Full-Proof Guidance on APA Format Paper with Every Dos & Don’ts
APA format, since years, is one among the five unique styles of designing a research paper widely used by the high school pupils, grad students or even the PhD. scholars. Modifications are integral when it comes to APA style and the latest one corresponds with the 6th edition of the second printing.
American Psychological Association, abbreviated as APA, entails several guidelines that must be met entirely while drafting a research paper. Here, you can find all the nitty-gritty associated with APA format paper writing.
How to Organize Your Document in APA Format?
Needless to say, arranging a research paper in a globally accepted structure enhances the chances of its exposure to a great extent. With a professional look, your dissertation, not only obtains the highest grades but also, engages a larger demographic. In APA format, there are guidelines relating to paper length, margin, paragraphs, headings & sub-headings, wordings, and many more.
Guidelines for APA Template
1. How long should be the paper?
Given a trending topic, you may pull it off well-enough having ample knowledge on research paper writing. But, possibly you have no specific idea on the length of the paper. In APA format, convention is ‘less is more’ so, it is vital to get the points as precisely and explicitly possible. A direct and clear-cut flow of writing without any sort of embellishment is considered as a professional approach of drafting. Eliminating unnecessary details keeps the paper concise and shorter in length.
2. How to design the APA title page?
Being the initial page in your dissertation or essay paper, it must be organized appropriately. The Title page entails the following elements –
- Running Head
- Page Number
- Title of the Dissertation
- Author’s Name
- Institutional Affiliation
You can find an illustrative view of the Title page in the other blog concerning to APA format example.
3. What are the criterion’s for headings?
Headings serves the purpose of structuring a paper in subtle divisions organizing every bit of facts and data. Moreover, readers get a glimpse of the content of discussion if there is a rational heading. Generally, in APA style, the whole text is written in ‘Times New Roman’ with a font size of ‘12.’ But, the headings differ with each possessing distinct properties. Below, you can find a discussion on those properties.
- Heading 1: Defined as the title of the paper, this is the foremost heading and quite larger than the rest. Quite evidently, it should be aligned as ‘Center’ so that, the title appears in the mid of the page. Also, ‘Bold’ the letters and select ‘Capitalize Each Word’ to use uppercase and lowercase wherever necessary.
- Heading 2: It appears to be the second sub-heading which should be a bit smaller in size than the title of the paper. Likewise, the first heading, make use of ‘Bold’ letters even in this one. A little indented from the left margin (Align Left), place this set of words and organize them in uppercase and lowercase by selecting ‘Capitalize Each Word.’
- Heading 3: This sub-head is one or two font size smaller than the previous heading and placed in Left Alignment a little indented from the margin. Similar to the former headings, use of ‘Bold’ letters and ‘Capitalization of Each Word’ is allowed here.
If there is requirement for more headings, you may use them in similar format diminishing the font size persistently. Also, you can keep the letters in ‘Italics’, as well, for the rest headings.
Tips for APA Style Writing
Now that you are aware of an APA format paper, it’s time to learn about the writing style as followed in APA format. With verbs and words practice, tonality, spacing, labels and others underlies certain regulations.
- Use of verbs: Even after empirical research and creation of analytical data, your paper may fall apart due to poor style of writing. APA style clearly states that the papers needs to be in same tense, throughout. However, writers sometimes miss the continuity with papers being lengthier. With repeated proofreading, your document happens to get rid of these petty issues.
- Graphics Practice: Often, a paper requires insertion of charts, drawings, tables or images and in that action, you must arrange the graphics with Arabic Numerals. It helps both the writers and readers to have a track of the visual aids. Besides, design the graphics with desired wording but, do not overboard them with long summaries. However, your insertion must compliment what you have written without reinstating the similar concept.
- Tonality: Defining a professional tone in your paper is essential and for that, you have to identify the range of readers, beforehand. The idea is to present a document that in turn educates a demographic with certain facts and evidences. Be logical and avoid dull sentences or long fluffy paragraphs.
- Free from Bias: American Psychological Association strongly opposes biasedness towards any racial groups, gender, sexual orientation, and individuals or subjects. Often students fail to identify biasedness in their papers and in that case, it is wise to let another individual go through your writing and judge the material.
- Spelling specification: You must be overly cautious while spelling a word in your paper. Make certain that the term you are using is present in either of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (American English) or Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. For any specific word to be used in Psychology field, you may seek assistance from the American Psychological Association’s Dictionary of Psychology.
- Abbreviations: A little more carefulness is intended while playing with the abbreviations as multiple of them in a single sentence seems confusing to the readers. Also, it is not essential to put periods in-between while inserting an acronym and if the used abbreviation is an unfamiliar one, type the full name in parenthesis prior to that. Once described in the body or available in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, it should not be reinstated further in the paper.
- Spacing: A single space after every punctuation, used in mid of the sentences is mandatory and if it is at the end, use double-space, afterwards. While using words like ‘and’, ‘or’ for specifying three or more items, you must put a comma (Oxford) prior to the conjunction. In case of apostrophe, put the mark before ‘S’ for singular nouns and after the word for plural nouns. Avoid spacing in between hyphenated words.
- Number rules: There’s a small, simple rule associated with number usage if you are formatting the paper in APA pattern. Spell the number if it is less than 10 otherwise write it as number only. Example: eight kilograms, 12 kilogram s.
Axioms of APA Format Citation
Possibly the trickiest part in APA format is citing the sources. A student who is aware of how to write a research paper, knows well the importance of references in the document. Be it in-text citations or bibliography, you need to be exact in mentioning the source. Also, remember to include every possible sources irrespective of its small or big contributions in your dissertation or essay. ‘Reference’ section should be in a new page with the ‘Heading’ aligned at the ‘Center’ of the paper. Next in lines come the citation of the referential sites, sources and informers.
Unless you visualize an APA format example, you cannot understand the practical details. As per norms, guidelines differ from books to journals, magazines, websites, conference papers and other sources. You can find detail demonstrations of citing each sources in the other blog – ‘An APA Format Example Shows Ways to Compose a Research Paper’
Some General Guidelines: Dos and Don’ts of APA Format
Here are some additional information that you must consider, while designing the paper, in order to retain the APA formatting in your paper.
- Include important orientations or characteristics of a person. Avoid unnecessary labeling.
- Prioritize the person while citing the orientation. Example: Rather than ‘Obedient students’ write ‘Students who are obedient’. Later is the appropriate.
- Avoid narrow terms like ‘elderly’, or ‘adolescents’. Make use of broader argots such as ‘subjects’, or ‘participants’, or ‘patients’.
- Try to evade ambiguity from your paper, completely. Example: use ‘Firefighter’ instead of ‘Firemen’ while addressing to the female gender.
- Demographics of different age groups should be addressed distinctly. For children below 12 years, use ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ according to the gender. For individuals between 13-17, address as ‘female adolescent’ and ‘male adolescent.’ Call those above 18 years as ‘men’ and ‘women.’ Always address a senior citizen as ‘older adults’. ‘Senior’, ‘Elderly’ are only accepted as adjectives.
Here ends the structural definition of APA format. On applying these, it becomes easier for you to design a paper preserving every nitty-gritty of this particular referencing style.
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