As usual, during the course or the semester study, the students are tasked to complete big numbers of assignments. Each of them, be it a research paper or a coursework, must be formatted using a specific referencing style. In general, there are several formatting styles which authors usually follow, including MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago among others. Some of them have similar general features.
Nowadays, APA style is one of the most useful, and a teacher may ask to follow its rules while writing the paper. Moreover, the authors of official publications also follow it. Therefore, it is very essential and useful for every writer to study the specific information, rules, guidelines, peculiarities, and helpful examples of the latest APA 7th edition formatting guide.
For sure, you may find much more information on different online resources. Each of the styles has an own website with general rules, examples, data, tips, and even sample papers. You may find it using popular online search engines. Moreover, you may even use Facebook or WhatsApp to search for the information and find the essential data. Numbers of students have created multiple groups to discuss resources, tips, examples, and different information. Do you know what a margin is? Do all the paragraphs require indent for the first line? How you should cite a direct quotation? How to format the titles of sources like book, journal, website etc.? The answers on these and other questions you will find below.
What is APA Style Format?
First of all, it will be helpful to study a brief definition. What is APA style format? Who uses its guidelines? The abbreviation ‘APA’ is for American Psychological Association. It depicts the main purpose this format was created for. The general goal of APA style format is to cite sources in social sciences. There were several editions of the APA sample guidelines. With time, the demands and rules to follow have been changing, and now, the Psychological Association recommends using the 6th edition to format the text.
Basics of APA Style Format
Here are few specific general features of APA style text:
- One-inch margins at all four sides of your paper (keep in mind that Word sets a one-inch margin automatically).
- The text of the paper in APA style format should be written using double spacing between the lines, unless single spacing is requested by your professor.
- APA 7th edition does not require using standard or specific font. It suggests that the font used should be accessible for all the readers. However, the most commonly used are Calibri 11pt, Arial 11pt, Lucida Sans Unicode 10pt, Times New Roman 12pt, Georgia 11pt, and Computer Modern 10pt.
- There should be a running header at the top of each page of your paper. It is a shortened version of the title of the paper. It should be written in caps and not exceed 50 characters. If it is a professional paper, include the title and page number in your header. If it is a student paper, include page numbers only.
- The pages should have page numbers at the top right corner. The page numbers should start from “1” on the title page.
- The title page is very important for APA style format, and it should include the title of your paper, author’s name, and school title that must be centered. Moreover, you should place this information in the upper half of the page. Tutor’s name, date, and the course data go per the specific request of the teacher.
- The second part that identifies APA style text is the reference page or bibliography, which is a list of all sources you have used in your article. Traditionally it can be found at the very end of the paper. For it, a centered “References” heading must be used. After it, create a double-spaced list including all the sources cited in the text in an alphabetical order by the name of the authors. Every new reading must be indented; however, you should use a hanging indent each time. Authors’ names must be inverted. Journal titles must be present in full, and all major words should be capitalized. Moreover, book and journals titles must be in italics. For multiple entries by the same writer, list the articles according to the time they were written, from the earliest to the new ones. Try to include only necessary and relevant information about the source.
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APA Format Guide
Typical APA paper considers four main components:
- Title Page
- Main Body
- Reference page/Bibliography
APA 7 offers slightly different formatting of a title page, commonly referred to as cover page, for professional and student paper.
- Author's name
- Institutional affiliation
- Course number and name
- Instructor name
- Due date
A student should know that it is prohibited to use abbreviations without a clear purpose. You should place the main title in the middle line of the page and center this information. The titles must not be bold/underlined/ or in italics.
- Author's name
- Institutional affiliation
- Author note
This formatting style does not provide any special requirements for outline. However, there is an APA style formatting abstract. An abstract should be placed on a separate page. You must place the title "Abstract” at the middle top side of the page. It should not be bold. The first line of the text must should not be indented. In the text of the abstract itself, you must introduce several aspects including brief description of your research such as its topic, research questions, methods, participants, and conclusions. The complete abstract usually takes one paragraph, and it should not exceed 250 words.
After the paragraph you may provide a least of keywords. Type Keywords (italicized) and list the main keywords of the research.
No matter if you complete a simple five paragraph essay or a research paper, the biggest part of your paper is the body, and you may find some specific requirements regarding it in APA format guide:
- The first part is introduction. It should start with a brief information about the topic presenting its main purpose and goal.
- Next part of the body explains the topic and describes your research with all the necessary details.
- To describe your research more, you should create the method. This part is just to describe the process of researching and its results.
- To describe the results of your research, there is a separate section provided. The next part is a discussion which ends with a summary regarding the entire research.
HeadingsTo make the text more clear and logical, it is recommended to divide the paper into sections and subsections and use headings and subheadings. It helps to understand information better. Different level headings should be formatted differently. APA 7 offers the following formatting:
- 1-level headings - Centered, Boldface, Title Case
Text starts with a new paragraph
- 2-level headings - Flush Left, Boldface, Title Case
Text starts with a new paragraph
- 3-level headings - Flush Left, Boldface Italicized, Title Case
Text starts with a new paragraph
- 4-level headings - Indented, Boldface, Title Case Heading That Ends with a Period. Text starts just after heading.
- 5-level headings - Indented, Boldface Italicized, Title Case Heading That Ends with a Period. Text starts just after heading.
APA In-text citations
The main difference between two most popular formats, APA and MLA guides, is the organization of citations. APA style citation format is very clear about in-text citations. As we mentioned before, all citations and their sources should be listed in the reference list on a special page. The citation of American psychological association starts with the name of the author and continues with a year of publication and source title. Below you can find a sample APA style format example of citation.When you refer to a source in your text, it should be properly cited to avoid plagiarism. APA citations presuppose author - year format, which should be mentioned in parentheses.
- The general and the most frequently used format for APA in-text citations is (Author, year). Mention the details in parentheses in the end of the sentence
If you have mentioned the author of the text of the sentence, mention only the year in parentheses.
For example: Fleming noted that the room was all lit with light and decorated with flowers ( 2011)
- If you paraphrase information using your own words, you should also mention page number in parentheses.
- If you add a direct quote to your text, add quotation marks and the page number should also be included
- In case the source has two authors, mention them both using an ampersand (&).
- If the source has three or more authors, mention only the first author, add et al. and a year.
This format provides some of the clearest requirements regarding its reference page. There are different types of sources, and they should all be formatted in diffrent ways. To make the creation of a proper bibliography easier using this guideline, follow such recommendations:
- Each new source should be written on a separate line. It also must be indented, but you should use a hanging indentation.
- Place the word “References” on the top of the page in the middle.
- Each reading must have at least one corresponding quotation in the text.
- Organize all references in alphabetical order regarding the last names of the authors.
- Do not forget to mention the exact page numbers for articles or book chapters.
- Remember that there are various kinds of sources that can be cited in the text. Among them are web or online readings, articles in periodicals, books etc. Each kind must be referenced in a distinct way. For example, in case you cited the information from the book, you should study the main tips. For example, the title of the book must be in sentence case in the list of references, while in the text, the first letters of major words must be capitalized.
- Among the web sources may be online resources, information from media platforms such as Facebook, or online encyclopedias. You may even cite the whole website.
1. Book. If your have used a book in your paper either print or digital, make sure to properly format it. Mention the following information in the reference list:
Author, A.A. (year of publication). Title of work: Subtitle. Publisher. DOI (if available)
Note that location is not required in the latest edition of APA.
If the book was edited, use the following format
Editor, E.E. (Ed.) (year of publication). Title of work: Subtitle. Publisher. DOI (if available)
2. Articles in periodicals. If you need to format an article from a periodical, such as journal article, follow such a basic format:
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of an article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. DOI
Please note that APA 7 recommends to add DOI when it is available.
3. Article from online periodical with DOI assigned
Author, A.A, & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Vol.(Issue), page numbers. DOI
4. Article from online periodical with no DOI assigned. If the article has no DOI assigned and was published online, add and URL.
Author, A.A, & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article. Website. Retrieved Month, day, year, from URL5. Wikipedia article
Title of article. (Year, Month, Day). In Wikipedia. URL of archived version of page6. YouTube or other streaming video
Last Name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Date). Title of video [Video]. Streaming Service. URL
Need Help with APA Format?
In the article, we have highlighted all the main points of APA formatting. It is a manual to help writers cope with tricky formatting of paper. If it is still unclear for you and you do not understand how to format your paper but need a good grade, you can turn to online writing services. We have a team of professional writers with expretize in different fields. We can write a paper and format it according to your requirements just in 3 hours.