APA Citation Writing Hints

The Truth about APA Paper Formatting

APA citation or the citation and formatting style developed by the American Psychological Association is one of the most popular citation and referencing frameworks used in academic writing. The APA citation style guide was developed by the APA to help psychologists and specialists in other social sciences, as well as students and researchers, to use an easy, comprehensive and relevant style for referencing and formatting references. 

The Basics of APA Essay Format 

Look at any APA format template, and you will see that a standard APA-formatted paper is double-spaced, typed on standard-sized sheets of paper, with one-inch margins all around. Among all fonts that are available to writers, Times New Roman 12 should be a preferred one. 

Page Headers in APA Citation

All pages must have headers that are located one-half inch below the top margin. Each header will include a running head located on the left and a page number located on the right. The running head will always be preceded by the words "Running head". Then, after a colon, an abridged title of the paper will be printed using all capital letters. The running head should not be longer than 50 characters with spaces. Make it shorter by using only the most significant or meaningful words. 

APA Format Citation: Main Sections of the Paper 

Each and every APA formatted paper includes four essential sections or chapters: Title Page, Abstract, Body of the Paper, and a References list. 

Title Page 

Your title page must include the full title of your paper, your name, and the name of your educational or learning institution. It must also include a header with the running head in the right upper corner of the page. 

The title of your paper must be presented in the upper center of the page, using upper and lowercase letters. According to the APA style guide, your title should include a maximum of 12 words. Also, it should contain only meaningful words. Don't use abbreviations in the title. Don't make a title that is longer than 2 lines. The title page, as well as the entire paper, should be double-spaced. 

Then, under the title, include your name in the following order: first name, middle name, last name, without any degrees or titles. 

Under the name, include your educational or learning institution. 


Abstracts always begin on a new page. The page always includes a header. The word "Abstract" should be centered. Don't use bold fonts or italics. Then, on the line below, without any indentation, provide a concise summary of your research that is at least 150 words long. Make sure that your abstract does not exceed 250 words. Summarize the purpose, topic, hypotheses, methods, findings and conclusions. Include implications for future research and practice. It is strongly recommended that you also include a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. Go one line below the abstract, indent it, use the word "Keywords" in italics with the list of your major keywords included. 


Reference Page APA 

The APA style guide includes coherent recommendations for both APA format in text citation and APA reference page. Basically, your references will be listed on a separate page, with all sources arranged alphabetically by author's name. Make sure that each in text citation APA has a corresponding entry on your list of references. If you are taking a citation from a source that cites it as secondary, make sure that the original reference, not the secondary one. 

According to the APA style manual (6th ed.), your reference page should be formatted and presented in the following way:

  • It must be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • It must have the word "References" in the upper line of the page, centered.
  • All references must be listed alphabetically, using authors' names as guidance. If you use a source without a known author, title it as "Anonymous". You may also use the title of the source to locate it on your references page, using the first word as guidance (disregard articles A, An, The).
  • Don't underline anything on the references page
  • If you are using data from personal conversations, then you must cite it within the text; however, don't include it in your list of references.
  • All references must be left-aligned, but beginning with the second line of each reference entry, a hanging indent must be used.
  • Use numerals for any numbers above ten.
  • If the title of the reference begins with a numeral, then it should be spelled out. 

Using Appendices in an APA-Formatted Paper

You may want to include appendices at the very end of your paper. They will be placed after the list of references. There, you will present any data that is relevant to your paper but is too voluminous or heavy to be included in the body of your work. For example, you may provide tables, graphs, charts, or interview questions and informed consent forms at the end of your paper. 

If you include only one Appendix, title it as Appendix. However, if you have several appendices, make sure that you title them consecutively like Appendix A, Appendix B, and so on.