APA refers to the writing style guidelines developed by the American Psychological Association and is used mostly by writers in the sciences (including the social sciences).
APA provides writers with a credible system for formatting their works and referencing any outside sources of information. The basic APA formatting looks like:
- Type or word-process your paper in a standard font and size (e.g., Times Roman, 12 pt.).
- Left-align the text.
- Double-space the text throughout the paper.
- Set margins at one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of the paper.
- Create a header that includes the page header (an abbreviation of the title) and page number in the upper right corner and one half-inch from the top of each page.
- Create a title page with page header and number, a running head in the top left corner, and the title, your name, and institutional affiliation (or course number) centered above the middle of the page.
- Indent the first line of each paragraph and all block quotations one-half inch from the left margin.
- Italicize the titles of longer works (like a book) and put the titles of shorter works (like a poem) “in double quotation marks.”
In APA style, when you use information or ideas from an outside source, either by paraphrasing or directly quoting them, you need to reference them in two ways:
In-text References: provide the name of the source (the author’s name or the title if no name is available) and the number of the page where the information is found in a parenthetical citation directly following the paraphrase or quote. Note: the name contained in the parenthetical citation will be the first item in the References page entry, giving the reader a direct path of reference.
References page: provide the full reference information for the source on your References page.
This way, the reader can follow the information in the parenthetical citation to the References page, which contains the full source information without disrupting the flow of your paper.
Other resources available include:
- Formatting your APA paper
- APA Citation Basics
- APA Formatting Style Guide
- APA Example Paper
- MLA Formatting Information