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What Does It Mean to Write a Research Paper in APA Format?

21 November 2020

The American Psychological Association studies social sciences (sociology, law, psychology, history). The APA style is a set of rules designed to make reading social and behavioral sciences easier to understand. The American Psychological Association’s Publication Guidelines provide guidelines for every aspect of writing, especially in the social sciences, from attribution to spreadsheet construction, to avoid plagiarism and build accurate reference citations.

APA style is the style of citation authorization of bibliographic descriptions in a bibliography. This style was developed for use in psychology, education in other disciplines. The APA style quote can be formatted in two ways: as an internal text quote in the appropriate place in the text of the document and a later text list of sources of citations or references.

APA style implies using links in the text of the work every time you cite a source, be it a paraphrase, a quote within a line, or a blockquote. An internal link contains information about: the author of the work, cited, year of publication, and page spacing (page numbers from which the quotation is given). 

Now that you are familiar with this association, let’s look at how to formulate a research paper in APA format. These recommendations are based on all format rules. If you want to make your changes, this is prohibited because the paper must comply with the established citation and formatting framework.

How to Prepare a Research Paper in APA Format?

To draw up an APA style document, it is enough to adhere to the established rules for paperwork. The formatting guidelines do not differ much from other writing styles. Let’s take a look at the rules for how to formulate an academic paper:

  • To create the document, you must select the white paper with a standard size of 8.5 “x 11”;
  • In APA style, you need to install a font that is easy to read. Namely, it is recommended to use Times New Roman font with size 12;
  • When preparing the title page and the entire work, you must set a double spacing. It is prohibited to change the spacing in any part of the document;
  • All pages of the paper must have a 1-inch margin;
  • All indents between paragraphs should be one-half margins;
  • Each page should have a title in the form of a crawl line and a page number. The name of the creeping line should be typed in large capital letters. When writing the title of the title page, you must adhere to the same rule, but you do not need to number the page;
  • The running line is an obligatory element since it was created so that the reader does not get entangled in the document’s main idea;

APA Title Page Design Rules

If you need to do a research paper, then the first thing to do is form the title page (the MLA format does not use the title page). APA format is demanding regarding the design of the first page. The requirements are not complicated, but if you do not adhere to them, then it is not a fact that the job will be accepted:

  1. The title of the document must be written in the middle of the page.
  2. The title of the article can contain as many words as it sees fit. But APA also recommends to get rid of unnecessary information and write no more than 10-12 words.
  3. The title page must be double spaced. The name of the creator of the document must be placed by title. The author’s data contains only the first and last name without indicating a scientific degree.
  4. Below you must indicate the name of the educational institution for which you are writing the article.
  5. It is necessary to indicate the same abbreviated title of the study.

Abstract in APA Format

An integral element of an APA paper is to write an abstract. This element has its own goals; read them to avoid mistakes:

  • the abstract introduces the reader to the ideas that the author described in the paper;
  • the abstract gives a summary of the research if the reader does not have time to view the entire article;
  • the abstract gives information on abbreviations and terminology when present in the document.

Requirements for abstract formatting: when forming this part of the document, you must indicate “Abstract” in the middle of the page; the font must correspond to the entire document, namely the 12-pt Times New Roman font. After the section title has been formatted, write a text of at least 250 words, no indentation is required. It is necessary to describe all the work in small paragraphs while highlighting the keywords in bold italics.

With the help of an abstract, the reader can easily find your document and understand whether the necessary information is worth reading the entire document, what data is present, and what methods were used.

Body in APA Format

The American Psychological Association does not restrict the writer in words or sections when writing the main body. The writer is allowed to use as many headings, paragraphs, chapters, sections as it needs.

The first paragraph of any section should contain the thesis or question on which you are doing the research. In contrast, you do not need to highlight it in bold italics; you need to separate it punctually from the information that you will write next. Yet each section must be highlighted in bold italics so that you can immediately see where the new part ends or begins so that the text does not look like continuous information.

Citation and References in APA Format

By the requirements of the APA (7th ed.). The page with the list of used sources should be designed according to the following rules:

  • margins: 1 inch (2.54 cm) all around;
  • double line spacing;
  • font, readable, for example: sans serif font “Calibri” (size 11), “Arial” (size 11), “Lucida Sans Unicode” (size 10) or serif “Times News Roman” (size 12), “Georgia “(Size 11),” Computer Modern “(size 10);
  • text alignment to the left.

The list of references should start on a new page. The heading with the list of sources should center on the page and in bold. The title is called “References.” Sources in the APA Bibliography (7th ed.) Allocate alphabetically from A to Z by the author’s last name.

If you used a citation inside a string, then it is enclosed in quotes. The author’s surname may appear: in the sentence itself, then after it, in parentheses, the year of publication is indicated, and after the quote in parentheses, the page interval must indicate; in brackets after the quotation, together with the year of publication and page spacing.

A block citation is supplied in the text on a new line from the paragraph for the whole quote; it is not accepted in quotes. Line spacing is double. The quotation text followed by a period and the source indicated in parentheses.


Usually, students format texts after writing and miss the details. It is crucial to create a format of paper before writing and double-check it afterward. It won’t give you additional points. Yet, the admission officer will understand that you were dedicated to the task.

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