Learn and Master Bibliographies, Works Cited, and References

Creating a School Project in APA Style


In high school, your instructor typically asks you to write a critical essay or a short research paper on a current event or interesting person. Writing in MLA style and creating a Works Cited page for your references, works well for these papers.  However, if you take psychology or sociology classes in high school or college, you may be asked to write a paper using APA style.

Understanding APA Style

Developed by the American Psychological Association, this style is designed to create uniformity in social and behavioral science research. If papers are written using the same rules, it makes it easy for researchers to find information on these subjects.

Writing a paper in APA style is not just about creating citations and reference lists. The rules cover all parts of researching and writing a paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The style guide is updated regularly to account for new ways of thinking, especially in terms of gender and racial identities.

Students learning about APA research papers

Elements of an APA Paper

An APA Paper Includes:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Text of paper
    • Introduction
    • Body
    • Conclusion
  • Reference List
  • Tables
  • Figures
  • Appendices

How to Format Your APA Paper

  • Use Times New Roman 12 point font size
  • Use 1 inch margins – top, bottom, left, right
  • Use flush-left style – do not right justify.
  • Indent first line of each paragraph
  • Include a ‘running head’ on each page
  • Number each page starting with the cover page.
  • Page numbers are placed at the top of each page, flush right.
  • Double-space within the paper and the reference list.
  • Double-space after title, headings, footnotes, long quotations, references, and figure captions.

Note: A running head is an abbreviated form of the paper’s title.

As you organize for your school paper, remember to follow your instructor’s guidelines. Teachers usually have specific ways they want you to work on your paper. Paper requirements will be posted, including word length, topic choice and citation style.

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico. As Editor-in-Chief of SJSU School of Information SRJ. Adrienne guided the editorial team through the scholarly journal’s double-blind, peer reviewed process to provide quality, cited articles to library information and science researchers. Her passion for digital inclusion and information literacy led her to volunteer as a digital training team member of Librarians Without Borders. Adrienne has over 25 years of experience as a freelance writer and editor.

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