Composing a Research Paper in APA Writing Format: Find an Example

The American Psychological Association, or APA, style format is the standard way to cite sources in the social sciences and psychology fields. There are some standards one should be able to follow within any of these fields and turn in an acceptable research paper. There are plenty of examples online but, generally, and APA research paper should have the following:

Spacing: Your research paper should always be double-spaced on a standard 8.5” x 11” paper. Be sure to set your margins 1” all around, and it’s recommended you use a clear font such as 12 pt. Times New Roman or Calibri.

Page Header: This should be included into the top of every page. The standard for this is putting the page number in the header flush right, then putting in your research paper’s title flush left in capital letters. Your title should be a shortened version of the full title and shouldn’t exceed 50 characters with punctuation and spacing.

Title Page: Unlike other format styles, APA research papers do require a title page. It should contain the your research paper’s title, your name, and the institution you are associated with (e.g., college/university, research institution, etc.). This information should be entered in order about one-third of the page down.

Abstract: This section is the most different from other style formats, as it summarizes what your research work is about. It’s important in these fields because it gives your audience a clue about whether your research is related and adds to their work. Be sure your abstract includes the following components such as your research paper’s topic, the questions you have and are answering, your methods, your analysis of the data, and your conclusions.

Citations: All citations need to be referenced and follow this format: contributors’ name(s) according to the last edited date, title of the source and where it was found. Ideally, your research content all comes from credible academic sources which include the citation information fairly easily.

The above is a basic guideline of what goes into an APA research paper, but it’s always a good idea to review a couple of samples before putting your own research paper together. In addition to consulting your instructor, you can always find samples online or from published works. After review be sure to identify those parts that are different from other types of papers and you’ll find just what makes APA the preferred citation format in these fields.