Essay: How to Write an APA Paper


There are many different ways to write a paper, this is a research paper on how to write an APA formatted paper. The objective is after a person reads this paper they will have no questions on how to write a proper APA paper. Some key points contained in this paper are how to write a cover page, what an abstract is and how it should be written, how the body of the paper should look, references, citations, and in-text citations, why the APA format is preferred over other writing styles, and who are the people that primarily use APA formatting. This information will be obtained by using different references such as different internet sites, books, and possibly news articles to make sure I am giving the most accurate information possible.

Keywords: APA, Formatting

How to Write and APA Paper

How to write an APA formatted paper, first you start with the cover or title page. The cover or title page should include a “running head” and your title in the top left hand corner, followed by the page number in the top right hand corner. According to Owl Purdue “The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation” (Paiz et al., 2014). The running head only goes on your title page followed by your title. After the title page you no longer need the running head just the title of your paper as the header. Owl Purdue states, “Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.” (Paiz et al., 2016)

Next is the abstract of your paper, the abstract is very simple, it is a summary of your paper followed by a few key words. You will start your abstract on a separate new page. This page will also have a header in the top left hand corner and a page number in the top right hand corner. Just below the header in the center of the page will be the word “Abstract”, this word should not be bolded, italicized, and or underlined. Bill Atkinson states, “Write the Abstract as a single paragraph of 150 to 250 words that summarizes the research. This should include the initial hypothesis, an outline of the data and its analysis, and a summary of conclusions. Further investigations and implications of the research should also be indicated. If appropriate, include a “Keyword” section at the bottom that lists keywords separated by commas.” (Atkinson 2011)

Next comes the body of paper, this is where all of the information is held, everything from statistics, to who was involved in the research. Like the rest of the paper each page of the body should have a header, and the body should be in 12 Times New Roman font with a 1” margin from all borders, and double spaced. Expect for the abstract, all paragraphs in the paper should be indented. According to Atkinson the body of the APA paper should include, “The “Introduction” which outlines the research problem and how the author decided to work with that problem. The “Method” outlines in detail how the experiment was run, including selecting the experimental population, the experimental treatments and the collection of data. The “Results” section reports on the before and after testing” (Atkinson 2011) When using quotes from other

people, websites, books, journals and so on in the body, you need to include an in-text citation. This is the in-text citing guidelines from Owl Purdue, “A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word “and” between the authors’ names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses.

A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source. Use the word “and” between the authors’ names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses. In subsequent citations, only use the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” in the signal phrase or in parentheses.” (Paiz et al., 2014)

Finally, references, references are where the in-text citations (explained above) come from. Your references should be on the last page of your paper, on their own separate page. References are to provide your reader with the the location of where you got your information. Some things in the reference will be the author or authors, the publication date, and the website, book or journal. Some basic rules of references by Owl Purdue are, “All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation. Authors’ names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author’s name. After the ellipses, list the last author’s name of the work. Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work. (Paiz et al., 2013) References and citations can be tricky but are vital to ensuring you are giving credit where the credit is due.

Numerous times students have been asked to write a research paper, some instructors are lenient and tell their students to write how they please. Other instructors may request a specific format, APA or MLA are some examples. In this research paper I will be using APA formatting to properly explain how to write and APA paper. APA style papers are primarily used for research papers because they are very uniform, information is easy to find and information can be found just by scanning. According to Why we “Speak” APA in Academics by Audra Spicer, “APA style is the expected standard in higher education and research papers to ensure sources are cited properly.” (Spicer 2017) Using correct APA format gives you more credibility as a writer, you have proven to your instructors and those reading your paper that you are educated, you can speak the language of academics.

APA format is primarily used in the academic and professional fields by instructors, students, chemists, and the list goes on. APA is used in education because it is very clear and to the point when writing a research paper. This type of format is used on a professional basis because it is a professional way of writing. Some examples would be a scientist trying to get a research paper published or peer reviewed, a journalist writing a hard evidence column, all the facts need to be in place and easy for the audience to read and understand.


Atkinson, B. (2011). How to Write a Research Paper in APA Style. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from

Paiz, J. M., Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., . .. Keck, R.

(2016, May 13). General Format. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from

Paiz, J. M., Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., . . . Keck, R.

(2014, December 01). Welcome to the Purdue OWL. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from

Paid, J. M., Anjeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., . . . Keck, R.

(2013, March 01). Welcome to the Purdue OWL. Retrieved July 07, 2017, from

Spicer, A. (2017, March 03). What is APA Style and Why Is It Important? | CSU-Global Campus.

Retrieved July 07, 2017, from

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