How to Write an APA Style Paper

APA stands for American Psychological Association and includes a set of guidelines for writing research papers in the fields of social and behavioral sciences. If you’ve decided to pursue a career in these spheres of work, you’ll definitely need to get acquainted with the peculiarities of the APA style. Eventually, you’ll be able to memorize all the rules of this style and apply them in your own papers.

Make a Template

If you’re a sociology, psychology or any other behavioral study major, you’ll be writing lots of papers in the APA style. While the content of all those researches will be different, the style rules will stay the same. That’s why it will be handy to create one generic template that you’ll be able to adjust to any paper. The main requirements are as follows:

  • all the margins should be the same, precisely 1 inch from each side of the paper;
  • the beginnings of paragraphs should be half of that – 0,5 inch;
  • the font is the usual Times New Roman and the font size is 12 pt;
  • the spacing between lines is 2.0;
  • include a title at the top of every page (the"running head") and make sure it doesn’t exceed 50 characters including spaces.

If you have this template ready, any paper can already have the main characteristics of the APA format.

Parts of the Paper

However, the right format is not the only feature that makes any paper an APA paper. This style requires you to also follow the right division of your paper into a title page, the abstract, the body part, and the list of references. Nevertheless, if your paper is not very extensive and covers less than five pages, then you can omit the abstract.


The title page gives short information about the author and the paper itself. It includes the educational institution as well. Don’t forget that the title page in APA style also needs to have a number and a running head like all other pages.


If you’re working with a big research, you definitely need to write an abstract to give the readers an insight into your work. The abstract is usually not longer than 150 words and gives a short description of what the main part will be about. Here you can also include the list of keywords if needed and translations into other languages. The abstract is always followed by the body part which starts from a new page.

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In the references, you need to mention every single source that was used in your paper in an alphabetic order. The difficulty here is that there are specific rules for organizing your references depending on the type of a source. These should be memorized separately.

Finally, remember to proofread your paper after you’re done with writing it. Pay extra attention to citations because they are also an important part of the APA style. If you encounter difficulties, you can always use an online citation generation and avoid mistakes.


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