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APA & Academic Integrity: Format

Find out how to cite and format your paper using APA, and how to have academic integrity as a college student.

General APA Rules

Rules for All APA Papers:

  • Margins: 1"
  • Font: Times New Roman, size 12
  • Line Spacing: Double
    • Make sure that there is no extra space after each paragraph (Microsoft Word defaults to including one. Fix this by: highlighting your entire paper, clicking the line spacing button, then selecting "Remove Space After Paragraph"
  • Headers and page numbers (see section below)

Sections of an APA Paper

  • Title Page - check with your instructor if they are requiring a title page
  • Abstract Page - check with your instructor
  • Essay
  • References
  • Appendices - check with your instructor to see if they want you to include appendices

Major Sections of Your Paper

Title Page

If a title page is required for your assignment, follow these steps:

1. Place your cursor at the top of the first page

2. Hit Enter on the keyboard five times

3. Type your title's paper using these rules:

  • Capitalize the first letter of all important words (but not words like a, the, of, etc.)
  • Title may be up to 2 lines (Main Title on First Line: Subtitle on Second)
  • Title should be no more than 12 words
  • Title should contain no abbreviations (spell out United States of America instead of using U.S.A.)
  • Title should contain no unnecessary words

4. Press ENTER, then type your full name (with middle initial if you want to include it)

5. Press ENTER, then type Central Penn College

Abstract Page

An abstract is a short summary of your paper, usually about 100 - 150 words long. An abstract receives its own page and should be page 2 of your paper.

If your instructor requires an abstract, follow these steps:

1. Type and center the title, Abstract

2. Press Enter on the keyboard, then click the Left Adjust button

3. Every line, including the first line, should be flush against the left margin, not indented. Type your abstract.

4. Press Enter then Tab on the keyboard, and type: Keywords:

5. Type the most important, key vocabulary terms here (just a few)

6. Highlight and italicize Keywords (and leave the actual vocabulary terms not italicized)

First Page of Your Essay

1. Type the title of your paper as it appears on the title page (line one for title, line two for subtitle), then highlight your entire title and center it

2. On the first line of your paragraph, click the left adjust button to move your cursor back to the left margin

3. Begin writing your paper. Once you have a few lines done, highlight the lines you've written (do NOT include the title), then click the Paragraph Formatting button

4. Under Indentation: Special, choose First Line. The default indentation is 0.5", which is correct

References Page

Your References should begin at the top of a new page immediately after your essay has ended.

1. Type and center the title: References

2. Press enter, then select the left adjust button to move your cursor to the left margin

3. Write (or paste) all of your citations. Each citation should begin on a new line. Do not add any extra spaces between citations.

4. Highlight all of your citations, then click the Sort button in the Paragraph section of the menu. The defaults are correct to sort alphabetically. Click OK.

5. Highlight all of your citations, then click the Paragraph formatting button.

6. Under Indentation: Special, select Hanging. The default setting is 0.5", which is correct. Click OK.

Appendices

An appendix is a section that is added on to the very end of your paper (after the References page). Appendices should be used:

  • when you want to include a chart, table, or graph that is either too large or too complicated to place in the body of your essay
  • when you want to include a long document or report, such as a survey

 

Titling the Appendices

  • If you have only one appendix, title it Appendix.
  • If you have two or more appendices, title them as follows: Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. 
  • You should refer to each appendix in the body of your essay. 

. . . produced the same results for both studies (see Appendices A and B for complete results).

  • Each appendix should begin on a new page. Center the title: Appendix A, then begin your text on a new line flush against the left margin.

Headers and Headings

Headers and Page Numbers

Headers and page numbers are required for every APA paper you write. To correctly format your headers and page numbers:

1. Double click your mouse at the very top of the title page (or page 1 if there's no required title page).

2. Check the box to create a Different First Page. It looks like this:

     

3. Click Page Number, then select Top of Page, and Plain Number 3.

4. Type the following following the capitalization exactly: Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER 

5. Tab twice to move the title to the left side of the header, while keeping the page number at the right

6. Select all text in the header (including page number), go to the Home tab, and change font to Times New Roman, size 12

7. Go down to your page 2 header (there should not currently be a header. If there is, make sure you have the box checked next to Different First Page)

8. Click Page Number, then select Top of Page, and Plain Number 3.

9. Type the title of your paper (the first line of the title on your title page) in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS

10. Tab twice to move the title to the left side of the header, while keeping the page number at the right

11. Select all text in the header (including page number), go to the Home tab, and change font to Times New Roman, size 12

Every page after page 2 should have the same header you created for page 2.

Headings

HEADINGS should not be confused with HEADERS. Headers are your abbreviated title that run along the top margin of each page of your paper (see instructions above). Headings divide the body of your paper up into smaller, more manageable sections for your reader.

Level 1

Centered, Bold, and Title Case

     The title of your paper does not receive this formatting, but the next heading within the body of your paper will. Your paragraph begins on the next line and is indented by half an inch.

Level 2

Flush Left, Bold, and Title Case

     The body of your paragraph begins on the next line and is indented by half an inch.

Level 3

     Indented, bold, sentence case.  Note that this style is in sentence format, beginning with a capital letter, and ending with a period.

Level 4

     Indented, bold, italics, sentence case.  Note that this style is in sentence format, beginning with a capital letter, and ending with a period.

Level 5

     Indented, italics, sentence case.  Note that this style is in sentence format, beginning with a capital letter, and ending with a period.

 

Editable Template

Sample Papers

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