APA-style Paper Format - Online Writing Lab

Centralia College
Writing Center
An Introduction to APA Style
Kemp 105: Hours vary
Faculty Coordinator: Linda G. Foss
English Department
Updated March 2014
APA Style Defined
APA refers to the American Psychological
Association, which determines
documentation style and format for
research. It is used primarily within the social
sciences, medical fields and education, but
may be used in any discipline.
The Writing Center relies
on the sixth edition of the
Publication Manual of the
American Psychological
Association (2010) for the
most current information.
The manual is available
in the Writing Center.
APA Style
This presentation will cover:
• General APA guidelines
• Page format
• Section headings
• In-text citations
• Quotations and summaries
• Reference page citations
Rule #1: Ask Your Instructor
Always follow your instructor’s
guidelines and don’t be afraid to
ask for information,
samples or reliable
reference guides.
Format: General Guidelines
• Margins: One inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, right)
• Font: 12-point Times New Roman
• Line Spacing: Double-space the entire paper
• Spacing after Punctuation: Space once after all punctuation
• Alignment: Flush left (creating uneven right margin)
• Paragraph Indentations: 5 spaces (or standard ½” tab)
• Paper: Use plain white 8 ½ x 11-inch paper. Multiple pages are
stapled in the upper left-hand corner. Do not enclose in a binder or
Format: First Page
• If a title page is required, center the title, authors‘
names, course and date. Otherwise, no title page.
• Double space everything (including headings)
• Put a four-line heading flush left on top margin (your
name, instructor’s name, course, and date)
• Center the paper title (use standard caps but no
underlining, italics, quotation marks, or bold)
• Create a header ½” from the top of page with a
running head in caps on left and inserted page
number on right
Format: Section Headings
• APA papers are typically divided into major sections: Abstract,
Method, Results, and Discussion. These main headings should
appear centered, bold-face, and in upper and lower case.
• The introductory section to a paper does not require a
heading since it is assumed that the first section in your
document is an introduction.
• Top-down progression is used on headings; for example, if
there are three levels of headings, you would use Levels 1, 2,
and 3. (See examples on the next slide.)
Format: Heading Examples
Level 1
Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and
Lowercase Heading
Level 2
Flush Left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading
Level 3
Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading
ending with a period.
Level 4
Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading
ending with a period.
Level 5
Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending
with a period.
Format: Quotations
Short quotations should be blended into sentences:
• According to some, dreams express “profound aspects of
personality” (Foulkes, 2005), though others disagree.
• According to the Foulkes study, dreams may express “profound
aspects of personality” (2005).
Quotations of 40 or more words should blocked:
• Start a freestanding block quotation on a new line
• Omit quotations marks
• Indent the block ½ inch from the left margin (like a new
• Paragraphs after the first are indented an additional ½ inch
Quotations: Editing Tips
Brackets indicate words added into quotations:
Jan Harold Brunvand, in an essay on urban legends, states:
“Some individuals [who retell urban legends] make a point of
learning every rumor or tale” (2003).
An ellipsis indicates omitted words:
In an essay on urban legends, Jan Harold Brunvand notes that
“Some individuals make a point of learning every recent rumor
or tale . . . and in a short time a lively exchange of details
occurs” (2003).
Citations: Parenthetical Style
• “Whether paraphrasing, quoting an author directly, or
describing ideas that influenced your work, you must credit
the source” (APA, 2010, p.170).
• APA uses a parenthetical, author-date citation system that
provides enough information in parentheses for the source to
be located on the alphabetical reference list at end of paper.
• Information within the parenthetical citations depends on the
medium and whether page numbers are visible.
Citations: Parenthetical Style
In-text Example:
Although Russia has regained her autonomy and independence
economically in recent years, many citizens are silent in their public
opinion (Coleman & McCulloch, 1990).
Corresponding References Entry:
Coleman, P.G. & McCulloch, A.W. (1990). Societal change, values
and social support: Exploratory studies into adjustment in late
life. Journal of Aging Studies, 4(4), 321-332.
Format: References Page
• Begin on a new page
• Center the heading: References.
• Double space
• Align the first line of each citation on left margin
• Use ½-inch indent for the second and subsequent
Format: References Page
• Sources are listed alphabetically by whatever name or
major word begins the citation. The listing must
correspond to the parenthetical citations within the
• First and middle names are indicated with initials only
• Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized in
article titles
• Publication and book titles are italicized
Format: Citing Books
Author, A. (year). Title of book. Location: Publisher.:
Burns, N. (2002). The Chaos Theory. New York: Norton.
Editor, A. (year). Title of book. Location: Publisher.
Wallace, S. (2010). History of the World. London:Pearson.
Author, A. (year). Title of book. URL.:
Smith, T. (2012). America. Retrieved from http://www.
University of Maryland.edu.
Format: Citing Websites
Title of article (Date). Retrieval information:
New child vaccine gets funding boost. (2001).
Retrieved March 21, 2001, from
Title of webpage (Date). Retrieval information:
Learn APA Style. (2012). Retrieved November 7,
2012, from http://www.apastyle.org/learn/
Format: Citing Periodicals
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of
article. Title of Online Periodical, volume and issue number.
Retrieved from URL:
Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living Web. A List
Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 149. Retrieved
from http://www.alistapart.com
Author(s) (Date of publication). Title of Article. Title of
Periodical, Volume (Issue), pages. Medium of publication.
Clark, G. (2001). No more aches and pains. Woman’s Day,
65(1), 54-56. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com
Format: Citing Lectures and
Canvas Notes
• Lecture:
Professor. (Date/Quarter). Title and Course. Class Lecture.
College Name and Location.:
Foss, L. (2014, Spring Quarter). Documenting Sources. English
102. Class Lecture. Centralia College, Centralia, WA.
• Canvas Notes:
Professor. (Date/Quarter). Title and Course. URL.:
Foss, L. (2014, Spring Quarter). Documenting Sources. English
102. Retrieved from https://centralia.instructure.com/courses.
For comprehensive information about
APA style, visit the Writing Center in
Kemp 105 or online at
You may also visit
the APA website at

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