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Brief Guideline for Students on How to Write APA Style Research Papers


When writing an APA style research papers you must abide by the following guidelines:

  • The text of the paper, quotes, notes and references must always be double-spaced.
  • The margins on the top, bottom, left and right must be at least an inch wide.
  • All direct and indirect quotes require parenthetical citations. You must list the name of the author and the year of the publication in parentheses. If the quote is direct, you will also need to include the page number.
  • Even the thoughts you borrowed from someone’s speech require credit.
  • All parenthetical citations must be included in the reference page at the end of the paper.
  • Names of books, plays, periodicals, TV programs, recordings, and any other sources mentioned in the text of the paper must be underlined.
  • A page number is placed in the top right corner of the page and written in Arabic numerals.
  • The parts of the paper that make up its body (an introduction, methods, results, a discussion) do not require page breaks between them.
  • Put the title page, abstract, references and tables on separate pages.
  • The paper must be written in past tense.
  • The title should be 10-12 words long.
  • Write the paper in MS Word and use the “View header” function to create headers. The header must be written in all capital letters and include a page number.
  • When writing an abstract, try to state your topic in one sentence. This part of the paper must be clear and concise.
  • Do not label introductions as “Introduction”. Instead, you should type the paper’s title at the top of the page.
  • An APA paper introduction should start broad and narrow down to the focus of your research. It may be difficult to determine just how broad the beginning of this part should be. You should study essay examples or consult your professor when writing it.
  • When writing the method section, you should be as straightforward as possible. Be sure to describe every step of your research in detail. Your goal when writing this part of the paper is to create a guide that another person will be able to use in order to recreate your research and achieve the same results.
  • When describing the results you achieved, be sure to present the analysis in a manner that will be easy to understand even for people who don’t specialize in this field. To make this task easier, you may need to break this section into several sub-sections. You can also include tables or figures to make the results easier to understand.

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