How to Write an Apa Format Paper

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Use the first sentence or sentences of the introduction to grab your reader’s attention and let them know what the main idea of your paper is. The introduction of the paper begins here in the first paragraph of your paper, on the line following the paper title. Indent the first sentence of each paragraph by pressing the tab key on your keyboard. Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, and References page. APA uses a traditional font style such as Times New Roman, and a 12 point font size.

The title of the paper (in uppercase and lowercase letters) is centered on the first line below the running head. The running head is a shortened version of the paper’s full title that “runs” across the top of each page. APA guidelines place the words “Running head” before the short title on the title page. However, most instructors do not require the words “Running head” to be typed before the short title on the cover page (the first page).

The running head appears, along with the page number, in the Header section of a Microsoft Word document. In Microsoft Word 2007, click the Insert tab at the top of the page. In the Header & Footer group, click Header and select the first option, Blank. Type your running head in all capital letters. After typing your running head, hit the Tab key on your keyboard twice to reach the right margin. With the Header still open, click on Page Number in the Header & Footer group on the left-side of the page. Select the fourth option, Current Position and click on Plain Number. Be sure that the “different first page” and “different odd & even pages” options in the Options group on the Design tools ribbon are not checked. You should now have a running head on the upper-left hand corner of each page and a page number in the upper-right hand corner of each page. Page one begins on the title page.

Headings within your paper may be used to organize your paper, depending on your instructor’s directions. If your instructor does require the use of headings in your paper, use centered, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters; for example:

Disease Description
Subheadings (when the paper has two levels of headings) use flush left, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters. For example:

The body of your paper is the main part of your paper. In the body, give three or more major supporting points. Write one or more paragraphs for each point. Provide factual details on each, including examples or evidence from your sources. Provide a topic sentence for each supporting point paragraph.

The sources from which you obtained the information presented in your paper must be documented or cited in the body of the paper. By citing, you give proper credit to the ideas and words of others. Each time that you use information from one of your sources, give the author’s or authors’ last name(s) and the year the source was published. Citations inserted within the body of the paper are referred to as in-text citations. Every in-text citation must correspond to a matching bibliographic entry on your References or Bibliography page. This allows the reader to obtain the full source citation from the list of references on the References page at the end of the paper. APA guidelines require in-text citations to document quotations, paraphrases, summaries, and other material borrowed from your sources. A research paper weaves the ideas of others with your own ideas and conclusions. In general, information taken from your sources should be presented in your own words (paraphrasing). This allows you to process the research you have done and interpret it in a way that is meaningful to you and that your readers will understand. You still need to cite your source, even if you have put the information in your own words. Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries must all be cited.

Direct quotations, passages copied word-for-word from your...
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