When a teacher asks you to write an essay, they want to check what knowledge you have gained during a course as well as writing skills. And one of the tasks of the very writing is the right formatting. There are a few formatting styles, which are APA, MLA, Turabian, and Harvard. The former two are most common, but they differ from each other.
APA, or American Psycological Assiciation, is mostly used for humamities papers, for example ones on psychology, phylosophy, sociology etc. APA is more complex than MLA. And we are going to explain why.
Every paper should have a decent bibliography and in-text citations. The APA bibliography is called References. They usually cite phrases in the text taken from the sources used for writing. Students should do that to avoid plagiarism issues, which may lead to failing the course.
American Psychological Association made up their own formatting style so that it would be easier to tell humanities papers from technical ones (precise sciencess, business etc.). But APA has gained popularity beyond humanities and spread to other fields, for instance publishing.
APA basic formatting rules
In fact, every page is formatted the same way except for the title and references pages. They have some peculiarities.
All papers should be only typed and double-spaced. Margins are one inch, no more, no less. The font is stricted to Times New Roman or Arial (12pt sharp). The text is black. No bold or italics except for headings and titles.
The running head on the title page should consist of the full title of your paper and go in capital letters. On the rest of the pages running head should go without the very phrase “Running head”. If the title is too long, you can make it shorter (50 characters max). Pages should be numbered in the right corner.
APA paper structure
The usual structure of an APA styled paper is the following.
- Title page
- Main body
The teacher will give you a certain number of sources to use. If you do not have some, you will have to carry out research. There are two types of research, qualitative and quantitative. Which one to choose, depends on your aim and a type of paper.
APA title page should look like this.
Opinion Essay on Greenhouse Effect
Mind the running head at the top of every page.
Taking into consideration your subject and main idea, you should make up a catchy title. As for a research paper, a title should be concise and understandable. It should not necessarily sound interesting. It should represent what the paper is going to be about and ideas are dwelled on there.
Another part is an abstract. It is a summary of your paper. You should provide the reader with information on a subject of research, its importance, and your findings. An abstract should contain a research topic, research question(s), methods, and outcomes. APA requirements to an abstract is no more than 250 words. The best would be one-third of a page. You may also include keywords.
Last but not least, how should references be listed? It is a big problem for those who has never dealt with APA style. Of course, you should consult a professional. Or you may try to do it on your own.
Start with the author. Provide their last name(s) and initials.
Provide the date of publication.
Provide the title of a source (write it in italics).
Provide the publisher’s place and name.
If you know details, provide the volume, number of issue, pages where a citation is taken from, full URL etc.
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