College Writing: A Go-to Guide for APA Format


By Staff Writer Published on November 12, 2016

The first day of college: highlighters, notebooks, mini-stapler: check! But the most prepared students may not have stocked their metaphorical backpacks with a solid grasp of how to write a college-quality research paper in American Psychological Association (APA) format.

Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide to writing papers with APA style.

General Guidelines

  • 8.5 inch by 11-inch sheet of paper
  • 1-inch margin on all sides
  • Double-spaced
  • Font should be 12-point, Times New Roman (or a few select others)
  • Include title page, abstract, body, and references
  • Header on each page, at the top left
  • Page number on top right

The Title Page

  • Running header on top-left of the page: Topic
  • Double spaced and centered: Student, Your Name, Your College

Abstract

  • A 150-to-200-word summary of your paper. This should be located on the second page.

References

  • On a new page, write “References” centered at the top.
  • You must cite anything you refer to in your paper, and cite the resources you used for your research.
  • List all sources using the formats below, or type the web address into a formatting assistant such as www.easybib.com  to have the formatting done for you.

Here are some examples:

Website reference:

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number. Name of the institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher). Date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.

Example: The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23 Apr. 2008.  Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May 2006.

Book reference:

Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

Example: Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print.

Though it takes some work to get everything just right when doing APA formatting, the process can become easier the more you do it. Visit www.apastyle.org for additional information.

About the Author

Julie Lancaster served as associate profession, career services, adviser, career services director and dean of education during her time at the Flagstaff campus of CollegeAmerica. She holds a Master’s in Education with a focus on culture, language, and diversity. She is also the author of the Flagstaff Planting Guide and the Tucson Planting Guide and loves to write.