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Some Basic Dos And Don’ts Of Writing An APA Format Paper

APA stands for American psychological Association. Sometimes students find it challenging to format their research paper in APA style. This is because it has some basic rules on what you should include, where you should place it, what font size you should use, line spacing, how to align it, and so on and so forth. Even its citation has to be done is a specific way. How you cite works by one author is entirely different from how you cite works by two or multiple authors. Journals, websites, newspapers, articles, books, etc, all have different ways of citing them. That is why it is important that you understand the rules of APA formatting.

There are some general format rules for the entire research paper that you have to know. For instance, there are four sections that have to be included in your paper. They include the title page, abstract, main body and reference.

Title page

It is usually written on the first page.


This usually comes after the title page. It includes a brief summary of what your research paper is all about. The APA rule states that it should be between 150-250 words. However, this varies since different instructions or publications often have their own requirements

Main body

This is where you discuss your points and elaborate on them. You can also include in-text citations.


It has to be included so as to support the validity of the validity of your paper. You have to write a list of all the references that you used in your research paper.

Things to note

Write your entire research paper in past tense. (Font 12-point, double-spaced, use 1-inch margin all around the page).

You should have different pages for the references, abstract, and title page. If you have used some tables and figures, they too should be placed in their own pages.

When writing your main body, you should not out page breaks.

There are two very important aspects that you have to know how to format them

  • In-text citations

  • References

APA rules for the Reference Page

  • Ensure that it is written on a new page. Include a title on this page “references” center it.

  • Use alphabetical order when listing down your entries

  • Use italics when writing titles of books, journals, newspapers and magazines

  • If you have used any sources in your research paper, ensure that it is included both on the in-text citation and reference page.

Rules for in-text citations

You must include both the name of the author and the date of publication


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