How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style
APA is a writing format that was set by the American Psychological Association. This style is most preferred by colleges and graduate schools. It is used for social sciences and is based on the idea that scientific papers discuss facts already proven to be true, and that the year in which a piece of work was published is important and should, therefore, be included in the in-text citations.
One of the basic elements of APA is that all text should be double-spaced. The document used should be standard-sized (8.5” x 11”). All margins should be set at 1”. The recommended font is Times New Roman at 12pt. This, however, may differ in accordance to given instructions. On every page, include a page header or running head. It shows a shortened version of the paper’s title in capital letters, as well as the page numbers.
Research papers written using APA style have four main sections. On the Title page is the paper’s title, student’s name, and the institution. The page header should look like this: “Running head: PAPER TITLE”, and should be flushed to the left, with the page number to the right. Note that in other pages, the page header looks like this; “PAPER TITLE” and is also flushed to the left, with the page number to the right.
The second section is the Abstract, which should also be on a distinct page. It too should have a page header. The topic “Abstract” should be centered with no bold text or any other form of formatting. This section highlights key points of the paper, and should be between 150 to 250 words long. You can also include your key words on the abstract page. The third section is the Main Body and the fourth one is the References page.
As is commonly known, when writing a paper one should always make sure to submit work that is 100% plagiarism free. This is achieved by paraphrasing and using parenthetical citations. Direct quotations are enclosed in quotation marks or are indented from the rest of the body. This is followed by an in-text citation to give reference to the work’s owner.
When in-text citations are being used, include the last name of the author, and then the year of publication. Do not forget to use a comma to separate items enclosed in parenthesis. When you use a direct quote, please add the exact page number relating to the text, e.g., (Hall, 2013, p. 87). All the sources used should then be listed on a separate References page, after the main part of the paper. Please refer to one of the several APA guideline websites available online, such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab, for further assistance on how to do this.
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