Necessary guidelines on how to write an APA research paper


These guidelines are based on the 6th edition guide of the APA style guidelines, of 2009. Because of errors in the sample essays in the 6th edition APA manual, check with your professor, instructor, or school library for sample essays. They will likely know which edition they want it written in. As these style guides change without notice, the student needs to make sure of what edition they are needed to write in.


  • Paper
  • The APA states that the paper should be written in a legible fount, they recommend; 12 point, Times new Roman. Your margin is one inch on all sides, and double spaced. Use standard 8.5x11 paper.


  • Header
  • Your paper needs to have a header on the top of each page, with the page number flushed to the right. It must also have the title of the paper flushed left in all capitals. This is called a running head, and in this style your title on the page is a shortened version of the paper’s actual title. It should not exceed fifty spaces including spaces and punctuations.


  • Title Page
  • Your title page will have the running head on it as well. It will also have your paper’s title in full. Followed by your name as well as anyone assisting on it. If the paper is written by one person, only one name is needed. If more than one, then each person needs to be stated as the author. The next section will have the School or place of operation you are working for. So for school papers you will need to list the school and department you are in.


  • Abstract
  • The page after your title page should be your Abstract. It like all the other pages needs to have the running head on it as well. There will be no pages without the running head. The first line of your Abstract will be centered with the word “Abstract” with nothing around it. Do not put any punctuation on this line. The abstract is a concise coverage of your paper.


  • In body notes
  • In APA it is permissible to use I, we, and singular context. If you are writing about a project you or you and some other students worked on, you should take credit.


    When writing lists, there are three ways to do so; (a) a numbered, (b) bulleted, (c) in text list such as this, with parentheses around the lowercased letters. When you have a number of items in one section, use commas, colons, or semicolons, or periods as the grammar directs.


    Citations should always follow the Author, date, method of in-text citation. Remember that means the last name of the author, the year of publication, separated by a comma. Then the full text of the resource noted properly in your bibliography.

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