Franklin Style Manual Online

3.2. Standard Parts of an APA Paper

An APA paper includes a number of standard parts, although some projects do not require all the parts. Consult your assignment instructions or instructor for guidance on what is expected. Note also that each of the parts discussed below begins on a new page. Page numbering is continuous throughout, beginning with the title page. Usually only the body pages count, however, when determining whether a paper meets an assignment’s required length in pages or word count.


3.2.1. Title page

The title should be centered vertically and horizontally on the page and include the (a) title of your paper (or assignment name), (b) your name, (c) the course title, (d) professor’s name, and (e) the date the draft was submitted (making sure to change this date when submitting the final draft). It should also be double spaced. *Note: Some professors may want students to also include course and section numbers with the course title.

Title Page Checklist

Do

  1. Center vertically and horizontally on page.
  2. Include the following information:
    1. Title of Paper (or assignment name)
    2. Your name
    3. Course Title
    4. Professor’s Name
    5. Date of draft
  3. Double space each item.
  4. Use one-inch margins.
  5. Use the same font and point size as the rest of the document.

Do Not

  1. Insert graphics or use special formatting.
  2. Use the same date for first and final drafts.


3.2.2. Abstract page

An abstract is a quick summary highlighting the key points of your paper. Abstracts are not the same as introductions, which generally introduce readers to the main thesis of the paper by providing an interesting and informative context. By contrast, an abstract will present a brief description of how the thesis or main claim is demonstrated in the body of the paper.

Not all writing assignments require abstracts, but they are often expected for longer papers. However, if you are required to include an abstract, begin on a new page, with the word Abstract at the top (no bold or quotation marks). The abstract should be 150-200 words (though your instructor may specify another length. Use all the standard formatting guidelines (double-spacing, etc.) discussed above—but do not indent the first line of the abstract, like you would most paragraphs. (The Latin text used for the examples comes from http://www.thelatinlibrary.com.)

Abstract Checklist

Do

  1. Provide a heading for the page: Center the word Abstract at the top (no bold, italics, or colon after).
  2. Left-align the paragraph, leaving a “ragged” right edge: Use your word processor’s Paragraph settings, omitting indentation for the first line.
  3. Use the same margins and spacing as the rest of the document: Double space with 1-inch margins.
  4. Use the same running page header as the rest of the paper: The Abstract will always be page 2.

Do Not

  1. Insert blank lines after the page heading.
  2. Indent the first line of the abstract.
  3. Right-justify or hyphenate the document; instead, leave a “ragged” right edge for the text.
  4. Exceed 200 words.


3.2.3. The body of the paper

While the settings discussed in Section 3.1 provide the basic guidelines for the body of the paper, keep in mind that some parts of the paper require special formatting, including changes in paragraph indentation, font, and alignment. In this section, we will cover the special formatting required for section headings. Here are the locations where other special formatting is covered in this manual:

APA section headings: APA document format encourages the use of section headings within longer papers. In fact, APA provides specific headings to use for empirical studies, which should have the following main sections: Introduction (not actually given a heading), Method, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Unless you are a psychology major, most of your papers will use other headings more appropriate for the paper you have been assigned. As you determine the appropriate section labels, note the standard formatting for headings indicating new sections or subsections. The following diagram shows the appropriate format for section headings and subsections at various levels:

Top Level Headings are Centered and Bold with Major Words Capitalized

Second Level Headings are Left-Aligned and Bold with Major Words Capitalized

Third level headings are left-aligned, indented, bold, and ending with a period.

Fourth level headings are left-aligned, indented, italicized, bold, and ending with a period.

You probably will not have much need for third- and fourth-level headings, unless writing a paper more than 10 or 15 pages. Some instructors may ask that you avoid headings for particular assignments. When allowed, you are generally encouraged to take advantage of APA section headings for papers more than three or four pages. Be aware also that your instructor or the assignment itself may direct you to use specific headings reflecting the aims of the genre of paper you are writing. When you do not use those headings to arrange material in the body of your paper, you will likely have points deducted from the grade of the paper. NOTE: No extra line spacing appears before or after the headings.

Main Body Checklist

Do

  1. Left-align the body of the paper: Use your word processor’s Paragraph settings.
  2. Indent each paragraph a half inch: Again, use the Paragraph settings of your word processor
  3. Use one-inch margins throughout: This is usually achieved with the Page Layout options.
  4. Double space the entire document: This is usually achieved with the Paragraph settings.
  5. Indent block quotations an extra half inch from the left margin: This is also achieved with the Paragraph settings (see more in Section 2 above).
  6. Repeat the title of the paper at the top of the first page: Center it.
  7. Insert a running page header with numbering: Use the “Insert” options in MS Word.

Do Not

  1. Put a heading before the introductory paragraphs.
  2. Insert blank lines before or after paragraphs.
  3. Right-justify or hyphenate the document; instead, leave a “ragged” right edge for the text.
  4. Force page breaks or manual insert page headers.


3.2.4. References page

Begin on a separate page. The word References should be centered at the top of the page (do not bold, italicize, underline, or use quotation marks). This page is still numbered using the same page header appearing throughout the paper.

References Page Checklist

Do

  1. Begin on a separate page. The word References should be centered at the top of the page (do not bold, italicize, underline, or use quotation marks). This page is still numbered, using the same page header appearing throughout the paper.
  2. Use hanging indentation: When source information runs onto a second, third, or additional line, indent those lines by .5” using the Paragraph settings.
  3. Use the same margins and spacing as the rest of the document: Double-space with 1-inch margins.
  4. List sources alphabetically using the first word(s) of each entry (excluding A, An or The): For multiple sources with same author(s), list them from earliest to latest years; if years match also, sort by title.

Do Not

  1. Put a colon after the page heading.
  2. Insert extra blank lines between entries.
  3. List sources that you do not actually cite in the body of the paper.


3.2.5. Appendices

Appendices can be used in papers for a variety of purposes, but their main function is to provide fuller information about some source or observation discussed in the body of the paper. The contents of appendices generally include either more detailed analyses or extra data, from graphs and tables to survey questions or interview transcripts. While you may never have cause to provide an appendix, some instructors may require them in order to document primary research, since such sources are not generally accessed through the type of information appearing on the References page. Start each appendix on a separate page. Use the same page header as the main body of the paper, including a short title and page numbers. The heading centered at the top of the first page of each appendix should include the word Appendix, and, when more than one is provided, a capital letter distinguishing each one (which should be used when referring to the appendix in the body of the paper). The appendix material itself should be formatted like similar material appearing in the body of the paper.




Last Updated: 06/8/2012 13:18