Before you begin your essay, familiarize yourself with some of the basics. The following tips offer some useful guidelines that will help you prepare your paper and ensure that it is formatted properly. In almost every case, you will need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association. 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. While it might seem like something you can just gloss over, most instructors, as well as 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, it also means that your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors.
While this guide offers some basic tips on how to present your APA format essay, you should always check with your teacher for more specific instructions. Basics There should be uniform margins of at least one-inch at the top, bottom, left, and right sides of your essay. Your paper should be double-spaced. Every page of your essay should include a running head at the top left.
The running head is a shortened form of your title, often the first few words, and should be no more than 50 characters including spaces. Every page should also include a page number in the top right corner. Your essay should also have a title page in APA format. This title page should include the title of your paper, your name and school affiliation. Include the running head on the top of the page. On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research.
Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
Use concise, brief, informative language. You only have a few sentences to share the summary of your entire document, so be direct with your wording. This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than words.
If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.
You can also include keyword strings that you think readers will type into the search box. Use an active voice, not a passive voice. When writing with an active voice, the subject performs the action. When writing with a passive voice, the subject receives the action.
Active voice: The subjects reacted to the medication. Passive voice: There was a reaction from the subjects taking the medication. Instead of evaluating your project in the abstract, simply report what it contains. The body of most scientific papers On the page after the abstract, begin with the body of the paper.
Most scientific papers follow this format: Start with the Running head. The running head on the abstract page differs from the running head on the title page. Also include the page number. The abstract page should be page 2. On the next line write the title. Do not bold, underline, or italicize the title. Begin with the introduction and indent the first line of the paragraph. The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based.
It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract. Begin a new section with the Method and use this word as the subtitle. Bold and center this subtitle. The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted.
Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected. Begin a new section with the Results. The Results section summarizes your data. Use charts and graphs to display this data. Begin a new section with the Discussion. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results. Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions. Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results. Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
Try our automatic generator and watch how we create APA citation format references for you in just a few clicks. 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 different sizes and purposes: Level 1: The largest heading size This is the title of your paper The title should be centered in the middle of the page The title should be bolded Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary called title capitalization Level 2: Should be a bit smaller than the title, which is Level 1 Place this heading against the left margin Use bold letters Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary Level 3: Should be a bit smaller than Level 2 Indented in from the left side margin Use bold letters Only place an uppercase letter at the first word of the heading.
All others should be lowercase. Example of In-Text Citations Example of in-text citations in body of main text of paper. Example of References page All in-text citations will appear on a separate References page at the end of your paper. Think of it as an alphabetized "endnotes page. You do not bold-face the word References. It should be plain text. Rule 4: Headings Throughout the main text, you may use headings to break up the text into different sections.
APA style has five levels of headings, each of which indicates main headings and various sub-headings based on the way you format them. Level one is centered and bold; level two is flush left and bold; level three is flush left, bold, and italicized; level four is indented, bold, and italicized; and level five is indented and italicized.
Study my examples below. This will show you how APA style wants you to format multiple headings in the main text of your paper. The exception is the main text for the Abstract page on which you do not indent. Example of standard indention. Rule 6: Indention hanging This type of indention requires placing the first line of a paragraph against the left margin and then indenting subsequent lines of the paragraph by 0. Hanging indention techniques are used for specific areas of the paper, such as the alphabetized sources on the Reference page.
Rule 7: Margins Your paper should have a 1-inch margin on all four sides. No text should appear in the margin. However, APA style does allow the bottom margin to have some text placed in it, if this is required to avoid having a widow i. Your entire paper should have 1-inch margins, top, bottom, left and right. Rule 8: Numbers decimal Anytime you need to express a number as a decimal and that potentially can be greater than one, use a leading zero before the decimal point, if the number is between zero and one, such as 0.
If the number is a decimal representing a value that can never be larger than one, such as in a formula, don't use the leading zero. Rule 9: Numbers whole Most of the time, you need to spell out a number in text as part of the main body of text, if it's less than Spell out numbers if quantity is under For number 10 and above, use numerals.
Rule Order of sections APA style requires you to follow a particular order, which is: 1 a Title page; 3 the main body of paper; 4 References page; 5 tables, figures, and appendices. Start each section on its own new page.
.Use an active voice, not a passive voice. Yep, you read that correctly. Are you wondering if you need to create an abstract for your assignment? Examples APA Format:.
.Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length. In addition to making sure that your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, you should also watch carefully for typos, grammar errors and possible problems with APA format. Here are some helpful suggestions to create a dynamic abstract: Abstracts are found on their own page, directly after the title or cover page. Once you set up the specs to handle the basic formatting elements, save the document as a template to use for future papers. Some teachers and professors do not require a title page, but some do.
Level 5: Should be the smallest heading in your paper Indented Italicized Only place an uppercase letter at the first word of the heading.
Rule 8: Numbers decimal Anytime you need to express a number as a decimal and that potentially can be greater than one, use a leading zero before the decimal point, if the number is between zero and one, such as 0.
How to form an abstract An APA format abstract is a summary of a scholarly article or scientific study.
The header should look like this on the other pages: 6. The first graphic, labeled as 1, should be the first one mentioned in the text. We promise you, an outline will help you stay on track. The running head is always flushed left at the top. The format dictates presentation elements of your paper including spacing, margins, and how the content is structured. A title.
Start by choosing a good topic to write about. Conversely, any source listed in your references must be cited somewhere in the body of your paper. The body of most scientific papers On the page after the abstract, begin with the body of the paper. Source Rule Page numbers Place each page number at the top of the page, at the far right. You may come across abstracts while researching a topic.
Your title will appear centered both horizontally and vertically. Many visual learners would appreciate the ability to look at an image to make sense of information.
Italicize the title. Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies. Some writers use a mix of roman numerals, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters. Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results. Rule 7: Margins Your paper should have a 1-inch margin on all four sides.
Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results. When your professor requests that you write your paper according to APA style the official style of the American Psychological Association , you will need to follow several formatting rules that will make your paper more coherent and easier to read.