APA Format and Citations: Beginner's Guide

Posted date: July 07, 2017 apa-format-and-citations-beginners-guide

What is APA style? This is the question that numerous freshman students dread. Fortunately, this guide is here to alleviate those fears. APA, or the American Psychological Association, has created a set of guidelines that make academic essays cleaner, clearer, and easier to comprehend. This style applies mostly to such disciplines as Business, Psychology, Nursing, Sociology, and other science-related subjects. The rules of APA style are not there to make life more difficult for you. Instead, they make sure you know what to do.

Here is a short list of rules that will introduce you to APA!

  1. One inch margins are a must for APA. Remember that word processors often have 1.25” set as default. Don’t let them trick you and often spend a minute to check.
  2. Forget about fancy fonts. Times New Roman is the only acceptable one when it comes to APA. If you dislike it to the point when it distracts you when you type, use any other font temporarily. Just don’t forget to change back before you submit it to you professors.
  3. Learn how to set a page number and a running header. These might seem like inconsequential details, but it will take you a good minute to figure out how they work.
  4. All APA formatted papers require you to write a cover page. This makes it easier for professors to identify the piece of writing as your work. The title page should include your name, the name of the paper, and the university you attend. Make sure all this information is in the center of the page, so it’s the very first thing your professor sees.
  5. Don’t forget to use headers. If your paper is on the longer side, it may be difficult to differentiate between sections. That’s why headers exist. They make it easy to pinpoint when introduction ends or conclusion starts, as well as tell one part of main body from another. Just don’t forget that the headers should be appropriately formatted too.
  6. Use citation! They are the only thing standing between you and being accused of plagiarism. The in-text ones are easy to write. You only need the last name and the year the source was published inside parentheses. Alternatively, you can just refer to source of the ideas you are discussing in the sentence itself.
  7. Don’t forget to create a high quality reference list at the end. It should occupy a separate page and include all the works you’ve cited. The sources should be listed in an alphabetical order instead of a chronological one and follow a “hanging” format, which most word processors have under “special” paragraph options.

Use these simple rules to create a great, well-formatted APA paper and impress your professors!