How to Write an APA Format Paper
Use the first sentence or sentences of the introduction to grab your reader’s attention and let them know what the main idea of your paper is - How to Write an APA Format Paper introduction. The introduction of the paper begins here in the first paragraph of your paper, on the line following the paper title. Indent the first sentence of each paragraph by pressing the tab key on your keyboard. Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, and References page. APA uses a traditional font style such as Times New Roman, and a 12 point font size.
The title of the paper (in uppercase and lowercase letters) is centered on the first line below the running head. The running head is a shortened version of the paper’s full title that “runs” across the top of each page. APA guidelines place the words “Running head” before the short title on the title page. However, most instructors do not require the words “Running head” to be typed before the short title on the cover page (the first page). The running head appears, along with the page number, in the Header section of a Microsoft Word document.
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In Microsoft Word 2007, click the Insert tab at the top of the page. In the Header & Footer group, click Header and select the first option, Blank. Type your running head in all capital letters. After typing your running head, hit the Tab key on your keyboard twice to reach the right margin. With the Header still open, click on Page Number in the Header & Footer group on the left-side of the page. Select the fourth option, Current Position and click on Plain Number. Be sure that the “different first page” and “different odd & even pages” options in the Options group on the Design tools ribbon are not checked.
You should now have a running head on the upper-left hand corner of each page and a page number in the upper-right hand corner of each page. Page one begins on the title page. Headings within your paper may be used to organize your paper, depending on your instructor’s directions. If your instructor does require the use of headings in your paper, use centered, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters; for example: Disease Description Subheadings (when the paper has two levels of headings) use flush left, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters. For example: Symptoms The body of your paper is the main part of your paper.
In the body, give three or more major supporting points. Write one or more paragraphs for each point. Provide factual details on each, including examples or evidence from your sources. Provide a topic sentence for each supporting point paragraph. The sources from which you obtained the information presented in your paper must be documented or cited in the body of the paper. By citing, you give proper credit to the ideas and words of others. Each time that you use information from one of your sources, give the author’s or authors’ last name(s) and the year the source was published.
Citations inserted within the body of the paper are referred to as in-text citations. Every in-text citation must correspond to a matching bibliographic entry on your References or Bibliography page. This allows the reader to obtain the full source citation from the list of references on the References page at the end of the paper. APA guidelines require in-text citations to document quotations, paraphrases, summaries, and other material borrowed from your sources. A research paper weaves the ideas of others with your own ideas and conclusions.
In general, information taken from your sources should be presented in your own words (paraphrasing). This allows you to process the research you have done and interpret it in a way that is meaningful to you and that your readers will understand. You still need to cite your source, even if you have put the information in your own words. Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries must all be cited. Direct quotations, passages copied word-for-word from your source, should be used sparingly in your research paper. Your instructors want to see that you have not only found credible information but that you fully understand the information.
By putting the information from your research into your own words, you can show that you have a deeper knowledge of the material. Furthermore, papers overloaded with quotations may distract your instructor from your own ideas and writing. Use a quotation from a source only when there is absolutely no better way to present the information. A well-written paper balances quotations and paraphrases with your own interpretation of the research. APA has no specific rules about how often to insert in-text citations when paraphrasing or summarizing from one source continuously in your paper.
For instance, if this entire paragraph was written using information from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, an in-text citation should be inserted at the end of this last sentence (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 171). When you include a direct quotation or paraphrase referring to a specific passage in your paper, always include the author and year, as well as the page number, as part of the citation. APA requires the author, year, and page number for direct quotations and recommends providing the same information for paraphrases.
When citing paraphrased information in your paper, either give the author’s name and year within the sentence or in parentheses at the end of the sentence, along with the page number. For example: According to Smith (2008), laughter is the greatest cure for sadness (p. 18). In this example, the author Smith is included in the sentence, the year the source was published appears in parentheses after the author’s name, and the page number is provided in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Alternatively, the citation could look like this: Research shows that laughter is the greatest cure for sadness (Smith, 2008, p. 18).
Note that the author’s name and year of publication do not appear within the sentence but rather in the parentheses, along with the page number, at the end of the sentence. Finally, the sentence could be cited with both the name and the year given within the sentence. Parentheses are needed only for the page number in this example: In 2008, Smith’s study of emotions found that laughter is the greatest cure for sadness (p. 18). It does not matter which of these ways you choose to cite…be sure to cite your sources within the body of your paper! When a source with two authors is cited, both authors are cited each time.
For example: Laughter is the best medicine (Boyd & Hester, 2010. p. 280). For a source with three to five authors, cite all authors the first time that you cite the reference. Each additional time that you cite this source at the end of another sentence, include only the last name of the first author, followed by “et al. ” For example, the first time you cite it: Laughter is the best medicine (Boyd, Hester, & Megison, 2010, p. 280). The next time that you cite this same resource: Laughing is the most productive way of turning a frown upside down (Boyd et al. , 2010, p. 80). If there are six or more authors to be cited, use the first author’s last name and “et al. ” every time the work is cited. For example: Laughter is the best medicine (Boyd et al, 2010, p. 280). When a direct quotation is used, always include the author and year, as well as the page number, as part of the citation. For example: Smith (2008) claims that “laughing is the most productive way of turning a frown upside down” (p. 104). If a source does not have page numbers, especially in the case of Web sites, simply note the author’s last name and year of publication.
For example: “Laughing is my favorite sport” (Hester, 2008). A quotation of fewer than 40 words should be enclosed in double quotation marks and should be incorporated into the formal structure of the sentence as shown in the previous example. A longer quotation of 40 or more words should appear double-spaced (without quotation marks) in block format with each line indented half an inch from the left margin like this: Laughing is the most productive way of turning a frown upside down. It is the fastest way to change one’s mood, bringing the entire mind and body back in balance.
Not only does laughing have an immediate effect on the body, but it also has long-lasting effects. Laughing relieves physical stress and tension in the body and relaxes muscles for up to 45 minutes after the laughing session has occurred. (Smith, 2008, pp. 104–105) Note two main differences between the in-text citation for a block quotation and for a shorter quotation. First, the author’s last name, year of publication, and page numbers are given in the parentheses after the period at the end of the quotation. Also, note that pp. is used to signify multiple pages.
For works with no identified author or with an anonymous author, enclose the first few words of the title in parentheses when citing. Use double quotation marks around the title of an article, chapter, or web page. For instance, a quotation from a webpage with no author or page numbers given: “Laughing is the most productive way of turning a frown upside down” (“Laughing is healthy,” 2008). Italicize the title of a periodical, book, brochure, or report. For example, a report with no author given: “it is the fastest way to change one’s mood” (The Clown Report, 2008, pp. 22-24).
If a date is not given, use the abbreviation “n. d. ” (for “no date”). For instance, “Studies have shown that laughing promotes an overall healthy lifestyle” (Johnson, n. d. ). The last paragraph of your paper is your conclusion. Summarize the main idea of your paper by restating the topic and supporting points of your paper. Tie all of your points together to show that you have supported your main idea. The conclusion should end with a satisfying closing statement. Your References or Bibliography page begins on a new page. The heading is centered on the first line below the page header.
The first reference begins on the line following the references heading. Before you begin your References page, you will need to set up the paragraph formatting so that each entry in your list has a hanging indentation (where the first line of the entry “hangs” over the second line of the entry). To set up a hanging indentation in Microsoft Word 2007, click on the boxed arrow next to the Paragraph group to open the paragraph dialog box. In the Indentation field, click on the dropdown menu under “Special. ” Select “Hanging” from the menu and click OK. Entries on the References page are organized alphabetically by last names of authors.
If no author is available, arrange by the first word in the citation. If a source has more than one author, use the last name of the first author given. Most reference entries have three components: 1. Authors: Authors are listed in the same order as specified in the source, using last names and initials. Commas separate all authors. Example: Smith, R. For multiple authors, list all authors in the same format as the first, with the last names followed by initials, all separated by commas. Insert an “& symbol to separate the last two, following the coma. Example: Smith, R. , Johnson, S. D. & Jones, M. 2. Date of Publication: The date appears in parentheses following authors, with a period following the closing parenthesis. Example: Smith, R. (2008). If no publication date is identified, use “n. d. ” in parentheses following the author’s name. Example: Smith, R. (n. d. ). For books and journals, provide only the year; for magazines, newspapers, and Web sites, provide as much information about the date as given (e. g. date, month, year). 3. Source Reference: This may include book or article title, journal title, database name, volume, pages, city of publication, publisher, etc.
Example: Smith, R. (2008). Laughing is healthy. In M. R. Jones (Ed. ), Journal of Laughter (pp. 104-105). Retrieved from Gale Virtual Reference Library database. Each of your sources will be formatted differently, according to the rules of APA. Consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, for directions on formatting your citations. Concise Rules of APA Style Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL): http://owl. english. purdue. edu/owl/resource/560/01/ Turn to the next page for an example of a References page.