How to Use APA Format

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) style of writing has been adapted and used as a writing guideline worldwide.

The APA style focuses on writing with simplicity, power, and concision; it refers to the editorial style that social and behavioral sciences have adapted to present written material in the field.

The style is largely used for term papers, research reports, literature reviews, case studies, methodological articles, and empirical studies. This article looks at the general format of APA research papers.

Things you will need

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Main body
  • References


  1. Format the paper to your essay double-spaced lines and margins are to be set to 1” on all sides.
  2. The standard font to use is Times Roman Numeral at 10-12 pt or other serif typeface
  3. The title page will have the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation. The title must be typed using both uppercase and lowercase letters, centered in the upper half of the page.
  4. The author’s name goes in the line below the title: first name, middle initial(s), and last name.
  5. In the following line type the institutional affiliation; this indicates the location of the research.
  6. On the following page center the word Abstract on the first line. Do not use bolds, italics, and underlines.
  7. On the next line begin a summary of the key research points to include: topic, questions, participants, research methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. The abstract is done in a single paragraph.
  8. The body of the paper will include the introduction, method, results, and discussion. Align the text to the left and indent (1/2”) the first line of each paragraph.
  9. Keep track of all sources and collect the required information to cite them properly.
  10. Include all citations in the reference list. The reference list contains the authors’ names, publication dates and data, and the title of the work.


  • Include a header at the top of each page.
  • Write an abstract that is 150-250 words in length.
  • You may include an italicized list of keywords in the abstract.
  • Use sans serif typeface for figure labels, e.g. Arial.
  • When writing about individual’s roles in experiments, use language that portrays them as active participants.


  • Do not use more than twelve words for your title and do not use abbreviations.
  • Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (Ph.D.) for the author’s name.