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APA Formatting: An Introduction. Sonya C. Brown, Presenter A Writing Across the Curriculum Workshop Sponsored by a Title III Grant Fayetteville State University September 25, 2008. APA General Guidelines. APA=American Psychological Association

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apa formatting an introduction

APA Formatting: An Introduction

Sonya C. Brown, Presenter

A Writing Across the Curriculum Workshop

Sponsored by a Title III Grant

Fayetteville State University

September 25, 2008

apa general guidelines
APA General Guidelines

APA=American Psychological Association

Information for this workshop comes from the 5th edition of the style manual.

APA is used by academics writing or teaching in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology and social work, education, criminal justice, and others.

formatting a basic page
Formatting a Basic Page
  • Double space
  • 1” margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, right)
  • 10-12 point Times New Roman or a similar serif font
  • Each page has a “header” at the top right: use a short title (2-3 words of your title), insert 5 spaces, then put the page number
    • To put in a header using Word 2007, choose Insert menu, Page Number (click arrow), “Top of Page,” Plain 3, then type the short title and click the space bar five times, save and close.
formatting an overall document
Formatting an Overall Document
  • Most papers are divided into sections:
    • Title Page
    • Abstract
    • Body (usually divided into sections)
    • References (where you list your sources)
    • Footnotes (where you put your “asides” or extra comments)
    • Tables
    • Figures (non-table images, such as photographs)

Some instructors may not require all portions or may want figures to be placed within the body. Check your assignment sheet or ask your instructor for details about your individual assignment.

formatting a title page
Formatting a Title Page
  • Include the header (short title, five spaces, and page number 1)
  • On the first line, flush with the left margin, type the words Running head: YOUR SHORT TITLE
  • In the upper half of the Title Page, center, in all caps, your full title, which may be 1-2 lines
  • Put your name on the next line, centered (not all caps)
  • Put your university on the next line, centered
  • Insert a Page Break to go to the next page

Go to the Online Writing Lab at Purdue to see a sample Title Page: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01

apa preferred title style
APA Preferred Title Style

Your title should be specific and suggest the results of your research. Here are some sample APA style titles to consider:

  • Using enhanced text to facilitate recognition of drug names: Evidence from two experimental studies.
  • Effects of navigation method on workload and performance in simulated high-speed ship navigation.
  • Dynamic visual information plays a critical role for spatial navigation in water but not on solid ground.
  • Childhood trauma and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
the abstract
The Abstract
  • The header will appear top right (page 2)
  • On the first line of the abstract page, type “Abstract”
  • Beginning on the next line, provide a double-spaced summary of your paper, emphasizing the results of your research
  • Do not indent to begin or change to a new paragraph
  • Include no more than 120 words
main body formatting
Main Body Formatting
  • Each page should have the header
  • Do not repeat the title on the first page
  • Skip only one space after each period
  • Double space everything (no extra lines needed between paragraphs)
  • Indent to begin a new paragraph
dividing the body into sections
Dividing the Body into Sections
  • Typical sections include
    • Unlabeled introduction
    • Methods (where you say how you obtained your data)
    • Discussion (where you analyze your data)
    • Results (what important things does your data tell you)
headings for subdivision
Headings for Subdivision
  • APA style allows various levels of headings for denoting different sections of a paper.
  • From highest-level to lowest:
    • Level 1. Centered, uppercase and lowercase
    • Level 2. Centered, underlined (or italicized), uppercase and lowercase
    • Level 3. Flush left, underlined (or italicized), uppercase and lowercase
    • Level 4. Indented, underlined (or italicized), only first letter capitalized, with a period
    • Level 5. Centered uppercase

NOTE: Upper and lower case means first and significant words have capital letters at the beginning, as in

Revising the First Draft of an Essay

headings for subdivision cont
Headings for Subdivision, cont.
  • Depending on how many levels of subdivision you have, use the following:
    • One level of subdivision: Use Level 1
    • Two levels of subdivisions: Use 1, 3 (in that order)
    • Three levels: Use 1, 3, 4
    • Four levels: Use 1, 2, 3, 4
    • Five levels: Use 5, 1, 2, 3, 4
sample apa paper online
Sample APA Paper Online

For his students at Illinois State University, Jeffrey H. Kahn has prepared a sample paper in APA format. The body of this “paper” explains the formatting and style.

See his .pdf file online at


labeling tables and figures
Labeling Tables and Figures
  • Tables and Figures are numbered separately (Table 1, 2, 3, and Figure 1, 2, 3)
  • Provide labels for tables and figures where they appear in the text
  • Italicize titles, and capitalize first word, as in:

Table 3: Number of students enrolled

in text citation
In-Text Citation
  • ALL sources that are used in any way, whether quoted, paraphrased or summarized, must be credited with an in-text citation AND an entry on the References page
  • In-text citation is when you provide information about your sources within the body of your document
  • The in-text citation MUST lead the reader to a matching entry on the References page
  • Without BOTH, you risk being accused of misuse of sources or plagiarism
incorporating sources
Incorporating Sources
  • Quotation repeats exactly what was in an original
  • Paraphrase puts the source’s ideas into significantly different language or style
  • Summary condenses the ideas of the original into main points

Reminder: ALL use of sources should be cited with an in-text citation and entry on References page!

short quotes
Short Quotes
  • Quotations are treated differently depending on the length of the quoted source.
  • Quotations of less than 40 words are enclosed by quotation marks:

Joffrey and Sullivan (2005) note that “no causal relationship has been found between anemia and auto-immune dysfunction.”

quotation for more than 40 words
Quotation for More Than 40 Words
  • Display quotations of 40 or more words in a freestanding block of typewritten lines, and omit the quotation marks, as shown here:

Start such a block quotation on a new line, and indent the block about 1/2 in. (1.3 cm, or five space) from the left margin (in the same position as a new paragraph).

If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent the first line of each additional 1/2 in. The entire quotation should be double- spaced. (2001, p. 117).

a note on quotation
A Note on Quotation

The APA style manual recommends limiting the length and number of direct quotations from previously published sources.

in text citation three options
In-Text Citation: Three Options
  • When you use a resource in your paper, the location of the in-text or parenthetical citation you provide varies according to how you have used the source.
  • The following three slides are examples from the APA citation guide provided online by the University of Wisconsin—Madison



1. Idea-focused

Place the author(s) and date(s) in parentheses at an appropriate place in or at the end of a sentence

    • Researchers have pointed out that the lack of trained staff is a common barrier to providing adequate health education (Fisher, 1999) and services (Weist & Christodulu, 2000).

2. Researcher-focused

Place only the date in parentheses

    • Fisher (1999) recommended that health education be required for high school graduation in California.

3. Chronology-focused

Integrate both the author and date into your sentence

    • In 2001, Weist proposed using the Child and Adolescent Planning Schema to analyze and develop community mental health programs for young people.

Note that APA requires you to put page numbers for direct quotation, following the year: (Chasten, 2007, p. 121).

You can also include page numbers for paraphrase. Check with your instructor to see if s/he has a preference.

more examples of in text citation source brarydog net http www brarydog net apastyle asp
More Examples of In-Text CitationSource: Brarydog.nethttp://www.brarydog.net/apastyle.asp

Wilson (2001) compared student scores...One study comparing student scores (Wilson, 2001) found that...In his 2001 study, Wilson found that...Hopewell High School is described (North Carolina School Directory, 2002)... Reviews were favorable ("Harmonious Galaxy," 2002)...Ms. Wright believes homework is necessary (personal communication, May 24, 2002).Madison referred to the Internet as "a highway to nowhere." (1990, p.21)North Carolina's Outer Banks are described as:

Fringing virtually the entire Atlantic coast of the state is a long chain of barrier islandsthe—Outer Banks—ranging in height from a few feet to more than 100 feet (30 meters) at Kill Devil Hill and Jockey's Ridge. From these banks, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear jut out into the ocean. Between the banks and the mainland are five sounds: Currituck, Albemarle, Pamlico, Core, and Bogue. ("North Carolina," 2002)

pause for practice
Pause for Practice

Try the first exercise on your handout to see if you can correctly locate and format an in-text citation.

references page general guidelines
References Page: General Guidelines
  • Double space
  • Alphabetize entries based on first letters of lead author’s last name
  • Use author last name and initials only (no first names or titles)
  • If citing a text with no listed author, alphabetize by first significant word in title
  • Articles submitted for potential publication indent first lines, leave remaining portion of citation flush with left margin
  • Student papers usually use a hanging indentation (first line flush with left margin, remaining lines indented one tab)
building a reference page title formatting
Building a Reference Page: Title Formatting

Get the title from the title page, not the cover.

Spell out symbols (&=and)

Capitalize only the first letters of

the title's first word,

the word after a colon,

proper names,

and acronyms (like NCDPI, OSHA, and FBI)

building a references page title formatting
Building a References Page: Title Formatting
  • The titles of works published independently (not within another volume) are typically formatted with underlining or italics. These include books, plays, long poems published as books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, journals, films, radio and television programs, web sites, CDs, software, ballets, operas, paintings, and other works and artifacts that stand on their own.
  • Examples:

Sociology of sport medicine

Rites of spring

CSI: Miami

Julius Caesar

  • The titles of works published within other works are presented in plain text. These include articles, essays, chapters, encyclopedia entries, sections of online documents, short poems, stories, songs, and individual episodes of broadcast programs.
  • Examples:

McCain seeks debate delay

Darkness at noon

Strange fits of passion

building a reference page page numbers
Building a Reference Page: Page Numbers
  • Page numbers are not compressed: 127-148 and 221-229, not 127-48 or 221-9.
  • In certain cases the abbreviations p. and pp. are used before page numbers. See a style manual for specifics or ask for your instructor’s preference.
use a manual to check citations
Use a manual to check citations

It’s almost impossible to memorize the format of every kind of source.

The library provides a list of external links to style manuals online.

Read through the manuals to determine what kind of source you have (an article in a scholarly journal v. a chapter in a book v. a website v. a pamphlet)

Provide as much information as possible, in the exact order and in the exact formatting as the model for that type of source.

recommended online guides
Recommended Online Guides
  • The Ohio State Guide to APA Citation
    • http://library.osu.edu/sites/guides/apagd.php
  • The Online Writing Lab at Purdue on APA style
    • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
pause for practice1
Pause for Practice

Try the second exercise on your handout to see if you can use one of the online style guides to help you build entries for a References page.

apa faqs
  • Articles with no author are shown in quotation marks within in-text citation (“Motivating students,” 2006)
  • Interviews, e-mails, and other unpublished sources are cited in-text as personal communications, but are not included in the reference list (Personal Communication, date)
  • Use “as cited in” to quote sources within sources:
    • If you read Shubert (2008) and would like to paraphrase the following sentence within that book: Ogden (2006) defined self-efficacy as "people's beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives" (p. 1175)
    • Then your in-text citation would be ”(Ogden, 2006, as cited in Shubert, 2008).
    • Note that this “as cited in” format is discouraged in published papers. Editors will expect published authors to use original sources in most cases.