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.
Elements of an APA Paper
An APA Paper Includes:
- Title page
- Text of paper
- Reference List
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.