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Formatting & References

APA Style Explained

American Psychological Association style is a writing style and format for the social and behavioral sciences, for clarity of communication, and for "word choice that best reduces bias in language".

Known for its simple reference citation style, the Publication Manual also provides practical guidance for writing about race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status.

APA looks intimidating because the format contains publication instructions such as a running head. However, there are numerous templates available on the web, including on this site, so the simple solution is to download one and write over it. If you want to learn how to format APA's particular margins, see

A note about abstracts - Not all professors require abstracts, though they're common on longer papers - double check the assignment. An abstract is a short summary of the paper.  It should only be one paragraph and the entire text is double-spaced. The first line is not indented, unlike the rest of the paper.

A note about headings and subheads - 

If you are dividing a long research paper into sections, use the following guide to headings and subheads - 

Check your assignment as frequently the outline your instructor gave you is broken out into sections.

ABOUT IN-TEXT CITATIONS - see the pull-down menu on the APA tab above

ABOUT REFERENCES - see the pull-down menu on the APA tab above


Download this Word document as a guide for your next paper!