APA: Research Paper Structure, Format, & Style


this tutorial will go over some of the more common questions on how to structure and format papers according to the APA citation style if you have any questions on how to create a reference list or in text citations using APA style please refer to the corresponding video tutorials in the series for your paper you should include 12-point font times new roman font and the text of your paper should be double-spaced and the margins should be one inch around all sides of the paper the title of your paper should be located at the center of the page and should also be located somewhere near the top portion of the page for your title page you’re also going to need to add page number and a running title a running head is a shortened version of a papers full tighter title and should be less than 50 characters it actually includes the words running head and then the title of the paper the paper title should be in all caps and aligned to the left and while the paper number should be located at the top of the page and align to the right to do this you go to insert header you want to edit your header here go to the design make sure you choose a different first page and then add your page numbering again you want it at the top of the page the number and align the right from here you actually type in running title colon and all in caps but remember my running title needs to be aligned to the left so I go back up to design insert alignment tab where I want it right margin and none and there gets to be in the proper format and then I go back to my page and double-click for editing within the text my paper you’ll need to include your papers authorship this it consists of your name and any of your co-authors that you may include you should also include you’re either your course your department or your college or university affiliation and there’s your title page you go on and insert a page break to get to the new page here you can see that we do not have the page number automatically you need to go again and insert the page number and you want it at the top of the page align to the left you’ll notice that it begins at two and its continuing on from the first page double click back into the main text of your page you’ll need to go and check and make sure that it’s left alignment right there depending on your professors requirements you may need to include an abstract in keywords to your paper and abstract is usually a hundred and fifty words and is a concise summary of the purpose and contents of your article if you actually intend to publish your paper this abstract will be the most important and most read part of your publication here we have an example i have the title abstract centered in the top and the text of the abstract is double-spaced and there’s no indent at the start of the page we have the words key words written here the key term is actually in italics and you can include three to five key terms written out all in lowercase the example from this abstract is taken from Dr. Tiffany Chenneville’s paper and her co-authors there are two common types of papers that use the APA style guidelines the literature review and the experimental research paper there are some common components that should be included in either type of paper both start with their introductions you don’t actually have to include heading for this your first paragraph is already presumed to be the intro for literature review papers you might also want to organize it by subtopic chronology type of publication or methodology for experimental research papers your paper should include the following sections methods this is the area where you tell readers how the study was conducted in enough detail to allow replication results this section describes all your research results including relevant data and analysis discussion this section argues how your results relate to and build upon your hypothesis in previous studies you should end your discussion with a conclusion of the significance of your research and identify areas for future future reference both papers should end with a reference list a reference list is always needed for your papers this is located at the end of the paper and give the reader the necessary information to identify and retrieve each source for your reference list you should start on a new page include only the sources that you you use and cite within your publication double space your references with a hanging indent and if you have any questions please see the video tutorials on APA reference fundamentals some papers you may be required to include footnotes and appendices if you have any questions on whether you need to include this please talk to your instructor however if you do need to include any footnotes or appendices he should be located after the reference sections and again starting on a new page like the references any contents in your footnotes or appendices should be referenced within the text of your paper let’s get onto the style and formatting of your paper when you write use an active voice whenever possible to avoid ambiguity use a personal pronoun rather than the third person for example use I if you’re the sole author and if there are multiple authors use we to represent yourself and your co-authors avoid the use of abbreviations however if you do need to use abbreviations spell out the full name the first time that you use it in the paper and include the abbreviation in brackets immediately afterwards if you include headings in your papers the APA citation style provides five layers for you heading format these are the first level where you’re heading should be centered using bold font and uses both lowercase and uppercase letters in the heading for the level two use a left alignment still use the bold font and both uppercase and lowercase letters in the heading for level three this should be indented using bold font and only lowercase letters and the heading should end with a period for level four again it should be indented and involved however it should also be in italicized and only with lowercase letters and then and heading ending in a period for level five again it should be indented using only italicized font only lowercase letters and the heading ending with a period do not use any numbers or to indicate the heading level within the text of your paper if you use any quotations there’s a style format for that too for any short quotations just use a double quotation mark to enclose the text please see the example here for any longer quotes with 40 words are more you can use block quotations to do this be sure to indent the quotation and not use any quotation marks for numbers use words to write out the numbers below nine and numerals to write out any numbers from 10 and above there are several exceptions to this units of measurement should always be using the actual numericals and any mathematical expressions should also use the numericals also another exception is for any words at the start of a sentence if you use a number please spell it out series when there is a specific order to the series you should include numbers followed by a period the first word should be capitalized and the sentence should end in a period if there is no implied order in your series you can use bullets with the same format if your series is located within a paragraph or sentence denote them only in lowercase and enclose the series in brackets if your sentence and your series includes commas within the sections be sure to use semi-colons to separate the different areas tables tables also have certain requirements include a brief explanatory title and a heading for each column refer to the text the table and you text and tell the reader what they should specifically look for if you can include a note to describe the table that should be located at the bottom of the table always include a citation for the table within the paper and if you include multiple tables you should number them sequentially for example here we have table 1 and table 2 and make sure if you use multiple tables that their presentation and the look is consistent across your paper the APA citation style has very specific standards for paper structure and format this tutorial only mentioned some of the more common requirements if you have any questions that are unanswered please visit the owl at Purdue or consult the APA citation style manual for more information

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