Understanding how to write research papers in APA format

The APA style of documentation which was developed by the American Psychological Association is most suitable for the documentation of research data in sociology and psychology. But it is often used for documenting academic research papers in other subjects also. As it is one of the most commonly used formats in academia, it will help students to have an idea of how to write research papers in APA format, in case you are asked to prepare one in a short span of time. If you are a sociology or psychology student, you must make yourself thorough with the basics of APA style as you will be documenting almost all your academic papers in that style.

The basics of APA style documentation

Sociology Research Paper FormatThere are certain aspects which set the APA style apart from the rest. Knowing the basics of the style well enough would make it easier for you to figure out how to write a research paper in APA format with respect to the specifications or specific alterations mentioned in the project guidelines. An APA style research paper must:

• Have a ‘running head’ on the title page, along with the information on the author, the name of the professor, the course title, the date and the complete title of the document. The running head is a part of the complete title which conveys the content of the paper effectively enough; it is to be repeated on all the consequent pages also, on the top right hand corner, alongside the page number.

• Cite the sources within the text using the ‘(author, date)’ format; the author stands for the surname of the author and the date must be the publishing date of the source.

• Use footnotes for the purpose of providing additional information on any part of the text. Do not use footnotes for referencing purposes, or, in other words, citing the sources, while documenting your paper in APA style as it is strictly forbidden.

• Have a separate bibliography section with the heading of ‘References’. The sections must include a list of all the sources, listed out in the alphabetical order of the surnames of the sources, along with all the details including the title, the author, the page number, the publisher, the date of publishing and the place of publishing. Refer to the latest edition of APA style manual to get an accurate idea of how to cite each type of source and how to organize the details.

Once you learn how to write a research paper in APA format with respect to its fundamental rules, you will be able to incorporate the other formatting specifications more efficiently. Always keep in mind that the project guidelines overrule even the rules of the documentation formats.

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