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APA Style Topic Guide: APA Formatting

Manuscript Structure

APA dictates application of specific standards which include elements of the content as well as layout of the paper/manuscript.  Following these strict rules may be tedious and cumbersome, but they provide a uniform structure which allows for easier reading.

Page Formatting

  • Use 12 pt Times New Roman Font
  • Set 1” Margins on All Four Sides
  • Double Space
  • A Running Head Must Be at the Top of Every Page (see example title page below)

Major Components of a Paper

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
    • Introduction
    • Method
    • Results
    • Discussion
  • References
  • Appendices

Title Page

  • Header example: Running head: FULL TITLE ALL CAPS (considered a short title, because it does not include the sub-title and should be no longer than 12 words - it can not exceed 50 characters)
  • The page header is set to the top left of the page
  • Pages are numbered at the top right of the page, starting with the title page as page 1
  • In the upper half of the page include the following information centered: Paper title (no abbreviations), Author’s name, and Institutional affiliation
  • (An author's note in the bottom half of the page is only used for publication)

From:  Basics of APA Style Tutorial,

Abstract Pg.

Excerpted from Purdue OWL:  APA General Format,

Main Body

  • Number the first text page as page number 3 (remember to keep your header on the left)
  • Type and center the full title of the paper at the top of the page - first main body page only; subsequent pages will only have the header and page number at the top
  • Indent the beginning of paragraphs
  • Type the text double-spaced with all sections following each other without a break between paragraphs
  • Identify the sources you use in the paper in parenthetical, in-text citations
  • Format tables and figures

Paper Organization

  • Headings
  • Lists
  • Tables
  • Figures
  • Etc.

From:  Basics of APA Style Tutorial,

Text Rules - Various Details to Look Up as Necessary

Found in "The Mechanics of Style" (APA Manual, 2009, chap. 4)

  • Punctuation marks
  • Capitalization
  • Rules for writing abbreviations
  • When to write numbers as words
  • Presentation of quotations
  • Spelling
  • Italics
  • Etc.
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