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How Do You Write a Research Paper in the APA Format?

The American Psychological Association established a standardized format for papers. The main reason was to make sure that everyone submitted a paper in the same format. Most colleges want their students to write in the same format so that they can grade students on their writing and not on their formatting. It also allows the professors to use a page count instead of a word count for their papers because they know that everyone will be using the same font and font size. Therefore, nobody can use a larger font size and end up having to write less than the other students.

There are certain requirements to writing in the APA style. Here are some of the basic guidelines to follow. You will have to refer to the APA publication book to get specific formatting for resources. There are some online databases that will format the citations in the APA format automatically. You can use these if you don’t have access to the publication book.


Basic Formatting Requirements:

  1. The paper should be the standard letter size of eight and a half inches by eleven inches.
  2. There should be a one inch margin on all four sides.
  3. You need to use Times New Roman font with the font size of 12.
  4. The entire paper should be double spaced.
  5. Each paragraph should be indented.
  6. Sources are cited in text as (author, date of publication).
  7. The paper should contain a title page with the name of the paper, name of the author, university name, course name, instructor’s name, and date of publication.
  8. There should be a reference page at the end. It should be on a separate page and not bleed into the body of the paper.
  9. There should be a heading at the top of every page. The title should be flush to the left and the page number should be flush to the right.

There are also specific guidelines for abbreviations, presentation of statistics, and construction of tables. For more information, please refer to the guide.

These are the basic guidelines for writing in the APA format. You should memorize this list so that you can set your paper up every time. Once you learn the basic formatting style, you will be able to set your paper up quickly before you start writing.

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