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How to Format Academic Paper in APA Essay Style?

Formatting and Citation

How to Format Academic Paper in APA Essay Style?

Teachers assign essays and research papers to check student’s knowledge of the subject and academic standards such as writing styles. There are several paper formats like MLA, APA, Turabian,

Harvard, Chicago, and IEEE. American Psychological Association has established the second one for those scholars who deal with common social sciences like psychology, sociology, philosophy, and other humanities. It is more complicated to format each page of the academic essay in APA than in MLA.

APA Format General Characteristics

Any writing format is used to insert in-text citations and provide a list of bibliography at the end of every assignment. In APA format, a page with bibliography is called References. It can refer to the list of words cited throughout the paper, but most often it refers to the entire phrases of other authors. It is done in order to avoid plagiarism. All sources are usually reserved, so students can’t just steal the thoughts of other authors. Besides, such actions may result in the failing grade for the entire project.

American Psychological Association has offered its own paper format to make a difference between students who study humanities and those who study precise sciences, technological disciplines, and business. However, APA format has become popular in many fields, including publishing. We will recall some examples of APA style formatting in this article, but you can view full samples at the academic service site .

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Generally Accepted Basics of APA Formatting

Here are the basic principles of the writing format proposed by the American Psychological Association. Mind that every page has to be formatted in the same way. Only References and cover/title page have some peculiarities.

A research paper or essay should be typed, double-spaced on the standard-sized page. It means 8.5” x 11”). A clear font like Times New Roman or Arial 12 pt. must be used when formatting the page. The only black color of the text is allowed. Bold or italic are used only for headings and titles in the text. You should make 1-inch margins on the bottom, top, and sides.

A running head with the full title of the essay must appear on the title page. Remove the words “running head” from the rest of the pages by leaving the title written in capital letters only. Insert page numbers flush rights to complete the mission. If the full name of your paper is too long, make it shorter for the header (no more than 50 characters).

Using of punctuation marks has its peculiarities. You have to apply one space after the majority of punctuation marks unless punctuation marks are located at the end of the sentence. In this case, apply two spaces afterward. This style has five levels of heading. Each level has its purpose and size. Each paragraph of the writing piece should start with an indented first word.

Let’s discuss main parts more precisely. 

Main Body

  1. A section called the Method. Center word Method. It shows how you’ve completed your research. Describe how you collected the data for your study. Include the list of methods.
  2. A section called the Results. Center the subtitle and make it bold. You have to summarize the data, use graphs and charts to prove your material.
  3. A section called the Discussion. Make subtitle bold and center it. Here you should draw your conclusions and show how your data prove these conclusions. You should explain if your hypothesis was proved by your study and what steps you are going to apply to improve your research in the future.

The body pages must include citations and the author’s name.  

APA Format Reference List

On this page, you should write your references. Center and bold title “References.” It shouldn’t include quotation marks. Articles that you’ve used in your paper should be mentioned in this section.      

Now we want to provide more details about each element of the APA style paper and examples of these elements.

You’ll be given a specific number of resources to be used. If you don’t have some sources on hand, be ready to conduct in-depth research, qualitative or quantitative – it depends on the type of paper and your goals.

Starting from the first point, here is an example of how an APA style title page should look like:

Compare and Contrast Essay on Eurovision

Name Last Name

College Name

Remember about placing Running head on the top. You can add date below if needed.

Depending on your information and publication initiatives, develop an eye-catching title. If we speak about a research paper, it should be concise and clear, not necessarily an interesting one. The title of your paper has to reflect the main topic idea without any abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Running head of a title must be a shortened version of the main title.

An abstract should not contain any in-text citations. It is a separate part with a summary of the essay. Share information like what was your research about, why it can be important, and briefly interpret the findings. Check whether this page has research topics, research questions, population sample, methods, and outcomes. According to APA style, an abstract should not contain more than 250 words (1/3 of the page is the best size). You may want to list keywords, especially when we speak about online publication. It might be useful for SEO.

You may find more on the other elements of APA paper if you read this article.

Tips on How to Cite Different Books in APA Format Paper

It is one of the most important parts of your work. You should learn how to cite your sources correctly and use an appropriate format for each type of books you need to mention. A general rule of book citations is that it should include author name, book title, a year of publication, country, and city of publication, and publisher name or names.

  • Print book chapter. You can include the title of a particular chapter or its number.
  • E-book chapter. Include title of chapter and title of a book.
  • E-book. It must be available on computer or e-readers like Kindle, iPad or Nook.
  • Bible. You must include in-text citation if you use text from Bible or other classical literature. When paraphrasing some excerpts you should include the concrete verse or line you were paraphrasing.
  • Journals. It should include title and volume number. Use italics to highlight both fields of this element.

How to Develop a Bibliography in APA Style? General Guidelines

The last thing to discuss is how to organize information on the References page of your paper. Consult professional writers, or try to develop APA style by yourself.

  1. Begin with the author whose in-text citation or another piece of information was used. Type in his Last Name and initials.
  2. Name the publication date. Apply parentheses to the exact year.
  3. Add the title of the source you used to cite. It should be in italic.
  4. Enter the publisher’s location and name.
  5. If available, write down the volume, issue, and the numbers of cited pages for periodicals or full URL for online publications.
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Here are some examples of the References page in APA style:

Reference List

Frolov V. (2017). Russia Reveals Eurovision 2017 Entry. The Moscow Times. Retrieved

on March 13 from https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-reveals-eurovision-2017-


Singleton, B., Fricker, K., Moreo, E.(2007)Performing the queer network: Fans and families

at the Eurovision Song Contest. SQS: Journal of Studies in Finland.

Available at: http://www.ojs.tsv.fi/index.php/sqs/article/view/53665/16787(accessed 5

February 2016).


In our guide, we’ve tried to collect helpful tips that may help to write a good paper in APA format for any discipline. You should learn how to place quotations, making your work relevant, which sources you may use in your paper, like articles, journals, official sites and more. You also learned about main sections that are necessary for a good paper. People frequently find this type of essay writing pieces challenging because it requires following strict rules. But our useful review recommends to be patient and to learn all the peculiarities of English content wrote in APA style.

If you experience difficulties, you may try professional assistant. It can be found on the online essay writing services. You may even buy a custom essay in APA style .

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    Research Paper Writing Guides

    Writing a Research Paper in APA Format

    26 Jul 2017Research Paper Writing Guides

    Becoming academically successful is not an easy task. In order to accurately and
    formally express research results in writing, you have to get acquainted with the rules of
    formatting a research paper .

    There are many different sets of rules which are applied depending on the
    specifics of the field of study. One of these sets is the APA writing standard.

    Quick Navigation

    What is APA?

    APA research paper formatting guidelines

    Format of an APA research paper

    1. Title page
    2. Abstract
    3. Body
    4. Text citation and references

    What is APA?

    The APA is one of the most influential associations of professional psychologists
    in the world, including specialists from the United States and Canada, as well as associate members from other
    countries. It includes about 150 thousand members. The organization`s main goal is to promote psychology as a
    science, profession, and a means of improving the well-being, mental health, and education of people. The
    organization developed the widespread form of formatting of academic works for social sciences. On the
    assumption of the name of the organization (American Psychological Association), it is not hard to guess, that
    this standard is mostly popular in North America, but also is widely used in other English-speaking countries.
    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which is the organization`s reference guide,
    contains recommendations on the formalization of papers, as well as on the documentation of citations,
    footnotes, tables, fonts and the structure of the research. APA formatting is used predominantly in
    research publications in such areas as psychology, business, criminology, economics, pedagogy (including
    applied linguistics), and sociology.

    APA research paper formatting guidelines

    General formatting guidelines rarely differ from each other in various frameworks.
    The APA style is not an exception. If you are now just getting acquainted with the methods of
    formatting a research paper, these regulations are two fold for you. This format however,
    does have an innovative feature in the boring world of margins and indentations:

    • As usual, the text is typed on standard white paper that has familiar
      parameters of 8.5″ x 11″.
    • The APA style requires using an easy to read font and recommends using a
      12pt Times New Roman font.
    • Double spacing is required on both the title page and throughout the
    • Margins should be 1″ concerning all sides of the page.
    • Paragraph indentation should be set to one half inch from the left side
      of the page.
    • The unique aspect is in creating a special page header that consists of
      the page number and the running head as typed on the title page in all capitals. 

    It is seen that the style keeps up with world`s leading formatting standards not
    dwelling on having a lot of useless rules. The running head introduction visually brings both writer and
    reader back to the main idea of the research. In all other respects, the APA style is similar to the other

    Format of an APA research paper

    The framework of how to write
    research papers is the most distinguishable part of each formatting standard. Hardly ever
    are there are common aspects of the structure of the paper. This style provides the following paper

    Title page

    Every research paper, if it is not MLA, starts with a title page. The APA pays lots
    of attention to the design of the front page. The rules are simple but strict.

    • The title of the paper is placed in the very center of the title page. It is
      centered regarding the side margins and lies in the middle of the vertical axis.
    • The title may contain as many words and characters as the writer needs but the
      APA format recommends less than 12 words and to avoid using fruitless information and abbreviations.
    • Keeping in mind that double-spacing is required, the name of the author is
      written beneath the title. The name of the author should not include any formalities such as Ph.D. or
      Mr. and only include the first and last name.
    • The same procedure is undergone for the name of the institution which you
      represent writing this paper.
    • The running head contains a capitalized short name of the title, the header of
      the title page includes the words ‘Running head’ followed by a colon and the shortened title written the
      same way as before.

    These rules, are not as demanding as they could be, but still demand enough
    attention to the formatting of the title page. The APA must be thinking that having a cover attracts more
    consideration to the research.


    The abstract is another peculiarity of the style as other standards don`t usually
    recommend using abstract. The purpose of the abstract serves as an introduction to the ideas of the
    author, a brief summary of any questions the author investigated and by which means the author came to the
    answers. It contains all typical information such as defining any in-explicit abbreviations and/or special
    words and terms. As for the technical requirements, the abstract page starts with the word “Abstract” centered
    to the page and typed in a 12pt Times New Roman font. It is followed by non indented text that doesn`t
    exceed 250 words summarizing the main points of the text and any key words are typed in italics. The abstract
    page helps your paper be found in searches and gives the reader a brief overview of what is contained within
    the paper. 


    The APA style adheres to the long established rules of using essay-form while
    writing research work. The text in the body can contain as much paragraph or sections as the writer needs, but
    only on the condition of supporting the idea by answering the questions related to the topic. The
    beginning of the body once again starts with the name of the survey, which must not be bold, underlined, or
    italicized. To clearly identify each section, the APA standard advises centering the heading of each paragraph
    in a bold font.

    Text citation and references

    The APA format doesn`t differentiate from others regarding the theme of citation
    policies. The organizations manual reminds of the importance of academic honesty and invokes writers
    to cite other works properly. The style uses an in-text citation as well. Such a citation is placed in
    parenthesis where the author`s name and year of publication of the cited part are specified. This information
    has to be the same as in the reference list. Formatting of the reference list, or bibliography, is represented
    in the following manner.

    1. References indented one half inch from the left margin.
    2. First, the reference list should be listed alphabetically by authors last
      name identify up to seven authors by first stating their last name and the initial of their first
    3. The year of the publication should immediately follow the authors names in
    4. Then the name of the reference is cited.
    5. Following the name of the reference the volume or page numbers of the
      referenced material is put in parenthesis.
    6. The final step is to indicate where the source was referenced i.e. a web-page
      where the material was obtained.

    APA formatting style provides numerous rules to edit research papers accurately.
    This fact does not mean unnecessary efforts but rather that effective and correct formatting of written
    research that help both the author and the reader to come to an agreement.


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