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What Is the APA Format?

April 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 155

In writing papers, whether they are professional or educational, there are several different writing styles or formats that can be used. These include MLA, Turabian, Chicago, and the APA format. All of these have similarities and differences in how to structure your paper. The APA format is one of the most widely used for technical writing, particularly in the fields of psychology and the social sciences. It was formulated in 1929 by the American Psychological Association in order to establish rules and guidelines in writing research papers to enable readers to quickly scan through the paper and see the important information contained within.

There are different sections in an APA formatted paper. The first is the title page where the author's name, title of the article, and the affiliated institution are placed. The second section is the abstract, which is a summary of the entire document including the paper's findings or conclusions. The following section is the introduction where the background information is written. The method section is where the researcher details how the research was conducted while the results section discusses the research findings and their significance. The reference section lists all the sources cited within the paper for documentation. The last section is the appendices. This is where the list of tables and graphs are located.

The APA format also has a set of rules or guidelines for margins, fonts, spacing, and the like. For the body paragraphs, Times New Roman is recommended while the Arial font is suggested for image captions. The paper should have double spacing, be aligned to the left, and have page numbers located at the top of each page. For every paragraph, the first line should be indented. The APA format also requires the use of headers.

The most important rules of the APA format are for citing sources which is what distinguishes it from the other formats. In-text citations in this format should include the author's last name and the date within a parenthesis. In writing the references section, sources should be listed in alphabetical order according to the author's last name. The publication date, the title of the source, and other publication details should be included as well. If the source should take up more than one line, a hanging indent should be applied to the second line. It is important that the details of each source cited be accurate to help the readers easily verify any and all of the works you used to prove your ideas. Source materials can be journals, articles, books, dissertations, reviews, and even podcasts.

If you're going to write a paper in the APA format, it is best to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association as your guide. The APA's website also offers a lot of examples and tutorials that can help anyone who needs to learn more about the APA format.

The author of this article has written several scientific papers using the APA format and some literary ones using the MLA format.

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