Understanding APA research paper format

The various formats for the documentation of research findings have been developed for specific purposes. For the same reason, various subjects depending upon their unique nature, prefers certain formats over the others. The APA format, developed by the American Psychological Association is highly preferred by the social sciences. There are certain things which you must know while preparing an assignment in the APA research paper format.

The Title Page

In an APA style research paper, your title page will be separate. It will begin with the running head, which would be placed on the top right hand side of the title page, followed by the page number in the same line. The running head is the most peculiar feature of APA research paper format. It is a part of the title which would be adequately informative on its own. You can also give the running head on the top of the page, centrally aligned, with the prefix of “running head”. But in the rest of the document, the running head would appear on all the pages, on the top right hand corner.

The complete title would come next, on the title page, a few lines below the running head, centrally aligned. Below this, you can give your name. After the name, leaving a few spaces, you will present the name of the course, the name of the professor and the date of submission.

Citing the sources

The main difference between the various research paper formats is in the way the sources are cited. In APA research paper format, in-text citations are required in the order of ‘surname of the author, year of publication’. This, also known as the parenthetical reference, appears right next to the cited information. If using direct quotations, include the page number also in the in-text citation. Use brackets to separate the citation from the cited portion. The term ‘author-date’ format also refers to in-text citations.

In a separate page with the heading of ‘references’, you should cite the sources in full detail. This should be presented in the alphabetical order of the surname of the author. The information which is to be included in this page would be in the order of “The Author, (date of publication), Title of the book, Place of publishing: Publisher, Page number.” In APA research paper format, the citations must be placed, leaving double-space in between. APA style does not permit the use of footnotes for citations. This is one of those features which set it apart from the other styles. Footnotes are permitted only when some additional background information is needed to be given about some point mentioned in your research paper.

Overview

The most peculiar aspects of the APA format are the use of the running head and the restrictions on the usage of footnotes. The in-text citations and the reference page pattern, even though not specific to APA style, should be paid attention to. But remember that the instructions in the guidelines count above all the other instructions.

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