American Psychological Association (APA) Format Requirements for Research Papers in Psychology Courses*
Leslie L. Downing
State University of New York College at Oneonta
Timothy M. Franz
St. John Fisher College
*Paper submitted in fulfillment of a requirement in Psychology, 335, Laboratory in Social Psychology.
The style and format specified by the American Psychological Association (APA) for research reports in psychology is presented in words and by example in this brief paper. This paper, including this abstract, is written and typed using page layouts, section headings and subheadings, referencing style, and other features required by APA for journal articles and required by many psychology courses for research and term papers. American Psychological Association (APA) Format Requirements for Research Papers in Psychology Courses
The style and format described in this paper is called “APA format” or “APA style”, and is explained in detail in the fifth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001). This paper is also written in APA format, and can be used as an example of how a paper should be organized and how the manuscript should be typed. A brief explanation of each section of the paper and of specific requirements for headings and subheadings, referencing methods, and other characteristics of a paper are presented. The entire paper, starting with the first line on page one, and ending with the last line in the tables and figures, should be double-spaced. All papers should include a page header, which is a shortened version of the title (three or fewer words). It appears in the upper right hand corner of every page of the manuscript. The purpose for this is in case the pages of the manuscript become disorganized, or mixed in with another manuscript (remember, most professors, like most journal editors, are working with many papers at the same time). The best way to include a page header is to use the ‘header’ function that is available in most word processing computer software programs. The programs will also allow an automatic page numbering function.
The Title Page
The first page of a manuscript should contain a page header (as described previously), a description of a running head, the title, the author’s name, and the author’s institutional affiliation. This title page is counted as page one. The description of the running head should be positioned on the first line of text, left justified, preceded by the term “Running Head:”, typed all in capital letters (maximum of 50 characters). If the manuscript is published, the publisher will replace the page header with the running head. The title, name, and affiliation should be centered on the page and double-spaced and should appear towards the middle of the page. A paper submitted for a course (like this one) should also have a note, near the end of the page, also double-spaced, which indicates the course and semester for which the paper is being written. The title itself typically should not exceed 15 words.
Page 2 will contain the word, abstract, centered near the top of the page. Below it will be a 120 word or less paragraph, double-spaced, which briefly summarizes the entire paper. This is the only paragraph in the paper that does not start off with a tab. It should begin against the left margin. Examples of what should be included in the abstract are given in the APA Publication Manual (2001), and can be found at the beginning of any recent article published in a journal of the American Psychological Association.
At the upper-right hand corner will be the page header and the page number (2). All subsequent pages of the manuscript will have a page number and the page header that appears in the exact same location.
The Body of the Paper
The title of the paper, exactly as it appears on...