APA stands for American Psychological Association. The APA format is used for formatting papers for the social and behavioral sciences, such as psychology and education. APA guidelines stipulate the paper should be typed on a standard-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches). It should utilize an easily readable font. Time New Roman size 12 pt. font is recommended. New APA guidelines stipulate that two spaces should be provided after end punctuation to aid the reader. In addition, there should be a one inch margin on all four sides of the paper. APA formatting involves dividing the paper into four major sections:
- Title Page
The title page includes the title of the paper. Beneath that should be the writer’s name. Below that should be the institutional affiliation associated with the author’s research. This information should be double-spaced, and should be centered in the top half of the page. The title should be in upper and lower case letters.
A running head should appear on each page of the paper. The running head is located in the header of the paper, flushed left, with the page number flushed right. The running head must be in all capital letters and no more than 50 character spaces, including spaces between words and punctuation. The title page running head begins with the words “Running head:” and then the shortened version of the title begins. The running head on your title page should look like this:
Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
The running head on other pages should look like this:
TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
The abstract page is a separate page. It should be titled “Abstract” without the quotation marks. It should also not be underlined, bolded, or in italics. The first line of the abstract is not indented. The length should be between 150 and 250 words. It should be a concise summary of your paper.
If desired, the writer may include the keywords from the paper. This is done by beginning a new paragraph. Indent the first line and type in italics “Keywords:” and then list your key words.
- Main Body
The main body of your paper begins on the third page. It is in upper and lower case letters. It is neither placed within quotation marks, bolded, nor italicized. Like the rest of the paper, the body is double-spaced and left-justified. Each paragraph begins with a half-inch indention. The paper may contain headings, dependent upon the purpose and length of the paper.
- Reference Page
The reference page begins on a separate page. It is titled “Reference Page.” The title is neither placed within quotation marks, bolded, nor italicized. Font is size 12 pt. Again, like the rest of the paper, it is double-spaced. Each entry has a hanging indention of half an inch. The entries are arranged alphabetically by the first letters of the entries.
Each source used for the paper should be in-text cited and listed on the reference page. The APA style uses the author-date citation system. An in-text citation will contain within parentheses the author’s last name followed by a comma and then the year of publication. The end punctuation for the sentence goes after the closing parenthesis. It should look like this:
(author’s last name, year of publication).
(last name of 1st author & last name of 2nd author, year of publication).
The general format of an entry is as follows:
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages. doi:http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy