How do You Write a Research Paper in APA Format

APA stands for American Psychological Association, and it is a writing format that has specific rules for writing research papers.  APA style is one of two most used writing formats, most commonly for research papers that are scientific in nature.  Here is a guideline for the most popular aspects that answer the question, how do you write a research paper in APA format?

All Pages of the Research Paper

  • Should use a 12pt commonly used readable font. 
  • All pages of the paper should have a 1” margin on top, bottom and sides.
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  • The whole paper should be double spaced. 
  • Each page should contain a title header that is a shortened version of the papers title that does not exceed 50 characters with a page number.  The title header is aligned left, and the page number is aligned right.

The Front Page of the Research Paper

  • The front page is the title page.  It includes the full title of your paper, your name listed as its author and the institution associated with your research.
  • In the top half middle of the front page include your title, followed by your name and then followed by the institution.  All three should be on separate lines and centered. 
  • It is recommended that the title be up to 12 words, and it can, therefore, take up two lines. 
  • With your name, only include you first name, middle initial and last name.  Do not contain other identifying labels, such as degrees or titles.
  • Also includes the title header, but it is written in a little different way. Simply add “running head:” and then the title header.  It tells the reader what your continuous title header is.
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Sections That Must be Included

  • All sections of a scientific paper are expected.  Your paper must include the title page, abstract, introduction, participants, literature review, research methods and equipment used, conclusion and discussion and references.
  • The title page, abstract and references should each be on a separate sheet of paper.   The other sections (the main body) can flow together one right after the other with no regard to needing to enter a page break.

Citing Sources

  • Citing sources in APA format includes cited sources within the body of the research paper and includes a reference page at the end in alphabetical order for the cited sources.
  • Different types of references are written in different ways.  It is best to utilize an APA chart or listing on how to cite each type of source, as the requirements are numerous and specific. 

The rules in APA format may seem tedious and too exacting, however, keeping all scientific papers in the same style allows for a cohesive feel for the whole body of existing research. This allows readers to read the material efficiently.  When you are asked to write in APA format, it is understood that you will adhere to all of the rules exactly.  Therefore, always consult the latest, most current APA format reference manual.  The manual is large.  So, this guide outlines the most pertinent aspects to get you writing in good APA style format.