page format and include the following elements, in the order listed, on the title page:

The format for the byline depends on whether the paper has one author, two authors, or three or more authors.

Students have an academic affiliation, which identities where they studied when the paper was written. Because students working together on a paper are usually in the same class, they will have one shared affiliation. The affiliation consists of the name of the department and the name of the college or university, separated by a comma (e.g., Department of Psychology, George Mason University). The department is that of the course to which the paper is being submitted, which may be different than the department of the student’s major. Do not include the location unless it is part of the institution’s name.

Write the course number and name and the instructor name as shown on institutional materials (e.g., the syllabus). The course number and name are often separated by a colon (e.g., PST-4510: History and Systems Psychology). Write the assignment due date in the month, date, and year format used in your country (e.g., Sept. 10, 2020).

Title page line spacing

Double-space the whole title page. Place the paper title three or four lines down from the top of the page. Add an extra double-spaced blank like between the paper title and the byline. Then, list the other title page elements on separate lines, without extra lines in between.

Title page alignment

Center all title page elements (except the right-aligned page number in the header).

Title page font

Write the title page using the same font and font size as the rest of your paper. Bold the paper title. Use standard font (i.e., no bold, no italics) for all other title page elements.

Text elements

Repeat the paper title at the top of the first page of text. Begin the paper with an introduction to provide background on the topic, cite related studies, and contextualize the paper. Use descriptive headings to identify other sections as needed (e.g., Method, Results, Discussion for quantitative research papers). Sections and headings vary depending on the paper type and its complexity. Text can include tables and figures, block quotations, headings, and footnotes.

Text line spacing

Double-space all text, including headings and section labels, paragraphs of text, and block quotations.

Text alignment

Center the paper title on the first line of the text. Indent the first line of all paragraphs 0.5-in.

Left-align the text. Leave the right margin ragged.

Block quotation alignment

Indent the whole block quotation 0.5-in. from the left margin. Double-space the block quotation, the same as other body text. Find more information on the quotations page.

Use the same font throughout the entire paper. Write body text in standard (nonbold, nonitalic) font. Bold only headings and section labels. Use italics sparingly, for instance, to highlight a key term on first use (for more information, see the italics page).

Headings format

For detailed guidance on formatting headings, including headings in the introduction of a paper, see the headings page and the headings in sample papers .

Tables and figures setup

Tables and figures are only included in student papers if needed for the assignment. Tables and figures share the same elements and layout. See the website for sample tables and sample figures .

Table elements

Tables include the following four elements: 

Figure elements

Figures include the following four elements: 

Table line spacing

Double-space the table number and title. Single-, 1.5-, or double-space the table body (adjust as needed for readability). Double-space the table note.

Figure line spacing

Double-space the figure number and title. The default settings for spacing in figure images is usually acceptable (but adjust the spacing as needed for readability). Double-space the figure note.

Table alignment

Left-align the table number and title. Center column headings. Left-align the table itself and left-align the leftmost (stub) column. Center data in the table body if it is short or left-align the data if it is long. Left-align the table note.

Figure alignment

Left-align the figure number and title. Left-align the whole figure image. The default alignment of the program in which you created your figure is usually acceptable for axis titles and data labels. Left-align the figure note.

Bold the table number. Italicize the table title. Use the same font and font size in the table body as the text of your paper. Italicize the word “Note” at the start of the table note. Write the note in the same font and font size as the text of your paper.

Figure font

Bold the figure number. Italicize the figure title. Use a sans serif font (e.g., Calibri, Arial) in the figure image in a size between 8 to 14 points. Italicize the word “Note” at the start of the figure note. Write the note in the same font and font size as the text of your paper.

Placement of tables and figures

There are two options for the placement of tables and figures in an APA Style paper. The first option is to place all tables and figures on separate pages after the reference list. The second option is to embed each table and figure within the text after its first callout. This guide describes options for the placement of tables and figures embedded in the text. If your instructor requires tables and figures to be placed at the end of the paper, see the table and figure guidelines and the sample professional paper .

Call out (mention) the table or figure in the text before embedding it (e.g., write “see Figure 1” or “Table 1 presents”). You can place the table or figure after the callout either at the bottom of the page, at the top of the next page, or by itself on the next page. Avoid placing tables and figures in the middle of the page.

Embedding at the bottom of the page

Include a callout to the table or figure in the text before that table or figure. Add a blank double-spaced line between the text and the table or figure at the bottom of the page.

Embedding at the top of the page

Include a callout to the table in the text on the previous page before that table or figure. The table or figure then appears at the top of the next page. Add a blank double-spaced line between the end of the table or figure and the text that follows.

Embedding on its own page

Embed long tables or large figures on their own page if needed. The text continues on the next page.

Reference list setup

Reference list elements.

The reference list consists of the “References” section label and the alphabetical list of references. View reference examples on the APA Style website. Consult Chapter 10 in both the Concise Guide and Publication Manual for even more examples.

Reference list line spacing

Start the reference list at the top of a new page after the text. Double-space the entire reference list (both within and between entries).

Reference list alignment

Center the “References” label. Apply a hanging indent of 0.5-in. to all reference list entries. Create the hanging indent using your word-processing program; do not manually hit the enter and tab keys.

Reference list font

Bold the “References” label at the top of the first page of references. Use italics within reference list entries on either the title (e.g., webpages, books, reports) or on the source (e.g., journal articles, edited book chapters).

Final checks

Check page order.

Check headings

Check assignment instructions

Tips for better writing

About the author

format for apa essay

How to Write an Essay in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

format for apa essay

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

format for apa essay

What Is APA Format?

Apa essay format basics, steps to a successful essay, frequently asked questions.

If your instructor has asked you to write an APA format essay, it might at first seem like a daunting task, especially if you are accustomed to using another style such as MLA or Chicago. But you can master these rules too.

An essay is one type of paper that can be written in APA format; others include lab reports, experimental reports, and case studies. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with some of the basic guidelines of writing a paper in APA format. Of course, it will also be important to follow any other formatting instructions that are part of your assignment.

Whether you’re taking an introductory or graduate-level psychology class, chances are strong that you will have to write at least one paper during the course of the semester. In almost every case, you will need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association . It is also used for academic journals.

APA format is used in a range of disciplines including psychology , education, and other social sciences. The format dictates presentation elements of your paper including spacing, margins, and how the content is structured.

Most instructors and publication editors have strict guidelines when it comes to how your format your writing. Not only does adhering to APA format allow readers to know what to expect from your paper, but it also means that your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors. 

While the formatting requirements for your paper might vary depending upon your instructor's directions, your essay will most likely need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference sections.

Your essay should have a title page in APA format. This title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation. In some instances, your teacher might require additional information such as the course title, instructor name, and the date.

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper that immediately follows the title page. It is not required for student papers, according to APA style. However, your instructor may request one.

If you include an abstract , it should be no more than 100 to 200 words, although this may vary depending upon the instructor requirements.

Your essay should also include a reference list with all of the sources that were cited in your essay,

For an APA-style essay, the text will include the actual essay itself: The introduction, body, and conclusion.

For professional papers (usually not student papers), every page of the essay also includes a running head at the top left. The running head is a shortened form of the title, often the first few words, and should be no more than 50 characters (including spaces).

In addition to ensuring that you cite your sources properly and present information according to the rules of APA style, there are a number of things you can do to make the writing process a little bit easier.

Choose a Topic

Start by choosing a good topic to write about. Ideally, you want to select a subject that is specific enough to let you fully research and explore the topic, but not so specific that you have a hard time finding sources of information.

If you choose something too specific, you may find yourself with not enough to write about. If you choose something too general, you might find yourself overwhelmed with information.

Research Your Topic

Start doing research as early as possible. Begin by looking at some basic books and articles on your topic to help develop it further. What is the question you are going to answer with your essay? What approach will you take to the topic?

Once you are more familiar with the subject, create a preliminary source list of potential books, articles, essays, and studies that you may end up using in your essay.

Remember, any source used in your essay must be included in your reference section. Conversely, any source listed in your references must be cited somewhere in the body of your paper.

Write Your Rough Draft

With research in hand, you are ready to begin. Some people like to create an outline to organize their argument prior to drafting. You may want to start with a very rough outline, and then add details.

Once you have a detailed outline, the next step is to translate it from notes to complete sentences and paragraphs. Remember, this is a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect.

As you write your essay, be sure to keep careful track of the sources that you cite.

Review and Revise

After you have prepared a rough draft of your essay, it's time to revise, review, and prepare your final draft. In addition to making sure that your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, you should also check carefully for typos, grammar errors, and possible formatting mistakes.

How do you write an interview essay in APA format?

When citing information or quotations taken from an interview, APA format requires that you cite the source, how the information was collected, and the date of the interview. They should not be included in the reference section, however, because they are not something that can be located by a reader in any published source or searchable database.

Instead, the information should be cited parenthetically in the main body of the text. For example: “There was an increase in the number of college students who screened positive for depression/anxiety” (R. Heathfield, personal communication, May 9, 2021).

How do you cite an essay in APA format?

If the essay is in a chapter of a book, edited collection, or anthology, APA format states that you should cite the last name, first name, title of essay, title of collection, publisher, year, and page range. For example: Smith, John, "The Light House," A Book of Poems , editing by Peter Roberts, Allworth Press, 2005, pp. 20-25.

How do I write a two-part essay in APA format?

According to APA format, a two-part essay is formatted the same as an essay, however, you'll need to create two title pages.

How do I include a direct quote in an APA format essay?

If you're including a short direct quote in your APA-format essay, you will need to cite the author, year of publication, and page number (p.) or page number span (pp.). Quotations longer than 40 words should omit the quotation marks and be put in the text using block quotation formatting, on its own line and indented 1/2 inch from the left margin.

How do I make a cover page for an essay in APA format?

The cover page or "title page" for an essay in APA format should always include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation as well as the course title, instructor name, and date, if requested by your teacher.

Nagda S.  How to write a scientific abstract.   J Indian Prosthodont Soc.  2013;13(3):382-383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format

APA Format for Students & Researchers

In this guide, students and researchers can learn the basics of creating a properly formatted research paper according to APA guidelines.

It includes information on how to conceptualize, outline, and format the basic structure of your paper, as well as practical tips on spelling, abbreviation, punctuation, and more. The guide concludes with a complete sample paper as well as a final checklist that writers can use to prepare their work for submission.

APA Paper Formatting Basics

Table of Contents

Here’s a quick rundown of the contents of this guide on how to do APA format.

Information related to writing and organizing your paper:

General paper length

Writing style tips:

Proper tone.

Citing Your Sources:

Proofing Your Paper:

APA Information:

What you won’t find in this guide: This guide provides information related to the formatting of your paper, as in guidelines related to spacing, margins, word choice, etc. While it provides a general overview of APA references, it does not provide instructions for how to cite in APA format.

For step-by-step instructions for citing books, journals, how to cite a website in APA format, information on an APA format bibliography, and more, refer to these other EasyBib guides:

Or, you can use our automatic generator. Our APA formatter helps to build your references for you. Yep, you read that correctly.

Writing and Organizing Your APA Paper in an Effective Way

This section of our guide focuses on proper paper length, how to format headings, spacing, and more! This information can be found in Chapter 2 of the official manual (American Psychological Association, 2020, pp. 29-67).

Categories of papers

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details related to APA research paper format, first determine the type of paper you’re about to embark on creating:

Empirical studies

Empirical studies take data from observations and experiments to generate research reports. It is different from other types of studies in that it isn’t based on theories or ideas, but on actual data.

Literature reviews

These papers analyze another individual’s work or a group of works. The purpose is to gather information about a current issue or problem and to communicate where we are today. It sheds light on issues and attempts to fill those gaps with suggestions for future research and methods.

Theoretical articles

These papers are somewhat similar to a literature reviews in that the author collects, examines, and shares information about a current issue or problem, by using others’ research. It is different from literature reviews in that it attempts to explain or solve a problem by coming up with a new theory. This theory is justified with valid evidence.

Methodological articles

These articles showcase new advances, or modifications to an existing practice, in a scientific method or procedure. The author has data or documentation to prove that their new method, or improvement to a method, is valid. Plenty of evidence is included in this type of article. In addition, the author explains the current method being used in addition to their own findings, in order to allow the reader to understand and modify their own current practices.

Case studies

Case studies present information related an individual, group, or larger set of individuals. These subjects are analyzed for a specific reason and the author reports on the method and conclusions from their study. The author may also make suggestions for future research, create possible theories, and/or determine a solution to a problem.

Since APA style format is used often in science fields, the belief is “less is more.” Make sure you’re able to get your points across in a clear and brief way. Be direct, clear, and professional. Try not to add fluff and unnecessary details into your paper or writing.  This will keep the paper length shorter and more concise.

Margin sizes in APA Format

When it comes to margins, keep them consistent across the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. All four sides should be the same distance from the edge of the paper. It’s recommended to use at least one-inch margins around each side. It’s acceptable to use larger margins, but the margins should never be smaller than an inch.

Title pages in APA Format

The title page, or APA format cover page, is the first page of a paper or essay. Some teachers and professors do not require a title page, but some do. If you’re not sure if you should include one or not, ask your teacher. Some appreciate the page, which clearly displays the writer’s name and the title of the paper.

The APA format title page for student papers includes six main components:

Title pages for professional papers  also require a running head; student papers do not.

Some instructors and professional publications also ask for an author’s note. If you’re required or would like to include an author’s note, place it below the institutional affiliation. Examples of information included in an author’s note include an ORCID iD number, a disclosure, and an acknowledgement.

Here are key guidelines to developing your title page:

In a hurry? Try the  EasyBib title page maker to easily create a title page for free.

format for apa essay

Sample of an APA format title page for a student paper:

APA-format-student-title-page

Sample of title page for a professional paper:

APA-format-professional-title-page

Running heads in APA Format

The 7th edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual (p. 37) states that running heads are not required for student papers unless requested by the instructor. Student papers still need a page number included in the upper right-hand corner of every page. The 6th edition required a running head for student papers, so be sure to confirm with your instructor which edition you should follow. Of note, this guide follows the 7th edition.

Running heads are required for professional papers (e.g., manuscripts submitted for publication). Read on for instructions on how to create them.

Are you wondering what is a “running head”? It’s basically a page header at the top of every page. To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page. You may want to look for “Header” in the features.

A running head/page header includes two pieces:

Insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the APA format paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of the page numbers).

For all pages of the paper, including the APA format title page, include the “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left in capital letters (i.e., the running head). If your full title is long (over 50 characters), the running head title should be a shortened version.

APA format running head

Preparing outlines in APA Format

Outlines are extremely beneficial as they help writers stay organized, determine the scope of the research that needs to be included, and establish headings and subheadings.

There isn’t an official or recommended “APA format for outline” structure. It is up to the writer (if they choose to make use of an outline) to determine how to organize it and the characters to include. Some writers use a mix of roman numerals, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.

Even though there isn’t a required or recommended APA format for an outline, we encourage writers to make use of one. Who wouldn’t want to put together a rough outline of their project? We promise you, an outline will help you stay on track.

Here’s our version of how APA format for outlines could look:

format for apa essay

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for information on APA citation format and other related topics, check out our other comprehensive guides.

How to form an abstract in APA

An APA format abstract (p. 38) is a summary of a scholarly article or scientific study. Scholarly articles and studies are rather lengthy documents, and abstracts allow readers to first determine if they’d like to read an article in its entirety or not.

You may come across abstracts while researching a topic. Many databases display abstracts in the search results and often display them before showing the full text of an article or scientific study. It is important to create a high quality abstract that accurately communicates the purpose and goal of your paper, as readers will determine if it is worthy to continue reading or not.

Are you wondering if you need to create an abstract for your assignment? Usually, student papers do not require an abstract. Abstracts are not typically seen in class assignments, and are usually only included when submitting a paper for publication. Unless your teacher or professor asked for it, you probably don’t need to have one for your class assignment.

If you’re planning on submitting your paper to a journal for publication, first check the journal’s website to learn about abstract and APA paper format requirements.

Here are some helpful suggestions to create a dynamic abstract:

APA format example page:

Example APA abstract

Here’s an example of an abstract:

Visual design is a critical aspect of any web page or user interface, and its impact on a user’s experience has been studied extensively. Research has shown a positive correlation between a user’s perceived usability and a user’s assessment of visual design. Additionally, perceived web quality, which encompasses visual design, has a positive relationship with both initial and continued consumer purchase intention. However, visual design is often assessed using self-report scale, which are vulnerable to a few pitfalls. Because self-report questionnaires are often reliant on introspection and honesty, it is difficult to confidently rely on self-report questionnaires to make important decisions. This study aims to ensure the validity of a visual design assessment instrument (Visual Aesthetics of Websites Inventory: Short version) by examining its relationship with biometric (variables), like galvanic skin response, pupillometry, and fixation information. Our study looked at participants assessment of a webpage’s visual design, and compared it to their biometric responses while viewing the webpage. Overall, we found that both average fixation duration and pupil dilation differed when participants viewed web pages with lower visual design ratings compared to web pages with a higher visual design rating.

Keywords : usability, visual design, websites, eye tracking, pupillometry, self-report, VisAWI

The body of an APA paper

On the page after the title page (if a student paper) or the abstract (if a professional paper), begin with the body of the paper.

Most papers follow this format:

Sample body for a student paper:

example APA paper body

Most scientific or professional papers have additional sections and guidelines:

Sample body for a professional paper:

example apa format professional paper body

Keep in mind, APA citation format is much easier than you think, thanks to EasyBib.com. Try our automatic generator and watch how we create APA citation format references for you in just a few clicks. While you’re at it, take a peek at our other helpful guides, such as our APA reference page guide, to make sure you’re on track with your research papers.

Proper usage of headings & subheadings in APA Format

Headings (p. 47) serve an important purpose in research papers — they organize your paper and make it simple to locate different pieces of information. In addition, headings provide readers with a glimpse to the main idea, or content, they are about to read.

In APA format, there are five levels of headings, each with a different formatting:

Following general formatting rules, all headings are double spaced and there are no extra lines or spaces between sections.

Here is a visual APA format template for levels of headings:

example apa format headings

Use of graphics (tables and figures) in APA Format

If you’re looking to jazz up your project with any charts, tables, drawings, or images, there are certain APA format rules (pp. 195-250) to follow.

First and foremost, the only reason why any graphics should be added is to provide the reader with an easier way to see or read information, rather than typing it all out in the text.

Lots of numbers to discuss? Try organizing your information into a chart or table. Pie charts, bar graphs, coordinate planes, and line graphs are just a few ways to show numerical data, relationships between numbers, and many other types of information.

Instead of typing out long, drawn out descriptions, create a drawing or image. Many visual learners would appreciate the ability to look at an image to make sense of information.

Before you go ahead and place that graphic in your paper, here are a few key guidelines:

In our APA format sample paper , you’ll find examples of tables after the references. You may also place tables and figures within the text just after it is mentioned.

Is there anything better than seeing a neatly organized data table? We think not! If you have tons of numbers or data to share, consider creating a table instead of typing out a wordy paragraph. Tables are pretty easy to whip up on Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

General format of a table should be:

Here’s an APA format example of a table:

example apa format table

We know putting together a table is pretty tricky. That’s why we’ve included not one, but a few tables on this page. Scroll down and look at the additional tables in the essay in APA format example found below.

Figures represent information in a visual way. They differ from tables in that they are visually appealing. Sure, tables, like the one above, can be visually appealing, but it’s the color, circles, arrows, boxes, or icons included that make a figure a “figure.”

There are many commonly used figures in papers. Examples APA Format:

General format of a figure is the same as tables. This means each should include:

Use the same formatting tables use for the number, title, and note.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when it comes to APA format for figures:

APA format sample of a figure:

example apa format figure

Photographs:

We live in a world where we have tons of photographs available at our fingertips.

Photographs found through Google Images, social media, stock photos made available from subscription sites, and tons of other various online sources make obtaining photographs a breeze. We can even pull out our cell phones, and in just a few seconds, take pictures with our cameras.

Photographs are simple to find, and because of this, many students enjoy using them in their papers.

If you have a photograph you would like to include in your project, here are some guidelines from the American Psychological Association.

B. Writing Style Tips

Writing a paper for scientific topics is much different than writing for English, literature, and other composition classes. Science papers are much more direct, clear, and concise. This section includes key suggestions, explains how to write in APA format, and includes other tidbits to keep in mind while formulating your research paper.

Verb usage in APA

Research experiments and observations rely on the creation and analysis of data to test hypotheses and come to conclusions. While sharing and explaining the methods and results of studies, science writers often use verbs.

When using verbs in writing, make sure that you continue to use them in the same tense throughout the section you’re writing. Further details are in the publication manual (p. 117).

Here’s an APA format example:

We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants.

It wouldn’t make sense to add this sentence after the one above:

We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants. Researchers often test solutions by placing them under a microscope.

Notice that the first sentence is in the past tense while the second sentence is in the present tense. This can be confusing for readers.

For verbs in scientific papers, the APA manual recommends using:

If this is all a bit much, and you’re simply looking for help with your references, try the EasyBib.com APA format generator . Our APA formatter creates your references in just a few clicks. APA citation format is easier than you think thanks to our innovative, automatic tool.

Even though your writing will not have the same fluff and detail as other forms of writing, it should not be boring or dull to read. The Publication Manual suggests thinking about who will be the main reader of your work and to write in a way that educates them.

How to reduce bias & labels

The American Psychological Association strongly objects to any bias towards gender, racial groups, ages of individuals or subjects, disabilities, and sexual orientation (pp. 131-149). If you’re unsure whether your writing is free of bias and labels or not, have a few individuals read your work to determine if it’s acceptable.

Here are a few guidelines that the American Psychological Association suggests :

Read through our example essay in APA format, found in section D, to see how we’ve reduced bias and labels.

Spelling in APA Format

Thanks to helpful tools and features, such as the spell checker, in word processing programs, most of us think we have everything we need right in our document. However, quite a few helpful features are found elsewhere.

Where can you find a full grammar editor? Right here, on EasyBib.com. The EasyBib Plus paper checker scans your paper for spelling, but also for any conjunction , determiner, or adverb out of place. Try it out and unlock the magic of an edited paper.

Abbreviation do’s and don’ts in APA Format

Abbreviations can be tricky. You may be asking yourself, “Do I include periods between the letters?” “Are all letters capitalized?” “Do I need to write out the full name each and every time?” Not to worry, we’re breaking down the publication manual’s abbreviations (p. 172) for you here.

First and foremost, use abbreviations sparingly.

Too many and you’re left with a paper littered with capital letters mashed together. Plus, they don’t lend themselves to smooth and easy reading. Readers need to pause and comprehend the meaning of abbreviations and quite often stumble over them.

Punctuation in APA Format

One space after most punctuation marks.

The manual recommends using one space after most punctuation marks, including punctuation at the end of a sentence (p. 154). It doesn’t hurt to double check with your teacher or professor to ask their preference since this rule was changed recently (in 2020).

The official APA format book was primarily created to aid individuals with submitting their paper for publication in a professional journal. Many schools adopt certain parts of the handbook and modify sections to match their preference. To see an example of an APA format research paper, with the spacing we believe is most commonly and acceptable to use, scroll down and see section D.

For more information related to the handbook, including frequently asked questions, and more, here’s further reading on the style

It’s often a heated debate among writers whether or not to use an Oxford comma (p. 155), but for this style, always use an Oxford comma. This type of comma is placed before the words AND and OR or in a series of three items.

Example of APA format for commas: The medication caused drowsiness, upset stomach, and fatigue.

Here’s another example: The subjects chose between cold, room temperature, or warm water.

Apostrophes

When writing a possessive singular noun, you should place the apostrophe before the s. For possessive plural nouns, the apostrophe is placed after the s.

Em dashes (long dash) are used to bring focus to a particular point or an aside. There are no spaces after these dashes (p. 157).

Use en dashes (short dash) in compound adjectives. Do not place a space before or after the dash. Here are a few examples:

Number rules in APA Format

Science papers often include the use of numbers, usually displayed in data, tables, and experiment information. The golden rule to keep in mind is that numbers less than 10 are written out in text. If the number is more than 10, use numerals.

APA format examples:

The golden rule for numbers has exceptions.

In APA formatting, use numerals if you are:

Use numbers written out as words if you are:

Other APA formatting number rules to keep in mind:

Additional number rules can be found in the publication manual (p. 178)

Need help with other writing topics? Our plagiarism checker is a great resource for anyone looking for writing help. Say goodbye to an out of place noun , preposition , or adjective, and hello to a fully edited paper.

Overview of APA references

While writing a research paper, it is always important to give credit and cite your sources; this lets you acknowledge others’ ideas and research you’ve used in your own work. Not doing so can be considered plagiarism , possibly leading to a failed grade or loss of a job.

APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles used to prevent plagiarism. Here’s more on crediting sources . Let’s get this statement out of the way before you become confused: An APA format reference and an APA format citation are two different things! We understand that many teachers and professors use the terms as if they’re synonyms, but according to this specific style, they are two separate things, with different purposes, and styled differently.

A reference displays all of the information about the source — the title, the author’s name, the year it was published, the URL, all of it! References are placed on the final page of a research project.

Here’s an example of a reference:

Wynne-Jones, T. (2015). The emperor of any place . Candlewick Press.

An APA format citation is an APA format in-text citation. These are found within your paper, anytime a quote or paraphrase is included. They usually only include the name of the author and the date the source was published.

Here’s an example of one:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is even discussed in the book, The Emperor of Any Place . The main character, Evan, finds a mysterious diary on his father’s desk (the same desk his father died on, after suffering from a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy attack). Evan unlocks the truth to his father and grandfather’s past (Wynne-Jones, 2015).

Both of the ways to credit another individual’s work — in the text of a paper and also on the final page — are key to preventing plagiarism. A writer must use both types in a paper. If you cite something in the text, it must have a full reference on the final page of the project. Where there is one, there must be the other!

Now that you understand that, here’s some basic info regarding APA format references (pp. 281-309).

Author’s Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Title of source . URL.

Again, as stated in the above paragraph, you must look up the specific source type you’re using to find out the placement of the title, author’s name, year published, etc.

For more information on APA format for sources and how to reference specific types of sources, use the other guides on EasyBib.com. Here’s another useful site .

Looking for a full visual of a page of references? Scroll down and take a peek at our APA format essay example towards the bottom of this page. You’ll see a list of references and you can gain a sense of how they look.

Bonus: here’s a link to more about the fundamentals related to this particular style. If you want to brush up or catch up on the Modern Language Association’s style, here’s a great resource on how to cite websites in MLA .

In-text APA citation format

Did you find the perfect quote or piece of information to include in your project? Way to go! It’s always a nice feeling when we find that magical piece of data or info to include in our writing. You probably already know that you can’t just copy and paste it into your project, or type it in, without also providing credit to the original author.

Displaying where the original information came from is much easier than you think.Directly next to the quote or information you included, place the author’s name and the year nearby. This allows the reader of your work to see where the information originated.

APA allows for the use of two different forms of in-text citation, parenthetical and narrative Both forms of citation require two elements:

The only difference is the way that this information is presented to the reader.

Parenthetical citations are the more commonly seen form of in-text citations for academic work, in which both required reference elements are presented at the end of the sentence in parentheses. Example:

Harlem had many artists and musicians in the late 1920s (Belafonte, 2008).

Narrative citations allow the author to present one or both of the required reference elements inside of the running sentence, which prevents the text from being too repetitive or burdensome. When only one of the two reference elements is included in the sentence, the other is provided parenthetically. Example:

According to Belafonte (2008), Harlem was full of artists and musicians in the late 1920s.

If there are two authors listed in the source entry, then the parenthetical reference must list them both:

(Smith & Belafonte, 2008)

If there are three or more authors listed in the source entry, then the parenthetical reference can abbreviate with “et al.”, the latin abbreviation for “and others”:

(Smith et al., 2008)

The author’s names are structured differently if there is more than one author. Things will also look different if there isn’t an author at all (which is sometimes the case with website pages). For more information on APA citation format, check out this page on the topic: APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation . There is also more information in the official manual in chapter 8.

If it’s MLA in-text and parenthetical citations you’re looking for, we’ve got your covered there too! You might want to also check out his guide on parenthetical citing .

Would you benefit from having a tool that helps you easily generate citations that are in the text? Check out EasyBib Plus!

format for apa essay

References page in APA Format

An APA format reference page is easier to create than you probably think. We go into detail on how to create this page on our APA reference page . We also have a guide for how to create an annotated bibliography in APA . But, if you’re simply looking for a brief overview of the reference page, we’ve got you covered here.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when it comes to the references page in APA format:

Sample reference page for a student paper:

Here’s another friendly reminder to use the EasyBib APA format generator (that comes with EasyBib Plus) to quickly and easily develop every single one of your references for you. Try it out! Our APA formatter is easy to use and ready to use 24/7.

Final APA Format Checklist

Prior to submitting your paper, check to make sure you have everything you need and everything in its place:

Submitting Your APA Paper

Congratulations for making it this far! You’ve put a lot of effort into writing your paper and making sure the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted. If you’re planning to submit your paper for a school assignment, make sure you review your teacher or professor’s procedures.

If you’re submitting your paper to a journal, you probably need to include a cover letter.

Most cover letters ask you to include:

Once again, review the specific journal’s website for exact specifications for submission.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking you’re ready to hit send or print and submit your assignment. Can we offer one last suggestion? We promise it will only take a minute.

Consider running your paper through our handy dandy paper checker. It’s pretty simple.

Copy and paste or upload your paper into our checker. Within a minute, we’ll provide feedback on your spelling and grammar. If there’s a pronoun , interjection , or verb out of place, we’ll highlight it and offer suggestions for improvement. We’ll even take it a step further and point out any instances of possible plagiarism.

If it sounds too good to be true, then head on over to our innovative tool and give it a whirl. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

What is APA Format?

APA stands for the American Psychological Association . In this guide, you’ll find information related to “What is APA format?” in relation to writing and organizing your paper according to the American Psychological Association’s standards. Information on how to cite sources can be found on our APA citation page. The official American Psychological Association handbook was used as a reference for our guide and we’ve included page numbers from the manual throughout. However, this page is not associated with the association.

You’ll most likely use APA format if your paper is on a scientific topic. Many behavioral and social sciences use this organization’s standards and guidelines.

What are behavioral sciences? Behavioral sciences study human and animal behavior. They can include:

What are social sciences? Social sciences focus on one specific aspect of human behavior, specifically social and cultural relationships. Social sciences can include:

What’s New in the 7th Edition?

This citation style was created by the American Psychological Association. Its rules and guidelines can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . The information provided in the guide above follows the 6th edition (2009) of the manual. The 7th edition was published in 2020 and is the most recent version.

The 7th edition of the Publication Manual is in full color and includes 12 sections (compared to 8 sections in the 6th edition). In general, this new edition differentiates between professional and student papers, includes guidance with accessibility in mind, provides new examples to follow, and has updated guidelines.We’ve selected a few notable updates below, but for a full view of all of the 7th edition changes visit the style’s website linked here .

New citing information . There is new guidance on citing classroom or intranet resources, and oral traditions or traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) (2020). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

apa format

Published October 31, 2011. Updated May 14, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

Citation Examples

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We should not use “et al.” in APA reference list entries. If the number of authors in the source is up to and including 20, list all author names and use an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name. If the number of authors is more than 20, list the first 19 authors’ names followed by an ellipsis (but no ampersand), and then add the final author’s name. An example of author names in a reference entry having more than 20 authors is given below:

Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M., Author Surname3, F. M., Author Surname4, F. M., Author Surname5, F. M., Author Surname6, F. M., Author Surname7, F. M., Author Surname8, F. M., Author Surname9, F. M., Author Surname10, F. M., Author Surname11, F. M., Author Surname12, F. M., Author Surname13, F. M., Author Surname14, F. M., Author Surname15, F. M., Author Surname16, F. M., Author Surname17, F. M., Author Surname18, F. M., Author Surname19, F. M., . . .  Last Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year).

Alvarez, L. D., Peach, J. L., Rodriguez, J. F., Donald, L., Thomas, M., Aruck, A., Samy, K., Anthony, K., Ajey, M., Rodriguez, K. L., Katherine, K., Vincent, A., Pater, F., Somu, P., Pander, L., Berd, R., Fox, L., Anders, A., Kamala, W., . . . Nicole Jones, K. (2019).

Note that, unlike references with 2 to 20 author names, the symbol “&” is not used here before the last author’s name.

APA 7, released in October 2019, has some new updates. Here is a brief description of the updates made in APA 7.

Different types of papers and best practices are given in detail in Chapter 1.

How to format a student title page is explained in Chapter 2. Examples of a professional paper and a student paper are included.

Chapter 3 provides additional information on qualitative and mixed methods of research.

An update on writing style is included in Chapter 4.

In chapter 5, some best practices for writing with bias-free language are included.

Chapter 6 gives some updates on style elements including using a single space after a period, including a citation with an abbreviation, the treatment of numbers in abstracts, treatment for different types of lists, and the formatting of gene and protein names.

In Chapter 7, additional examples are given for tables and figures for different types of publications.

In Chapter 8, how to format quotations and how to paraphrase text are covered with additional examples. A simplified version of in-text citations is clearly illustrated.

Chapter 9 has many updates: listing all author names up to 20 authors, standardizing DOIs and URLs, and the formatting of an annotated bibliography.

Chapter 10 includes many examples with templates for all reference types. New rules covering the inclusion of the issue number for journals and the omission of publisher location from book references are provided. Explanations of how to cite YouTube videos, power point slides, and TED talks are included.

Chapter 11 includes many legal references for easy understanding.

Chapter 12 provides advice for authors on how to promote their papers.

For more information on some of the changes found in APA 7, check out this EasyBib article .

APA Citation Examples

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format for apa essay

Writing a research or term paper in APA format? This starter APA format template for Word provides easy access to styles that match APA guidelines. Follow the correct APA format for a paper using this example of APA format as a guideline to help you create an amazing research paper, term paper, essay, and more. This is an accessible template.

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Essay Writing

format for apa essay

The Essay Format (APA)

Introduction

Formatting your essay has gotten a lot easier with the 7th edition of the APA style guide. No longer do students have to provide a running head or an abstract (unless your instructor asks for it). The result is a more streamlined essay format, so that with just a little bit of attention to the details you can be off to the races!

Note: All detailed instructions refer to Microsoft Word. If you’re using a different word processor, you may have to look for an equivalent setting.

Essay Components

An APA paper has three parts:

If your instructor would like an abstract, you can insert it after the title page. It’s best to separate each section with a page break (Insert > Page Break).

You have some options when it comes to choosing a font. Here are some acceptable choices:

Whichever one you choose, make sure you use it throughout your entire essay. Footnotes are typically in size 10 font, and for captions to tables and figures please use a font size between 8 and 14.

Since 2007, the default margin for any Word document has been 1 inch all around. Fortunately, APA format has the same requirement. If for some reason you need to fix the margins, go to Page Layout > Margins > Normal.

All the text in your essay should be double-spaced. To make this change quickly, first press Ctrl + A to highlight all text and then press Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing (symbol) > 2.0. Make sure you also click on “Remove Space After Paragraph.” There’s no need to provide extra spaces between paragraphs or around headings.

Let’s look at the basic layout of an APA title page:

Let’s break down what goes into making a great title page. The first thing you’ll want to do is add a page number in the top right hand corner (Insert > Page Number > Plain #3).

The title of your essay should be about 3-4 double-spaced lines from the top of the page. The text should be centered and in bold font. If your title is quite long, you can split it across two lines (in such cases press Enter after the colon if you’re using a subtitle). Make sure that you capitalize important words, but not prepositions and articles.

Double space all the text on your title page and add an extra space after the title. Then provide your name, the department, course, instructor, and date. Centre all this information and don’t use bold font. The date can be formatted in different ways, but the preference is to spell out the month in full.

If you have co-written an essay, list both authors on the same line, separated by “and.” For 3+ authors, separate the names with a comma and add “and” before the final name.

For student papers, the abstract (max: 250 words) is entirely optional. However, if your instructor does require a summary of your paper, then place the abstract on its own page, right after the title page. Centre the word “Abstract” in bold font and left-align the actual summary. Use a single paragraph and don’t indent the first line.

Essay Start Page

Your essay really begins on the third page. Your title should be in bold font, centered, with key words capitalized:

Note too that (unlike in the abstract) the first line of each paragraph is indented one tab space.

References List

Finally, don’t forget to cite your sources:

For more details, please visit our page on  formatting the reference list .

Section Headings

APA papers are often divided into sections. If you’d like to organize your material with headings, you can choose from a number of different headings. Start by using first level headings and use the others for sub-headings:

First Level Heading (Bold, Centered)

Second Level Heading (Bold, Left Aligned)

Third Level Heading (Bold Italic, Left Aligned)

Fourth Level Heading (Bold, Indented, Ending with a Period).

Fifth Level Heading (Bold Italic, Indented, Ending with a Period).

As you can see, you don’t have to use some complex numbering system (e.g., 3.2.1b) to organize your ideas. The formatting of the heading does the trick.

Finally, don’t add a sub-heading (e.g., Introduction) between the essay title and the first paragraph. Also, don’t forget to capitalize important words in each heading (what’s called title case).

APA Essay Template

Make your life a little easier by downloading one of our APA templates. Enjoy!

APA Essay Template (Without Abstract or Running Head)

APA Essay Template (With Optional Running Head and Abstract)

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APA In-Text Citations and Sample Essay 7th Edition

This handout focuses on how to format in-text citations in APA.

Proper citation of sources is a two-part process . You must first cite each source in the body of your essay; these citations within the essay are called in-text citations . You MUST cite all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized words, ideas, and facts from sources. Without in-text citations, you are technically in danger of plagiarism, even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay.

In-text citations point the reader to the sources’ information on the references page. The in-text citation typically includes the author's last name and the year of publication. If you use a direct quote, the page number is also provided.

More information can be found on p. 253 of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Citation Rules

Direct quotation with the author named in the text.

Heinze and Lu (2017) stated, “The NFL shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly as the field itself evolved” (p. 509).

Note: The year of publication is listed in parenthesis after the names of the authors, and the page number is listed in parenthesis at the end of the quote.

Direct Quotation without the Author Named in the Text

As the NFL developed as an organization, it “shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly” (Heinze & Lu, 2017, p. 509).

Note: At the end of the quote, the names of the authors, year of publication, and page number are listed in parenthesis.

Paraphrase with 1-2 Authors

As the NFL developed as an organization, its reactions toward concussions also transformed (Heinze & Lu, 2017).

Note: For paraphrases, page numbers are encouraged but not required.

Paraphrase with 3 or More Authors

To work toward solving the issue of violence in prisons begins with determining aspects that might connect with prisoners' violent conduct (Thomson et al., 2019).

Direct Quotation without an Author

The findings were astonishing "in a recent study of parent and adult child relationships" ("Parents and Their Children," 2007, p. 2).

Note: Since the author of the text is not stated, a shortened version of the title is used instead.

Secondary Sources

When using secondary sources, use the phrase "as cited in" and cite the secondary source on the References page.

In 1936, Keynes said, “governments should run deficits when the economy is slow to avoid unemployment” (as cited in Richardson, 2008, p. 257).

Long (Block) Quotations

When using direct quotations of 40 or more words, indent five spaces from the left margin without using quotation marks. The final period should come before the parenthetical citation.

At Meramec, an English department policy states:

To honor and protect their own work and that of others, all students must give credit to proprietary sources that are used for course work. It is assumed that any information that is not documented is either common knowledge in that field or the original work of that student. (St. Louis Community College, 2001, p. 1)

Website Citations

If citing a specific web document without a page number, include the name of the author, date, title of the section, and paragraph number in parentheses:

In America, “Two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash” (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2004, Overview section, para. 1).

Here is a print-friendly version of this content.

Learn more about the APA References page by reviewing this handout .

For information on STLCC's academic integrity policy, check out this webpage .

For additional information on APA, check out STLCC's LibGuide on APA .

Sample Essay

A sample APA essay is available at this link .

Academic Writing Style Guide: How to Format an APA Paper

format for apa essay

What is “Referencing Style” and Why You Need It?

Good academic writing involves proper formatting and citing of the works and thoughts of other reputable authors and researchers. In order to do that, a specific style of referencing is assigned that should be followed consistently throughout the whole academic paper. This style then defines the format for other components of the text. Every student knows that proper academic referencing is the key to obtaining a high grade for a paper or an essay.

APA style format was developed by the American Psychological Association and it is one of the academic referencing styles — along with MLA, Vancouver, and Chicago/Turabian styles. It is also known as the “author-date” system, meaning that the APA format guide requires a brief reference to the author and the date of publication to be included in the main body of the text, and also the full reference list at the end.

This article from our admission essay writing services team contains a wide array of information and tips that answer the question “What is APA format?”. However, as a student, you should always follow the requirements provided by the school/professor and not hesitate to ask for specific citing instructions before starting to write your essay.

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Everything You Need to Know About APA Format

First of all, APA writing format is not something that has been set in stone for ages – it is a current referencing style that is being constantly updated by the American Psychological Association. The most recent requirements can be found in the 6th edition of the APA's Publication Manual.

The requirement of what referencing style to use is often attributed by a specific discipline. APA paper format is commonly used for subjects such as Psychology, Social Sciences, Education, Economics, and Business studies.

Another question every student keeps asking while struggling to come to terms with his or her APA format essay is: why do people use referencing styles at all? There are at least three reasons why your professors require you to use the APA referencing guide:

1. To make your work more presentable. Can you sense how all the articles you read for class have a professional and serious tone when they cite all their references and give credit to ideas published by previous authors? That’s exactly the kind of professionalism your essay will acquire when you engage with literature and use a defined referencing style.

2. To speak the same language as your reader. APA citation format allows you to save your word count and communicate what sources you used for the essay by using special formats for journals, books, or online articles.

3. To avoid being penalized for plagiarism. When a student cites an author or uses ideas that were developed by another scholar, he or she must give credit to that person. Otherwise, those essay parts will be marked as plagiarism and the grade will be substantially reduced. Some school penalties for plagiarism go as far as reducing the grade by 50%, or even failing you from the course — thus, giving you no credit. If you are struggling with the uniqueness of the article, you can buy essay writing at our service.

As you can see, avoiding plagiarism penalties and supporting essay arguments with references to credible sources are the key benefits a student will get once he or she learns how to write a paper in APA format.

General APA Format Rules: From Formatting to Making Proper References

The basics of APA formatting include giving the paper a proper look so that your professor is impressed at first sight. After reading hundreds of papers throughout their careers, professors can recognize it when the APA format is not followed properly. That’s why it is of crucial importance to make sure you follow the requirements for line spacing, page margins, font sizes, and APA format headings.

First of all, the text should be typed double-spaced with sufficient margins on each side of the page (at least 1 inch or more). Wide margins are important for professors to make notes and leave feedback while reading the paper. The preferred font is Times New Roman in size 12.

The APA outline format, or, in other words, the structure of any academic paper, should include these main parts:

The topics and individual university requirements will affect what sections should be present in the essay or paper. The sections will also be affected by the arguments that a student wants to make in the essay and how these are developed in the main body of the text. But, not a single APA format essay can be written without these five crucial components. We will now examine the requirements for each of these parts in more detail.

format for apa essay

Cover Page for an APA Style Essay

The cover page is the “face” of an essay or a paper and it is the first thing that the examiner or reader will see. It has to be impeccable. Some universities or colleges will have their own sample title page (or cover page) that should be added to each essay submission. Make sure to clarify this with your department before submitting your essay.

Normally, an APA format cover page is expected to include a running head, title of the essay or paper, name of the person who submitted the work, institution to which the work was submitted, and a page number.

apa-title-page

What is the Running Head and Where Should It Be Included in an APA Style Essay?

Very often, colleges or universities require each page to have a running head (or page header) which includes certain information. The running head contains the title of the paper, and is also supposed to be present on the title page — a mistake many beginner students make all too often is omitting it.

Just like with everything in academic writing, knowing how to make the text shorter is a golden talent. The same applies to the APA format running head: it should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces). That’s why authors (e.g. persuasive essay writer ) often take their time to come up with shortened versions of their titles specifically for their page headers.

Do You Need Some Help With Formatting Your APA paper?

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Different Levels of APA Headings and Subheadings

The APA heading format requires a clear division of the text into logical parts that are separated among each other with headings. Normally, there are 5 format types for headings, whereas the author uses the same heading styles to paragraphs with equal importance.

The subheadings help the writer to logically divide one section into subsections. For example, in a section about the possible consequences of performance-based management, subsections can present the benefits and costs of such an approach.

Tips for Using Heading Levels When Writing an APA Essay

Heading levels are the navigation signs that help guide the reader through the text. They denote when an important chapter begins and when an additional idea is added to the same argument that was announced in the previous heading. The general rule is that there are no requirements to use all five styles of headings. The author should only use headings for the sections present in his or her text. Here is how the different levels of headings and their formats look like.

Some Examples for APA Headings

Assuming this article is an academic text for the principles of APA usage in colleges and universities, here is what APA format headings would look like in this context.

Preparing a Proper APA Outline

The outline is a short structure of the text that serves two purposes:

Writing outlines is a life-saving skill for beginner writers – they help keep thoughts organized and guide the mind through a defined roadmap, decreasing the chance of becoming lost in one’s thoughts or endless research. So, if we were to prepare an outline for this article, it would look like this.

After developing the outline, it becomes clear what the author has to cover in the readings, or preparatory materials, for writing the article. Once the text is ready, the outline then serves as a guide for the reader to show which sections the text will cover.

What Is a Good Abstract in APA format?

The abstract is a very condensed and informative paragraph that contains the main information the reader should know about the text before even reading it. Writing abstracts is an art on its own. In a short abstract that is just 200 words (or more if the text is longer — usually it's about 10% of the essay word count), a writer should clearly state the main idea of the text, its objectives, research question, methods, and key conclusions.

In terms of formatting, the abstract is formatted as a separate part of the text that stands out both contextually and visually from the rest of the main text. Usually, it is written in plain text, with no formatting and a simple "Abstract" title on the top. In the end, many scholars like to put a couple of keywords that identify the essence of the paper’s content.

Writing the Main Section of the Text in APA Format

The main section is the juice of the article. It contains all the thoughts, ideas, and arguments of the writer. It follows right after the abstract page, and has a running head on top with a shortened title written in capital letters. Each page should be numbered, with the abstract page being page 2 (the title page is counted as page 1, but the number doesn’t appear there).

The main body is broken down into a couple of sections. The main ones are the introduction, methods, arguments/discussions, and conclusions. Depending on the department or subject requirements, the arguments also have specific sections – always remember to check with the professor about what should be covered in the main body of the text. For example, for a policy report, the arguments should include a framework review, an analysis of the organization or policy challenges, and recommendations based on the academic literature.

Each section (methods, conclusions, and discussions) should begin with a new paragraph and have a title. It can be something as simple as “Methodology”, or something more elaborative like “Results of Analysis How Sanitation Affects Literacy”. Discussions or arguments should be the largest part of the text, that is why the main body is often divided into subsections – to present and elaborate on results in a structured manner.

Depending on the area and specific requirements put forth by the course, here are two APA main body examples in terms of what sections they should cover.

APA main body example 1: quantitative discipline/research results

‍ Introduction: higher contraceptive prevalence is known to reduce HIV Methods: regression analysis of HIV and contraception prevalence in lower middle-income countries Results: statistically significant negative effect of contraception on HIV Discussion: Why contraception lowers HIV; In what conditions it works better/worse; Case study Conclusion: use of contraception can reduce HIV in countries where current contraceptive prevalence is lower than 20%

APA main body example 2: political science policy report

‍ ‍ Introduction: high alcohol consumption is a threat to public health Framework for analysis: a review of different country policies to lower alcohol consumption Application of framework: Which policy can work best for country X and why; Context of country X; Benefits of using approaches A, B, C; Costs of using approaches A, B, C Recommendations: given country’s X political situation and national economic status, it can employ approach A to reduce alcohol consumption Conclusion: country X should consider doing A and expect the following results within 5 years

You might also be interested in reading Beowulf summary essay .

Detailed Video Guide

If you percept visual information better, watch the detailed video guide on APA formatting and citation below:

Examples of Essays in APA Style

Below are real examples of some essays formatted according to APA style requirements that can serve as a good basis for you to start writing your own essay. These samples were written by our service according to the specific requirements provided by their corresponding professors or universities and can differ in some ways from what is required from you. So, don’t forget to check with the department or course convener for specific details for the paper that you are expected to produce.

Read also our process analysis essay outline . It can broaden your understanding in writing the essay.

Need Help with APA Formatting?

This article outlines all the key principles of APA style for academic writing. However, writing is a practical skill that doesn’t improve solely by reading about it – it only improves with practice. If you don’t feel like a pro in essay writing yet and the deadline is fast approaching, have no worries. Our essay service will make sure that the results meet all the stylistic requirements.

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Imagine that you have received another assignment where they ask you to use a specific referencing style. It may also be called a citation format, whatever. You're shaking in your boots, having no idea how to format your paper. Perhaps, APA is something that you have never seen before, or you don't want to waste your time on proper formatting. The bad news is that there is no way to ignore formatting requirements if you want a high grade.

The good news is that you can hire an expert to write a paper in APA format. Referencing style is crucial for citing the opinions of other people. Our professional team of writers understands how vital it is to make your paper sound credible to your teacher. Let us tell you a bit more about the importance of citing your papers, APA style, and other services we offer.

When and Why To APA Style?

For most college assignments, you should be ready to include credible information from relevant sources to prove your arguments. However, you cannot simply copy-paste quotations of other people. Inserting the words of others directly into your work is considered plagiarism unless you cite them properly. If you add the quotes correctly, the teacher will not count them when estimating your work's uniqueness.

Students should not hope to trick their professors. Nowadays, all tutors know how to check texts for originality using various online plagiarism-checking tools. They can easily detect whether you copy-pasted anything or did the entire job from scratch. Teachers will count quotations towards plagiarism if you do not manage to cite them according to the recommended formatting style:

The most widespread citation format is MLA, while the second most frequently used style is APA. This abbreviation stands for the American Psychological Association. Teachers assign this format to follow consistently throughout the entire project. Formatting is an integral part of a grading rubric, so you should treat this step seriously if you strive to obtain the best grade. Proper citing weighs approximately 15-20% of the grade for assignments in most cases. The citation format has a direct impact on the structure of your work.

How do you know when to use APA? While MLA is a common way to cite papers in humanities, use APA to format the assignments for social sciences, psychology, political science, education, anthropology, and economics.

Often, this style may be used for other disciplines as well. Once you graduate, you will still need the knowledge of APA. The thing is that, whenever you decide to publish a scientific work, you should cite it before sending it to a university, research center, or editorial. No one will approve your research project or dissertation without facts and statistics from credible, up-to-date sources and correctly inserted citations. It all makes formatting difficult not only for students but also for many scientific writers and journalists. Is there a way out?

How Can You Overcome Problems with Formatting?

As you can see, you may need help with this style at any point in your academic and professional career. We offer to rely on real experts in academic writing who know how to write a paper in APA format better than anyone else does!

Our team is an excellent selection for students who lack the time or dislike specific courses. We have impressive experience writing all kinds of papers and formatting them correctly before submitting them to the customer. We can guarantee that your teachers will grade your papers high after our cooperation. Every essay produced by our writers covers the topic from all possible aspects. Of course, we guarantee correct formatting up to the structure, should it be an APA style paper or PPT presentation. With our samples, you will soon learn how to cite and reference works according to academic standards.

Say, you've got another task for an APA paper and decided to use our help. Once you place an order, share the requirements with that writer, state the deadline and number of sources. When completing your order, the author will stick to the latest guidelines established by the APA's Publication Manual, the sixth edition.

If you tell us, "Write my paper using APA style," we will do it within the shortest time. You will not need to search for an APA style guide on your own and try to memorize the rules. Our experts know them by heart, and they check the American Psychological Association's official site regularly to make sure that there are no new editions or updates.

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APA Formatting Guidelines That Our Writers Follow

As we have admitted, our experts stick to the guidelines from the 6th edition of the APA manual, which is the latest one. They keep this manual with them round-the-clock to ensure that the papers they complete meet all the requirements. We assure you that our team will create your APA style paper this way:

That is how to write a paper in APA format. Sure, many other rules exist, but you should not bother about anything with our professional academic writers by your side. With them, your paper will be correctly formatted with unique content. Our team will make your research paper or essay sound presentable, speak the same language as your audience, and avoid plagiarism penalties. The outcome is always a high score. By the way, we can offer more than paper formatting to you.

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  5. Conventional Language: Sample APA essay with notes

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  6. 005 Essay Example Apa Format 6th Edition Template ~ Thatsnotus

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VIDEO

  1. How to Format Your Paper Into MLA or APA on Your Smartphone

  2. (Lesson 02) APA Referencing and Citation for Article/ Paper #TheRizwanHassan

  3. APA Research Essay Information

  4. How to cite translations in APA format

  5. REFERENCES

  6. How is APA Style for Papers different from the APA Publication Manual 6th Edition (2010)?

COMMENTS

  1. APA format for academic papers and essays

    The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless APA citation Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines: Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides. Double-space all text, including headings. Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.

  2. General Format

    General APA Guidelines Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. Include a page header (also known as the "running head") at the top of every page. For a professional paper, this includes your paper title and the page number.

  3. APA Sample Paper

    APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition) General Format In-Text Citations: The Basics In-Text Citations: Author/Authors Reference List: Basic Rules Reference List: Author/Authors Reference List: Articles in Periodicals Reference List: Books Reference List: Other Print Sources Reference List: Electronic Sources Reference List: Audiovisual Media

  4. Paper format

    To format a paper in APA Style, writers can typically use the default settings and automatic formatting tools of their word-processing program or make only minor adjustments. The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal.

  5. Sample papers

    Qualitative professional paper template (DOCX, 72KB) Quantitative professional paper template (DOCX, 77KB) Review professional paper template (DOCX, 112KB) Sample student paper templates by paper type These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types.

  6. A step-by-step guide for creating and formatting APA Style student papers

    APA Style has two title page formats: student and professional (for details, see title page setup ). Unless instructed otherwise, students should use the student title page format and include the following elements, in the order listed, on the title page: Paper title. Name of each author (also known as the byline). Affiliation for each author.

  7. APA Essay Format: How to Write a Successful APA Essay

    APA Essay Format Basics While the formatting requirements for your paper might vary depending upon your instructor's directions, your essay will most likely need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference sections. Title Page Your essay should have a title page in APA format.

  8. APA Sample Papers

    Our APA format machine can help you create every reference for your paper. Below is an example of a student APA format essay. We also have PDF versions of both a student paper and a professional paper linked below. See Student Paper See Professional Paper 1 Using Biometrics to Evaluate Visual Design Jane Lisa Dekker

  9. Sample Essay APA 6th Edition

    Running head: SAMPLE ESSAY 2 Sample Essay: An Example to Follow Repeat your title at the beginning of your essay. Place a one half inch indent (one tab) at the beginning of each new paragraph. American Psychological Association (APA) format is double spaced lines, one-inch margins, and two spaces between each sentence. This section serves as a ...

  10. APA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    Insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the APA format paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of the page numbers). For all pages of the paper, including the APA format title page, include the "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" justified to the left in capital letters (i.e., the running head).

  11. APA style paper

    APA style paper Writing a research or term paper that needs to be in APA format? Use this APA-style report template to get started, with styles formatted to match APA guidelines and sample content to show how it all goes together. This APA sample paper template will help you finish your APA formatted paper with ease. This is an accessible template.

  12. APA styles

    Writing a research or term paper in APA format? This starter APA format template for Word provides easy access to styles that match APA guidelines. Follow the correct APA format for a paper using this example of APA format as a guideline to help you create an amazing research paper, term paper, essay, and more. This is an accessible template. Word

  13. APA Essay Format

    Formatting your essay has gotten a lot easier with the 7th edition of the APA style guide. No longer do students have to provide a running head or an abstract (unless your instructor asks for it). The result is a more streamlined essay format, so that with just a little bit of attention to the details you can be off to the races!

  14. APA In-Text Citations and Sample Essay 7th Edition

    In-text citations point the reader to the sources' information on the references page. The in-text citation typically includes the author's last name and the year of publication. If you use a direct quote, the page number is also provided. More information can be found on p. 253 of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American ...

  15. How to Format an APA Paper. APA Format Example Inside

    The preferred font is Times New Roman in size 12. The APA outline format, or, in other words, the structure of any academic paper, should include these main parts: The cover page or title page. Abstract, introduction, or outline. Main body, analysis, or main arguments. Conclusions, recommendations, or discussions.

  16. Write a Paper in APA Format with BestCustomWriting

    Indent half an inch from the left when introducing a new source; Provide every heading of work entirely, saving the original capitalization and spelling; Alphabetize the names of the sources with respect to the authors' last names; Italicize titles of books and journals. That is how to write a paper in APA format.