APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines
Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.
- Use white 8 ½ x 11” paper.
- Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
- The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
- APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
- Double space the entire research paper
- Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
- To create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
- Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
- If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper
Sample running head/page header
APA Paper Components
Your essay should include these four major sections:
- Title Page
- Main Body
This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above.
*Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capitals. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:
- The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose
- It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
- Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
- All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay
- Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
- The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research
Sample Title page:
On the following page, begin with the Running title.
- On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
- On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
- This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
- If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.
Sample Abstract page:
On the following page, begin with the Body of the paper.
- Start with the Running title
- On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
- Begin with the introduction. Indent.
- The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based. It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
- Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
- Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle. The Results section summarizes the data. Use graphs and graphs to display this data.
- Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
- Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
- Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
- Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author’s/authors’ name(s) and the publication year. In APA format page numbers are not used in in-text citations.
Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).
For more information about how to cite properly please see EasyBib’s guides for APA citations based on the sources you are using.
Sample Body page:
On a new page, write your references.
- Begin with a running title
- Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
- Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
- Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.
Sample Reference Page:
APA Title Page Templates
Instant download, professional APA format samplesWhen you are writing a paper in the American Psychological Association (APA) style, you should be following some general instructions for the formatting. For reference on the proper structure, the full guidelines are in the APA Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The APA title page can be created with the free title page templates offered here, and with the recommendations below.
APA Cover Page Format
- Line spacing– Double Spaced
- Font– This should be an easy-to-read serif font for your text. APA recommendation is Times New Roman if your institution doesn’t specify a different font.
- Font Size– 12 point
- Margins– One-inch all around
Running HeadThink of this as your abbreviated title. According to the American Psychological Association blog, this is a short title that should be at the top of every page. This page header’s purpose is twofold:
- Identification– identifying the page for the reader in case of page separation
- Anonymity– keeping the author nameless during the review process if submitting the paper for publication
- Typed in all capital letters
- Placed in the header, flush left
- Prefix it with the words “Running head:” (remember the colon) on the cover page only
- No more than 50 characters long, including spaces
Page NumberEach of the pages of your APA style paper will have a page number following the below rules
- Placement: top right corner in header of the page with the running head
- Numbering: begin with 1 on the title page
- Justification: right justified
APA Cover Page SectionsAccording to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, your APA essay title page should contain three major sections. All information in these lines should be:
- Double spaced
- Use both upper and lower case text
- Use the same easy-to-read serif font either specified by the institution or the APA recommended Times New Roman in 12 point.
APA Paper TitleThe title should follow the below instructions:
- Not be more than 12 words long
- May take up to two lines on your paper if need be.
- Avoid the use of abbreviations
- Unlike references and titles of work you are citing within the body of your essay, the title of your paper must not be boldface or in italics.
Name of the AuthorThis will be the only place that you put your name so your paper can be anonymous when submitting it for review for publication without the title page. There is no need to put anything other than your name on this line, and it should be as follows:
- The author’s full name, including their middle initial
- Placed under the title
- Do not to include titles or degrees after the name
Institutional AffiliationUnder the author byline should be the institutional affiliation where the author conducted the research for the APA style paper. Again, just the name of the institution is required, without any descriptive text preceding it.
Free APA Title Page ExamplesSee below to download the template, and start putting together your essay in the correct APA Paper Format. This portion of your work should be fairly simple to put together, once you have read through these guides and are using one of the title page templates. At apastyle.org, you can get more instructions on writing the title page, as well as how to put together your reference list and other parts of the essay.
Typical APA Style Term Paper
This is free sample of a Typical APA Style Term Paper.
Typical APA Style Term Paper where title appears in the middle of the page.
Two Authors, Same Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Two Authors and the same Affiliation.
Two Authors, Two Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Two Authors and Two Affiliations.
Three Authors, Two Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Two Affiliations.
Three Authors, Three Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Three Affiliations.
Three Authors, Same Affiliations for the first and third authors
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Same Affiliation for the first and third authors.
One Author, One Affiliation
APA Style Term Paper with One Author and One Affiliation.