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How Do I Write an APA Term Paper: Hints for Freshmen

When writing a paper that includes research, the paper will likely be cited using either MLA or APA style formats. When using the APA format, there are some helpful hints freshmen can keep in mind:

What styles use APA?

APA style papers are used much more frequently in college then in grade school years. The APA style is most often used for quantifiable subjects like science or history, whereas the MLA format usually applies to more humanities based subjects. The APA format works for scientific papers better because it is a more concise and structured paper.

How does it look aesthetically?

The APA style differs from MLA aesthetically in almost all elements. So, by just looking at a paper, college freshmen should be able to determine whether it is APA or MLA. An APA format paper is going to feature a title, abstract, and body. The body of your APA essay will be where you discuss specific data and research. You can break this data up into whichever organization you see best for the topic. For instance, if reporting on a science lab, you would break up the body of your essay into like sections of your lab report. Other rules of thumb college freshmen can remember about APA are to use double spaced text, a professional font. Also, look to your style guide because there are special layouts for headings, margins, page numbers and more—which APA formatting applies.

What differs for citations and sources?

When writing a research paper, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Citations and references give credit to outside sources you use. These citations are the difference between plagiarism and a well-argued term paper. When it comes to APA citations, whenever you make a statement including information of someone else’s mind then you will want to include an in-text citation. The citation will be after the information, but before the period. You will have an open parenthesis, the author’s last name, a comma, and the source’s year of publication. After the year, you will have a closing parenthesis, and a period at the end of the sentence. These in-text citations identify the use of a source. You will also list these sources in more detail at the end of your paper in the section called “references”.

Both APA formats and MLA formats give credit to the original holder’s of information. Consider the citations and aesthetic aspects of your APA term paper to make sure your paper is fully cited.


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