How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

Wendy Jordan

South Seattle College



Formatting writing styles is important because it leads to a consistent way to organize content.  Which type is chosen depends on the realm within which the author is publishing the work.  This paper will provide the student with a general template for writing in the APA style.  These styles are commonly required in higher education and lend themselves to more accurate evaluation.

 How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

        The APA paper format has 3 styles depending upon the goal: the general format, the literature review format, and the experimental report format. For the purpose of this handbook, we will focus on the general format.  The other forms will accommodate students who are further along in their studies (E. Angeli, 2010).

The General APA format includes four major sections: the title page, the abstract, the main article, and a reference page, all of which are written on their own page.  The font should be 10-12-point Standard font, the paper should be double spaced, with 1-inch margins.  Each page of the paper includes a page header in uppercase letters, left aligned and every page is numbered to the right (E. Angeli, 2010).

The title page information should begin in the upper half of the page and be centered.  The information should include the title of your paper, your name and your school.  As explained previously, the “Running head: SHORT TITLE OF YOUR PAPER”, (E. Angeli, 2010) is included only in this section.  The remaining sections will simply restate the short title.

The abstract must be labeled as such, centered, and also include the page header and page number.  What follows is a brief summary of what the reader will learn from the paper.  It should contain your main theme and some form of result or conclusion.  The word count is short so keep it to between 150 and 250 words (E. Angeli, 2010).

Your main article or the body of your paper begins with an introduction summarizing the basic information and catch the readers attention.  Information here can be general with broad concepts.  The paper continues with a focus on stronger supportive content and completes with a conclusion.  The conclusion should sum up the papers focus and provide a final statement.

The APA style papers are concluded with a reference page.  It has a page header and page numbers.  The word reference is centered and all citations are in the appropriate APA format in alphabetical order.  The reference entries are indented as well.


     American Psychological Association. (2016). Why is APA Style needed? Retrieved from APA Style:

Angeli, J. W. (2010, May 5). General Format. Retrieved from

Rogers, K. (n.d.). Writing in Style. APA Style Manual Online Training for Edition 6.0. Tennessee: University of Tennessee. Retrieved from APA 6.0.







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