APA Paper Formatting & Style Guidelines
Your teacher may want you to format your paper using APA guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using the APA guidelines as well.
- Use white 8 ½ x 11” paper.
- Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
- The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
- APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
- Double space the entire research paper
- Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
- To create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
- Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
- If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper
Sample running head/page header
APA Paper Components
Your essay should include these four major sections:
- Title Page
- Main Body
This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above.
*Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capitals. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:
- The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose
- It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
- Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
- All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay
- Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
- The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research
Sample Title page:
On the following page, begin with the Running title.
- On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
- On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
- This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
- If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.
Sample Abstract page:
On the following page, begin with the Body of the paper.
- Start with the Running title
- On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
- Begin with the introduction. Indent.
- The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based. It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
- Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
- Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle. The Results section summarizes the data. Use graphs and graphs to display this data.
- Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
- Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
- Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
- Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author’s/authors’ name(s) and the publication year. In APA format page numbers are not used in in-text citations.
Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).
For more information about how to cite properly please see EasyBib’s guides for APA citations based on the sources you are using.
Sample Body page:
On a new page, write your references.
- Begin with a running title
- Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
- Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
- Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.
Sample Reference Page:
A cover page is usually not required for all personal essays, but academic essays usually need a cover page. Though APA and MLA format cover pages differ significantly, a typical essay cover page will contain author’s name, as well as due date of the essay. A topic of the essay is a must as well as the name of the course it is submitted to. Some essay cover pages also includes the name of professor (or of any other person/group of persons), educational establishment etc.
There are usually requirements as to the font and spaces in the cover page of an essay, so study them carefully before submitting either final electronic or printed version of your essay.
Thus, in order to write a perfect essay and meet the requirements as to format and content, it is necessary to make preparations and study the requirements carefully. Sure, it takes some time, but you will be rewarded for your attention and scrupulousness. The information below will certainly help aspiring essay writers, as well as senior students, who already have experience in essay writing.
Quick Navigation through the Essay Cover Page:
MLA Essay cover page example (Cick the Image to Enlarge)
In writing a cover page, you always need to follow the specifications set by your professor. He or she may require you to use shaded paper or insert a graphic or even write a quotation on the essay cover page. But the main variations in style and format will depend on whether you are writing in MLA or APA research paper format.
The essentials of MLA essay cover page are the following:
1. This page is double spaced and the letters are centered horizontally.
2. The name of the university or college is placed just below the top margin.
3. The essay title should be placed one-third of the page down from the top and written in a different font size. It may be followed by a subtitle
4. The word “by” may be placed under the title. Usually this word is 2 double spaces from the rest. Note, if you do the cover page in MLA format “by” is not required.
5. Then goes the name of the author, which is usually placed several lines upper from the bottom of the page.
6. It is followed by the name of the course or course number.
7. The name of professor.
8. Finally comes the date of submission.
The positioning listed above is for MLA which is the prevalent style used for humanities and social sciences .
APA Cover page (Cick the Image to Enlarge)
In APA format you will need to place a short version of the title near the upper right corner of the cover page followed by the page number (1 of course). This is called a “running header”.
As well as in MLA format the essay title should be placed one-third of the page down from the top. You should write your short title first, put a colon and provide you full title underneath.
The name of the author is usually several lines down the title.
And at the bottom of the APA cover page comes the the name of the course or course number, the name of professor, and the date of submission.
If you need to make a cover page, you must be certain to apply your aesthetic taste for choosing the font and font size and distribution of elements. This first page should be formal, pleasing and appropriate to the tone and topic of your essay. Yes, fonts, word placement and spacing can create moods too. Remember, the cover page, if present, will precede the opening paragraph of your thesis. In this way it will take over some of the impact from your opening paragraph, so be sure to make it impressive.
As it was already mentioned, you will probably have to make several samplings with placement, positioning and font before you get your final version. Tinted paper, frames and other light embellishments used mutedly and with taste will enhance the effect of the page and very possibly your grade. A skillfully done cover page is not just physical protection of the paper, but a reminder of your affords to people handling your article.
Very often, when buying a book we first have a closer look at a cover page. Is it intriguing? Is it interesting and colorful? Sometimes it happens that the cover page of the book is more interesting than the book itself. The same concerns essay writing. A cover page of an essay is the “face” of its author. Although the cover page format does not leave much space for creative approach, you still can be creative when deciding on the title of your paper or in writing a cover letter for your text. A cover page should usually have such standard elements as author’s name, essay topic, professor’s name, number or the name of the course. Many students (even good ones) pay little or no attention to cover page format. As a result they have their grades lowered just because of inconsistency with the cover page requirements. It is very sad to fail getting “A” grade just for using the wrong font or failure to write course number. Never underestimate the importance of all essay requirements, including requirements to cover page! Your excellent grade may fly away if there are mistakes in the essay cover page.
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Essay Title Page
Essay title page refers to cover page. In fact, the term cover page originates from the times when essays were submitted in a written form, and there had to be a page that covered the other pages. Essay title page is often considered author’s face (literally, of course). Any mistakes in essay title page may change attitude of your professor to the essay you have written (even in case you did a great job).
Essay Cover Page Format
Student who do not pay due attention to essay cover page format usually get discouraged when receiving grades for their essays. Indeed, it is very discouraging not to get the highest grade just for using the wrong font or spacing in your essay cover page. Many students consider cover page to be just a formality, while there are professors who are very strict about these things. So, in order to avoid problems, study requirements as to the style (APA, MLA, etc) and your essay cover page format.
The format of your thesis cover page for Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD thesis also has some special requirements. First, there should be stated that it is submitted “in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree”. Second, there should be stated the year of submission instead of the due date at the bottom of the page.
College Essay Cover Page
Unlike high school essays, college essay cover page has to meet requirements set by admission committee, professors or lecturers. Requirements for college essay cover page differ from college to college, and they also depend on what reference style is used in essay. So, once again check requirements and norms in order to write a perfect essay. This especially concerns college students who pursue serious career goals.
Essay Cover Page Template
In the age of the Internet and information it is really easy to find any information related to essay writing. If you have any doubts as to your essay cover page, just spend some time on-line and get yourself essay cover page template which you can use in your essay. Using such a template you will only have to enter your name, essay topic, name of your professor, course number and other relevant information.
Essay Cover Letter
Essay cover letter is often mixed up with essay cover page. A cover letter contains summarized information on essay topic and studied problems. If you need to write a cover letter for your paper, resist the temptation to copy-paste text from conclusion or any abstracts of your essay to your cover letter. Use different wording, as in fact you should make the cover letter the most interesting part of your essay. Create some intrigue, so that readers would be eager to read on. Get your professor or admission committee interested in what you have written. Interest to your essay means interest to your personality. Nicely written essay cover letter with draw interest to your text, which will contribute to your positive image as a student/applicant. This will be half of your success.
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