Tricks for beginners: how to write a research paper in APA style


Writing a research paper in APA formatting style can be done with a few tips easy to remember. There are various small details to remember that may seem confusing in the beginning. Most students will format their papers correctly upon taking time to understand necessary steps involved. As always, follow guidelines stated by your instructor as some parts of the process may vary. The following points provide a basic summary of what you should know about writing research papers in APA style.

  • 1. Make sure you understand the style you are supposed to use before you get started. You may be required to use one over the other and there could be additional details you need to do that may not be required by the formatting style.
  • 2. APA style is recommended by American Psychological Association. You are required to use past tense when referring to sources. You will also mention the year of publication in parenthesis within the text when mentioning your source or citing your work.
  • 3. APA style requires double spacing, margins at one-inch on each page and parenthetical citations. You will include a citation if you use an indirect quote or ideas used by another person. A reference page is used to note parenthetical citations. Page numbers appear in the upper right of the page.
  • 4. Any titles mentioned throughout your paper related to books, television recordings, and books should be underlined. If you mention a lecture, chapter of a book or article title you need to place such titles in quotation marks.
  • 5. Each section of your paper will have a varied format including the title page, abstract and main body. The title page will feature a main running head with your school name, school affiliation and your title. The abstract appears next on a separate sheet. This is a short paragraph that summarizes your work. This element along with the body of the paper may vary depending on guidelines set by your instructor.
  • 6. Your body section may include several sections such as the introduction, discussion, results and methods. They can follow varied formats according to your instructor’s guidelines.
  • 7. Your reference section will be a page by itself. This is a compiled list of works cited throughout the text. In other words, if you cited someone’s work you need to mention it here. The title section should be centered at the top of the page. There are different samples available on how this page can be created.

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