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Guidelines on how to Format a Paper in APA

If your professor requires from you to format your paper according to APA style guidelines, make sure that both the reference page and min body of the paper are formatted accordingly.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Use white letter-sized, or A4 paper (8 ½  x 11”).
  2. Ensure the margins on all sides are 2,54 cm (1”).
  3. At the top of each page, you should place a header, also known as “running head.”
  4. Each paragraph should be indented 1,27 cm (or 0,5”).
  5. The text should be double-spaced.
  6. Use size 12 Times New Roman font.

How to Create a Running Head?

  1. Insert page numbers and justify them to the right.
  2. In front of the page number, type the title of your paper (all letters should be capitalized).
  3. If your title is long, make sure to type the shortened version.

NB: on your title page, make sure to write “Running head:” before the actual title of your paper.

Paper Structure According to APA

As a rule, a paper consists of the following sections: a title page, an abstract page, the text of your paper (the main body), and a reference page.

  • Title Page

As a rule, a title page is the very first page of your paper. Make sure to provide a running head as well as indicate the title of your essay/ research paper, etc., your name, and the name of your educational establishment. Sometimes, an author’s note may be included as well.

The paper title should convey the core idea of the whole paper. However, keep in mind that you do not use abbreviations or terms that might be unknown and serve no informative purpose for many readers. Adjust the title to the center of the title page, type the title according to the basic requirements: font Times New Roman, size 12, double-spaced. Do not underline, italicize or bold the title.

It is allowed for your title to take up a maximum of two lines, but please do not write a title consisting of more than twelve words. When putting your name on the title, do not write any Ms, Mrs, Mr or Dr. In the line “Institutional affiliation,” please type the educational establishment where you carried out your research.

  • Abstract

The next after the title page comes the abstract. On the first line of the new page, type the word “Abstract” (without quotation marks in your paper). Center the word “Abstract.” From the next line start summarizing your paper. In other words, you provide a brief and concise overview of what your paper is about. You indicate the point and aim of your research, the central research question, mention the main points concerning methodology, and shortly present your findings and conclusions. Unlike the rest of the text, you do not indent the first line of the abstract. Write 150-250 words (preferable no more than 250 words). Sometimes, to help other researchers find your paper in the database more easily, indicate a list of keywords. As a rule, you provide them from the new line. Indent the work “Keywords,” italicize it, put a colon (:) and list your paper keywords.

  • Main Body

As soon as you have written the abstract, start organizing your main body paragraphs. Double-check whether you have the title written in the header. Then write the title directly on the page, center it. Do not bold, italicize or underline it.

  1. Start writing your paper with an introductory paragraph. Remember that you have to indent the first line of each body paragraph (the indention is 1,27 cm, or 0,5”). In the introduction, try to present the core aspect of problem discussed in the paper. Readers should be aware from the very first paragraph what you are writing about. As a rule, you start with some broad information and then narrow the focus down. Do not confuse the abstract with the introduction, and do not repeat the same information.
  2. Move on to discussing methodology of the paper. Center the main heading and put it in bold. If you have some subheadings (for smaller sections), left-align them and also write in bold.
  3. After you have thoroughly discussed the methodology, move on to the discussion and evaluation of results. If you have some graphical information (i.e. tables, diagrams, graphs), make sure to include it here as well.
  4. Move on to “Discussion” section, where you focus on the interpretation and evaluation of the acquired data and results.
  5. In the conclusive paragraph, briefly indicate the main aspects covered in the paper. Mention whether the thesis/ argument/ hypothesis was proven. Besides, mention if there are any study limitations. Moreover, provide recommendations regarding the future research.
  • References

Starting from the new page, enlist the sources you have used in the paper. Organize the list in the alphabetical order.

Double-check whether you have a running head with the title. Type “References,” bold the word and center it. Make sure that all entries are put in the correct order and are double-spaced.