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How Do You Format an Essay in APA Style?


If you are in a psychology course or some other sphere related to it, there is a high probability that sooner or later, you will be assigned an essay in APA style. The APA publication style was introduced by the American Psychological Association to make all research works in this sphere consistent and homogeneous. It sets the formatting requirements, as well as the structure of the papers within psychology.

The rules are not difficult to follow, so the formatting is not time-consuming. Here is a list of basic formatting rules:

  • Uniform margins should frame the whole text. They should be at least one-inch in size.
  • Double spaces should be used between the lines, as well as Times New Roman 12-point font. Every paragraph should be marked by a ½ inch indent.
  • There should be a running head at the top of every page; it is placed at the top left corner. It is always in capital letters, and “Running head: …” is added before it. The running head should not be longer than 50 characters with spaces. It is the title of your essay, but should be shortened if it is too long.
  • Pages should be numbered. The position for a page number is the top right corner, just opposite the running head.
  • A title page should precede every APA style paper. It contains the title of the essay, the full name of the author, and information about the educational establishment that assigned it. Some instructors require adding the course title, teacher’s name, and the date when the paper was issued.
  • An in-text citation should be used for any reference made in the essay. The information that is cited should be accompanied by the name of the author of the source and the publication year. It is also necessary to cite electronic sources this way.
  • At the end of the essay, there should be a reference list that includes all sources that were used in the essay in some way or another. The list should be started on a separate page, and the cited works should be in alphabetical order. The first line of every source should be flushed to the left.

It is advisable to spend some time creating an APA style format in your word processor. Set the font, margins, spaces, headers, and footers; and you will just have to choose this option later on when you start working on a new paper.