Apa formatting and Style Guide



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  • Purdue OWL staff
  • Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is the most commonly used format for manuscripts in the social sciences.
  • APA regulates:
    • Stylistics
    • In-text citations
    • References
  • What is APA Style?
  • Your essay should:
    • be typed,
    • double-spaced,
    • have 1” margins,
    • use 12pt. Standard font (Times New Roman)
  • [Note: If you are writing a manuscript draft, APA suggests using two spaces between sentences to aid readability (see pp.87-88 in the APA manual).]
  • General APA Format
  • Your essay should
  • include four major
  • sections:
  • References
  • Main Body
  • Abstract
  • Title page
  • General APA Format
  • General APA Format
  • Title:
  • (in the upper half of the page, centered)
  • name (no title or degree) + affiliation (university, etc.)
  • Page header:
  • (use Insert Page Header)
  • title flush left + page number flush right.
  • Title Page
  • Center the title (References) at the top of the page. Do not bold it.
  • Double-space reference entries
  • Flush left the first line of the entry and indent subsequent lines
  • Order entries alphabetically by the surname of the first author of each work
  • Reference Page
  • Invert authors’ names (last name first followed by initials)
    • EX:“Smith, J.Q.”
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
    • EX: The perfectly formatted paper: How the Purdue OWL saved my essay.
  • References: Basics
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections
  • References: Basics
  • When compiling the reference list, the strategy below might be useful:
  • Identify the type of source:
    • Is it a book? A journal article? A webpage?
  • Find a sample citation for this type of source
    • Check a textbook or the OWL APA Guide: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
  • “Mirror” the sample
  • Make sure that the entries are listed in alphabetical order and that the subsequent lines are indented (Recall References: Basics)
  • Making the Reference List
  • In-text citations help readers locate the cited source in the References section of the paper.
  • Whenever you use a source, provide in parenthesis:
    • the author’s name and the date of publication
    • for quotations and close paraphrases, provide the author’s name, date of publication, and a page number
  • In-text Citation: Basics
  • When quoting:
  • Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase
  • Include the author’s name, year of publication, and page number
  • Keep the citation brief—do not repeat the information
  • In-Text Citation:
  • Quotations
  • When the parenthetical citation includes two or
  • more works, order them in the same way they appear in the reference list—the author’s name, the year of publication—separated by a semi-colon.
  • In-Text Citation:
  • Two or More Works
  • APA uses a system of five heading levels
  • APA Headings
  • Level
  • Format
  • 1
  • 2
  • Left-aligned, Boldface, Upper & Lowercase Headings
  • 3
  • Indented, boldface, lowercase heading with a period.
  • 4
  • Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with period.
  • 5
  • Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a period.
  • Headings
  • Here is an example of the five-level heading system:
  • Headings
  • The End
  • APA Formatting and Style Guide
  • Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab


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