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APA Style Guide: Formatting

A guide to help users create citations using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Getting started

Some Basics:

  • Set margins at least 1” all around. 
  • Use 12 point font size (Courier or Times New Roman).
  • All text should be double spaced.
  • Page numbers should be in the upper right hand corner of the page, beginning with the title page.
  • Each page should be identified with a header containing the first two or three words of the title of the paper. The header should be placed in the upper right-hand corner, above or five spaces to the left of the page number. 
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 5-7 spaces.

Common Sections:

Every professor or instructor may have different requirements for the section of your paper, so it is important to check with him/her about these requirements. But here are some common sections:

  • the title page
  • the introduction.
  • the body of the paper
  • a conclusion
  • a references page

Your Title Page:

APA Style requires that you have a title page for your papers. On your title page, make sure to include:

  • A "running head;" this is a shorter version of your title that will appear on the upper left hand corner of the page.
  • The title of your paper.
  • Your name.
  • Your institution (Boston College).
  • The page number on the upper right hand corner of the page.

Headings:

APA Style requires the use of headings in your paper. Headings reveal your paper's organization and separate the sections within your paper.

  • In most cases, you will be using two levels of headings.
  • The main headings will be centered and in boldface type.
  • Your subheadings will be aligned to the left and also in boldface type.
  • Your introduction section does not need a heading.

Abbreviations & Numbers

Standard abbreviations, for example, AIDS, HIV, are allowed.

When using other abbreviations, use the full name first and then in parenthesis, the abbreviation. Thereafter use just the abbreviation.

For more descriptive explanation see OWL Purdue .


Numbers that begin sentences must be written out, but APA asks you to AVOID beginning sentences with numbers.

For more explanations on using numbers in APA writing see OWL Purdue .

APA Format & Citations

Creating a running head in APA style

APA Format: Title Page, Running Head, and Section Headings

Templates

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