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Your Helpful Reference to Master the Art of How to Write a APA Paper


When you get any task to perform a college paper, you know that it will be a complicated job. Even when you complete the piece and proofread it to get rid of any minor issue, it won’t be the end. You have one more essential step that is formatting the paper. 

Academic formatting styles are sets of regulations that define how the ready academic paper must look. These rules appeal to the fonts, intervals, indents, cover pages, and all the essential elements of a college paper. However, the most crucial thing is formatting in-text citations and bibliography lists. Correct formatting is not just the sign of you being a proficient researcher – it is the best protection from plagiarism. 

Knowing the formatting rules is vital for writing college papers. But more troubles arise because there is more than one academic formatting style. All styles have some standard features, as well as genuine differences. 

It can be problematic to learn all the rules, so it’s always better to keep the guidelines on different styles at hand. At the same time, learning some peculiarities is a guarantee that you won’t waste your time searching for the right manual. 

The formatting style that you definitely need to learn thoroughly is APA. It is the most popular and applicable style – many colleges even use it by default for all types of work. In this article, we’ve gathered the principal regulations on this style for you to understand how to write a APA paper.

The APA style scope and specific features 

The APA formatting style is a work of the American Psychological Association. The traditional scope of the rules is the Social sciences like sociology, history, psychology, as well as educational and business studies. 

One of the distinctive features is that it focuses on many non-book sources. With the help of APA format, you can fix the references from videos, web articles, digital books, and so on.  

The APA format application to the papers’ elements

Applying the APA regulations to the text of your article is, perhaps, the most straightforward task. The version of an academic paper in this format should match the following criteria:

  • Times New Roman font of 12 pt size
  • Margins from every side – 1 inch
  • New paragraph margin – half-inch extra
  • Double line spacing 

You can make a working template for all texts if you use the Microsoft Word text editor for your papers. It allows applying all these rules to the full file in one click. Or, remember these criteria – they are concise and straightforward. Besides, these regulations match most of the other formatting styles.

However, there will be more specific features. The important elements you should take care of are the following:

  • The title page;
  • The abstract;
  • The list of references; 
  • The in-text citations.

The title page in APA

Works in APA format should have separate cover pages with the essential information about the paper. The goal is to quickly explain the topic and the main idea of your work to the audience. Also, it defines the authorship of the paper.

The mandatory elements of the title page are: 

  • The title of the work – it must be short, easy-to-read, and explaining the topic;
  • The name of the author;
  • The school;
  • The course name and number;
  • The name of the instructor;
  • The date.   

Formatting the Abstract section 

An Abstract is also a distinctive feature of the APA format. It located right after the cover page, and its goal is to summarize the paper. 

The size of this section is small – about 100-200 words (though it can exceed the number if required). It should present the topic and the main idea of the paper to explain them to any reader. Ideally, it must be clear to any audience without the necessity to refer to other sources. 

The abstract serves as a work preview, and the audience can decide if they proceed to read the rest of the paper. 

The APA References section 

The bibliography list is a crucial part of any academic work. You have to note all sources you used for your paper. The unnoted citation is plagiarism – the most dreadful of all academic sins. It can ruin your career for good, so you need the bibliography section with proper formatting. Incorrect formatting is a grave mistake, as well.

That’s why most of the formatting styles’ guidelines dedicate the significant part to the correct formatting of the bibliography lists and in-text citations. 

The general rules of the APA bibliography section are as follows: 

  • The section is called References. Don’t put it in quotation marks, don’t use bold or italics, or any other means to highlight this word. It is just one word that starts with a capital letter.
  • The References section must start from the new page. The title is at the top of the page, and in the center. 
  • The list sources must in alphabetical order and sorted by the author’s name.
  • Each source must include the author’s name. In case you refer to several works by the same author, you sort these listings chronologically within the “author’s” section. The newest work must be on the top of that list. 
  • Use the left indent to separate the additional lines under the first line of the source’s title – the TAB key serves for that. 

The above rules concern the general “look” of the References list. However, if you need to write a APA paper, the most sophisticated task is to format each reference. The catch is that you must put all integral elements into the right order. Besides, there are strict rules for using capital letters and italics.

  • The author’s name format in APA:

For the name of the writer, you need the last name and initials. The correct format is as follow, and note the commas, periods, and spaces: 

Last name, the first initial. 

Note that the first initial is mandatory; further initials are optional. 

e.g., Abrahamson, M.

  • The full reference’s format in APA: 

When you present the full source, the string must look as shown below. Note that each symbol is obligatory. You need to put each comma, period, colon, and parentheses according to the formula:

The last name of the writer, initial(-s). (Year of publishing) Title formatted, as stated in the grammar rules, in italics. Place of publication: The publisher

e.g., Abrahamson, M. (2014) Urban sociology: a global introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

  • The in-text citation format

You must note each of the references in the bibliography list. But also you have to mark all references in the text of the document. Whether you present a direct citation, or paraphrase it, or just mention that some authoritative source also dealt with the same issue, you must note the reference.

If you cite someone’s words directly, define the last name of that writer and the year of the definite work’s publication, and the page number where the original citation is. Include these details into parenthesis and locate them right after your reference:

e.g., (Desay, 2019, p.458)

If you use the paraphrased citation, mention the writer’s last name and state when the source was published. These details must also be in parenthesis: 

e.g.: (Walmsley-Hall, 2019)

The good news about learning how to write a APA paper is that the rules are strict, and you only need to learn them once. However, it would be better to note these strings formulas and refer to them each time you format your college paper. Incorrect formatting does severe damage to your work, and you can’t afford to make a mistake. 

To help the students, web developers create various “generators of citations.” The online apps let you enter the required data about each source into the form, and then the application generates the precise string. 

Or, you can refer to our professional service and let our experienced editors format your paper and do all the other tasks to make it perfect. We can even write it for you from scratch.

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