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How to Format an A.P.A. Style Paper

How to Format an A.P.A. Style Paper

Title Page, Abstract, Body, Tables, & References Page

(Sources used to create this page are:  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) & Purdue Online Writing lab)

Major Paper Sections:

Your essay should include four major sections: the Title PageAbstractMain Body, and References.


The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation (for you this would be St. Martin of Tours School).


Begin a new page. On the first line of the abstract page, center the word “Abstract” (no bold, italics, underlining, or quotation marks).

Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph double-spaced.

You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords.


Follow the format below for the body of your paper:

  1. Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″)
  2. 1″ margins on all sides.
  3. You should use a clear font that is highly readable; New Times font & 12 pt. is recommended.
  4. Include a page header  (also known as the “running head“) at the top of every page.
  • The running head is a shorter version of your paper’s title and cannot exceed

50 characters including spacing and punctuation.


Tables are a great way to display a great deal of information in a concise, clear and easy to read format.

In APA format papers, tables are generally used to describe the results of statistical analysis and other quantitative data. However, it is important to note that tables are not simply used to replicate data that has already been presented in the text of the paper and not all data should be presented in a table. If you have little numeric information to present, it should be described in the text of your paper.

Follow the format below for tables:

  1. Tables should be last, after your reference page and appendixes.
  2. Each table should have an individual title, italicized and presented with each word capitalized (except andinofwith, etc.). For example: Correlations Between Age and Test Scores
  3. All tables should be numbered (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, Table 3)
  4. Each table should begin on a separate page.
  5. Horizontal lines can be used to separate information and make it clearer. Do not use vertical lines in an APA format table.
  6. All elements of the table should be double spaced.
  7. All tables should be referenced in the text of the paper.
  8. Abbreviations for standard terms can be used without explanation. Uncommon definitions should be explained in a note below the table.


A list of sources (books, magazines & internet, etc.) that appears at the end of your paper, or is turned in with your project.  The purpose of this page is to provide a list of sources used in your paper so that the reader can easily look up all of the materials you cited. Begin the list on a new page and number the page.

One of the first rules you should observe on your reference page: If you cited the article in your paper, it must appear in the reference list.

Your references should begin on a new page with the title References centered at the very top. Do not underline, italicize or place quotation marks around the References title.

The A.P.A. format is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. The social sciences place an emphasis on the date a work was created.  The date is usually placed immediately after the author’s name.

Follow the format below for your reference page:

1.     Your references should be alphabetized by the last names of the first author of each source.

2.     All references should be double-spaced.

3.     Each reference should use a hanging indentation: the first line of the reference should be flush left, but each additional line of the reference needs to be     indented.

4.     In magazine/journal article titles, only the first letter should be capitalized. If a colon appears in the title, the first letter after the colon should also be capitalized. The title should not be placed in quotations, underlined or italicized.

5.     All major words in the title of a journal should be capitalized; i.e. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

6.     Longer works such as books and journals should appear in italics.

7.     The basic format of an online reference is very similar to that of any other reference. However, you do need to include the date the reference was retrieved from the Internet as well as the online location of the document.

Sample references page is below  …. It should be on a separate page at the end of your paper:




Battery. (1990). Encyclopedia britannica. (pp. 100-101). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.

Best batteries. (December 1994). Consumer Reports Magazine, 32, 71-72.

Booth, Steven A. (January 1999). High-Drain alkaline AA-batteries. Popular Electronics, 62, 58.

Brain, Marshall. How batteries work. howstuffworks. Retrieved August 1, 2006,


Cells and batteries. (1993). The DK science encyclopedia. New York: DK Publishing.

Dell, R. M., and D. A. J. Rand. (2001). Understanding batteries. Cambridge, UK: The Royal Society

of Chemistry.

Learning center. Energizer. Eveready Battery Company, Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2006,


Learning centre. Duracell. The Gillette Company. Retrieved July 31, 2006,