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Learning APA Format

Marion Parish
Janet Pollock
Mark Poulin

Brock University
Faculty of Education
Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies

© Brock University 2012

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What is APA Style, and Why Should I Care
APA style is a structure of formatting rules that will ensure that your manuscript is presented uniformly throughout and also in symmetry with other manuscripts. It provides an evenness of construction that makes reading pleasurable. You are required to follow APA guidelines in preparing your exit project, thesis, or dissertation. It will be helpful for you to have a quick reference outlining some of the basic requirements regarding presentation format. These notes will guide you. Additionally, some tips are offered to help you to identify and overcome some of the peculiarities of APA style, and some common errors are identified. These notes are intended to supplement your use of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010) and the Master of Education Program Guide, online at http://www3.ed.brocku.ca/medguide/. It should be noted that some of the requirements outlined are specific to Brock’s Faculty of Education and may differ from APA mandated style. Format of Manuscript

The width of the margin at the left side of every page of the manuscript must be 1.5 inches (3.81 cm). The top, bottom, and right-side margins must be at least an inch (2.54 cm). The additional half inch (1.27 cm) at the left side is required to accommodate the binding of the manuscript.

The right-side margin is not justified to end evenly. Rather, allow the right margin to be uneven. Long words are not hyphenated at the ends of lines.
A serif font is used for the manuscript (with the exception of figures). The preferred font is Times New Roman (which is used here).
Size of type is 12 point throughout the manuscript. Do not increase size for headings. Double spacing is used throughout the body of the manuscript, including block-style quotations. Do not leave blank space around headings, block quotes, or at the bottoms of pages before the introduction of a new heading. If there is sufficient space at the bottom of a page to accommodate the heading and a line of accompanying text, the space must be used. Each paragraph is indented a half inch (1.27 cm).

The order of preliminary pages is as follows: title page, Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures (as applicable). Headings for preliminary pages are written in upper and lower case letters, centered, at the top of the page. These pages are numbered using lowercase Roman numerals centered at the bottom. The title page is counted as

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page i, but the number is not shown. The Abstract, then, is page ii, with the other preliminary pages following in sequence. Preliminary pages (excluding the title page and the Table of Contents) are listed in the Table of Contents.

Beginning at Chapter One, pages are numbered at the top right (approximately a half inch from the top of the page and an inch from the right edge) using Arabic numerals. The page number can be shown on the first page of a chapter. This sequence continues throughout the remainder of the manuscript, including reference list and appendices. The abstract must be double spaced, presented in the past tense, and must be limited to one page. The abstract is typed as a single paragraph with no paragraph indentations. As a general rule, Chapters One through Four are written in the past tense; Chapter Five is written in the present tense.

Levels of Heading
Your manuscript will require from one to five levels of heading. The heading styles, in subordination, are as follows:
A chapter heading is centered and typed in boldface, capital block style: CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
A Level 1 heading is centered, boldface, and has capital letters beginning the first and all significant words:
Representation of a Level 1 Heading
A Level 2...
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