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How do I write a research paper in APA format with little or almost no experience in this particular writing style?

Writing in APA format can be challenging especially for those who are not experienced with this style of writing. To the surprise of many APA is required in courses and fields other than psychology. Fields that require APA formatted papers include…

  • Psychology
  • Criminology
  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Education
  • Economics

These are common disciplines that many universities provide programs for. In the next few paragraphs I will list some ways to be a successful writer in this style regardless of your experience.

When writing a paper in APA format for the first time it is important to be aware of the rules that are unique to this style of writing. Rules of layout, punctuation, grammar, and most importantly citation are all items that APA has specific rules about. Listed below are sections that must be included in your paper.

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Body
  • References

For each of these sections there are specific rules that apply only to APA. Below I will elaborate on each of the sections listing specific rules that must be followed and information that should be included.

Title Page

Your title page should include some specific information that will aid in identifying the school that you are affiliated with, the contents of your paper, and can be used to quickly make a decision whether or not the contents of the paper will be useful for research of a particular topic. It should include the title of your paper, your name, the school which you attend or have graduated from, a running head and a page number.


A brief summary of the contents of your paper.

The Main Body

The contents of your paper. Take care to use the correct form of in text citations.


Special attention should be paid to the reference page when using APA format. First, all references should be listed on their own page. Second, references should be listed alphabetically with the first line of each reference flush with the left margin and the following lines indented. Finally, each reference should be double spaced.

There are many more minute rules that are indicative of the APA format for writing. These are too numerous to list in this article but there are many university websites and books that provide any information that could ever be required for writing in this format. Additionally, if you are a student many universities have a writing center that will provide assistance with writing in this style.


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