APA Style Guide
APA Style is an editorial style that was established by the American Psychological Association (APA) to site sources in psychology, education, social, and other behavioral sciences. It is composed of rules and guidelines for the formatting of documents and many use APA style for writing papers for obtaining an online degree.
The APA Style guidelines are found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition. Below is a basic guide for using APA style:
I. General Topics
1. The paper should be typed double-space on a standard paper (8.5” x 11”) with one inch margins on all sides.
2. The Font must be 12-point Times New Roman or Courier.
3. Left-aligned paragraphs indented with the “Tab” key.
B. Writing in General
1. Use complete sentences in active voice, especially the first sentence of the paragraph.
2. Avoid using slang languages.
3. Spell out the words and do not use contractions like “it’s” or “they've”.
C. Style Details in General
1. Avoid using first person pronouns like “I”, “you”, or “we”.
2. Avoid using sexist language (he, she) when referring to a person.
3. Use past tense in the abstract, introduction, and method, while results and discussion sections can be in the present tense.
Links to samples of papers written in APA style are provided below:
Sample for Students: Discussion on how to write in APA style
1. Spell words out the first time they appear.
2. Avoid using too many abbreviations; one to three is acceptable.
1. Use metric units.
2. Spell out zero to nine, except in table or figure number, or a metric measurement.
3. Use numbers for 10 and above.
F. Citations in the Text
1. Citing references in text is done in different ways, but mostly, it includes the last name of the author and the year of publication.
For examples of writing citations in text, go to: Citation Management
1. Include the page numbers for direct quotes.
2. A maximum of three to four quotes should be included in a 10-page paper.
II. Research Reports
1. This page includes: Article Title, Author’s Name, Author’s School/Affiliation, Running Head, Page Header, and Page Number.
2. The title should summarize what the paper is all about in 10 – 12 words.
For a sample title page, view this page: Sample Title Page (Mirano)
1. The Abstract is found on Page 2. The term “Abstract” is written at the center of the first line after the manuscript page header.
2. Avoid citing references. Paraphrase instead of using quotes.
1. Introduction starts in Page 3, at the center of the page. Do not put the word “Introduction”.
2. Provide a brief description of the research question, indicating its importance and other related information.
1. Type the word “Method” at the center of the next double-spaced line.
2. Discuss how the study will be performed.
1. Type “Result” at the center of the page.
2. Summarize the data collected.
Go to this site for help on the summary: Psychological Statistics.
1. This section should include the evaluation and interpretation of data in relation to the research problem.
1. Type the word “Reference” at the top of a new page.
2. All citations made in the paper must be presented in this section.
Rules for reference list can be found at: Reference List: Basic Rules
H. Other Sections
1. Appendixes – Type “Appendix” at the upper center of the page and use Appendix A (Appendix B… etc.) for multiple appendices.
2. Tables – each table should begin on a separate page and labeled as “Table 1” (or Table 2, etc.).
3. Figure Captions and Figures – presented on the last page of the paper. The figure caption is typed at the center of the page as Figure 1 (Figure 2, etc.) with the first letter in capital.
III. Research Reviews
This part reviews previous studies or research and shows evaluations with existing theories. It does not follow any specific format, but it is usually presented in 3 parts, namely, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
For more information about APA Style, refer to the links below:
Frequently Asked Questions: List of questions about APA
Sample APA Style Paper: Illustrates the APA guidelines by example
The APA editorial style is not only used for the writing of psychology or science papers. It is also adopted by other writers as a standard writing style for research papers.