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How to Write an Apa Paper

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The American Psychological Association, or APA is a style of writing that was first constructed and published by a group of psychologists, anthropologists, and business managers in 1929. (APA , 2009) It has since evolved into a well-known manual used by scholars, editors, and students partaking in collegiate courses as a guide to producing and referencing scholarly written papers. Depending on the guidelines for each paper, the formatting may be slightly different. Overall, each paper should contain these four sections: the title page, an abstract, the main body of the paper, and a reference page.

Title Page

When composing an APA style paper, a certain format must be used. The paper must be typed using 12 point Times New Roman font, and be double-spaced. It must also have one-inch margins on all sides, as well as two spaces following punctuations. A running header along with page numbers should be included on all pages. The running header should be the title of the paper and be completely capitalized. The first page in an APA style paper is the title page. This page contains the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. (OWL , 2012) The title of an APA style paper should consist of both upper and lowercase letters and be centered in the upper half of the page. (OWL, 2012) The Purdue OWL recommends that a title should be no more than 12 words in length and it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. (OWL, 2012) Directly beneath the title should be the author's full name. The proper format would be the first name, middle initial, then last name. Beneath the author's name should be the institutional affiliation, or location where the research for the paper was gathered.


The second page of the manuscript should contain the abstract. The very top of the page should have the running header as well as the corresponding page number. On the first line of this page, the word "Abstract" should title it and be centered directly in the middle of the page. This title should be written in the same size and font as the rest of the text. The abstract will begin on the second line of the page and should not be indented. According to the Purdue OWL , a well thought out abstract should

Contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph double-spaced. Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words. (OWL, 2012 )

One other component of an abstract is keywords. If these are included in the manuscript a new line would be started as well as indented, and the words would be typed in italics. Keywords are used for potentially helping researchers find work in databases. (OWL, 2012)

The Body of the Manuscript

The body of the paper may differ depending on the type of paper being constructed. If an experimental report were being done it would typically include an introduction, the method, the results, and lastly the discussion .

The Introduction of a paper is not the equivalent of the abstract. It can be troubling to create a well-drafted introduction. A quality introduction will do many things, but ultimately it should summarize and enlighten readers about the context of the study and the reason it was conducted. It should foreshadow what will eventually unfold in the hypothesis of the paper, and it should not be too broad.

Next, is the Method section. The purpose of this section is to explain the research that was conducted in such great detail,



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