Step-by-Step Guide to Correct APA Essay Format


Step-by-Step Guide to Correct APA Essay Format

The APA formatting and referencing style mean the style of academic works suggested by the American Psychological Association. It is not surprising that the majority of tutors in many disciplines require students to present their submissions in the APA essay format. To help you out, we are presenting a detailed manual valuable to those thinking of how to write an essay in APA format. Use our recommendations and you will never experience problems with score deduction because of poor referencing.

Introduction to APA Essay Format: General Rules

Starting the discussion of APA rules, one should note what the assignment should generally be. Here are some common guidelines on arranging the space:

The initial part is the title page of your text. It should contain your name, the name of your educational establishment, and the specific title of the paper. Don’t forget about the running head; it should be included on the title page.

apa style

After that comes an abstract; it is mandatory in APA assignments

apa style

After the abstract, you may see some APA essay format examples with an outline and/or table of contents. They are optional and should be in the paper (if the tutor asks you to include them).

The text of your assignment. It should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides of the paper. A4 paper standard is desirable in academic submissions. Include the title of the paper at the top, and mind that the running head is present on text pages – without the words “running head”. Text should be left-aligned.  

apa style

The final page of your paper is the reference list. Include citations of sources you consulted during the work’s completion into this list to avoid accusations of plagiarism or originality problems with Turnitin.

apa style

In-Text Referencing of APA Essay Format

Any research essay format APA has to contain references to credible external sources; this will prove that you have conducted in-depth research and have used reliable evidence from experts in writing of your paper. Such thorough preparation and proper use of quotes will give you much higher chances to get a good grade.

The latest version of APA that authors should use is the 6th edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, its second reprinting. It contains exhaustive information about how to organize in-text citations, titles, top and bottom running heads, etc. In summary, the in-text citation principle of APA is an author-date citation style. If you cite a book written by Jane Kristen published in 2008, you should present it:

  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celcius (Kristen, 2008).
  • Or: According to Kristen (2008), water boils at 100 degrees Celcius.

If there are two to five authors in your cited work; if you want to cite some work of Kate Johnson and Eric Frost written in 2017 (or maybe Maria White also contributed a couple of pages), you should use the ampersand symbol before the last name:

  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celcius (Johnson & Frost, 2017)
  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celcius (Johnson, Frost, & White, 2017)

If you mention names of authors in the text, not in parentheses, there is no need in ampersand – use “and”:

  • Johnson and White (2017) claim that water boils at 100 degrees Celcius.
  • Johnson, White, and Frost (2017) claim that water boils at 100 degrees Celcius.

If you cite ideas from another author’s work word by word, then you should give all referencing information including the page number. Such a source should be listed as follows:

  • Every year, over 200 Americans die of the “ill-researched and over-represented disease of the heart” – stroke (Davidson, 2008, p. 16).

If you mention the author’s name directly in the sentence, then give the page number of parenthesis like this:

  • Every year, as Davidson (2008, p. 16) indicated, over 200 Americans die of the “ill-researched and over-represented disease of the heart” – stroke.

These are main rules of using APA referencing, for more details and formatting of more complicated cases (sources without authors, without titles, online sources, sources without a publication date, sections of personal communication, etc.) consult the extended version of the APA manual.

Your Reference List in APA Style  

As you can see in any APA essay format template, a paper citing at least one external source should have a reference section at the end. The APA reference list should be formatted in line with all APA conventions so that your score on the APA assignment is high. Note that unlike the APA work’s body text in which the first line is indented 0.5 inches and the test of text is not indented, each APA reference starts with zero indentation and all its subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches. Here are guidelines on frequently cited types of resources in APA style:

  • Do not capitalize titles of articles, books, etc. Capitalize only the names of sources from which you took it – if it is a book, then the publisher data, if it is a journal article – then the journal’s title.
  • Italicize the titles of books and online magazine/news/website articles. When citing periodicals (both print and online), italicize the name of the periodical only.
  • When citing online resources, don’t indicate the date of retrieval, but always give the link.
  • Reference your sources in alphabetical order.
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