The instructor assigned a research paper, due by the end of the term. True, it will cut into your social life, but there is plenty of time for research, writing, and revisions. However, the instructor’s guidelines say the paper must use APA format. Is it time to cue the panic music?

No, there is no need to panic.

APA Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) developed a specific style for writing research reports known as APA format. APA format standardizes how scientific findings are presented, making the entire report easier to read. Each section of the paper contains specific details on the research purpose, process, findings, and the final analysis. APA format also has uses outside of the scientific community, as in literature reviews and term papers.

Sections of an APA Paper

An APA formatted paper has eight sections:

By arranging the details of the research project in this format, the reader can move from section to section, focusing on the information that he or she is most concerned with, rather than reading the entire paper to locate specific information. If the paper does not concern the sciences, then the Main Body of the paper would replace the sections set aside for Method and Results, and a Conclusion would replace the Discussion.

Citations and References

There are also specifications for how to cite sources. When writing a paper using APA format, cite the information so that you mention the author’s last name, immediately followed by the publication year for the source.

For the Reference List, list the sources alphabetically. For each source, mention the author’s name (or names if there are multiple authors), date of publication, title of the source, and any data on the publication of the source, such as journal title and volume, and page numbers)

There are multiple websites on the Internet that contain samples of APA formatted papers, citations, and reference lists. Downloadable software is available for assisting you with formatting your work in APA style. Some websites will even generate APA citations for your papers. Of course, there are printed manuals that demonstrate how to use the APA format.

With so many resources out there for writing a paper in APA format, there is no need to panic when a research paper call for its use.

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