The American Psychological Association (APA) citation method is one of the most widely used formats for writing scientific essays and research articles, especially in the areas of psychology, sociology, business, mathematics, economics, and medicine. This format may seem intimidating, but it is basically a matter of dividing the article into the correct sections and following basic formatting guidelines. It starts with a solid introduction, then moves on to the methods, results, and discussion sections. Include the references, a summary, and any relevant charts or graphs, and you're good to go!
Part 1 of 3: Format the Title Page and Abstract
Step 1. Set the basic formatting parameters
An APA-formatted essay must use 12-point font and must be double-spaced. It is recommended to use 2.5 cm (1 inch) margins on all four sides. Use this basic format on every page of the article.
Step 2. Come up with a fairly short title
The APA recommends using a short title, but flashy and straight to the point. A 10-12 word headline is adequate in length and should tell readers exactly what the article is about.
- For example, a title like “Age, health and cities” is very short and imprecise.
- The title "Influences of age on the perception of access to healthcare in cities" is more informative.
- Place the title in the center of the page.
Step 3. Include your name and institution below the title
It's okay to double-spaced them. You do not need to include extra spaces between the title and this information. It should look something like this:
- Age as an influence on perceived access to healthcare in cities
- Rohanda jenkins
- University of Toledo
Step 4. Use the page header
Every article page, including the title page, should have a heading. It should be a short summary of the title of the article. It must be less than 50 characters and found in all chapters.
For example, “Age and perceived access to healthcare”
Step 5. Write the page number in the upper right corner
The page number should be written on the same line as the heading, to the right. Set the page numbers to appear automatically on each page.
Part 2 of 3: Crafting the main content
Step 1. Submit the article
The first section of the APA-formatted essay will be the introduction, but it does not need to have that heading. Just write the title of the essay (in normal type) at the beginning of the next page and then start writing the introduction on the next line.
- The introduction should summarize the topic, its relevance to the research, and indicate how you arrived at your hypothesis.
- Keep things interesting. Avoid boring your readers with phrases like "Schmidt concluded in 2009 that …", "As Donaldson indicated in 2011 …", "Then, in 2013, Pavlov argued that …".
- Rather, he writes in terms of ideas: “Some scholars like Schmidt and Donaldson have shown that there is wide variability in access to healthcare. The role of age in creating this variability has not been adequately considered. Knowing about healthcare options among the elderly is an important starting point that is explored in Pavolv's research, but a more comprehensive study of age-based influences is needed. "
Step 2. Label the methods section
In bold, after the introduction, write the word “Method” in the center. This section is a bit easier. It should describe, in simple terms, the exact design of your research. Create subsections to describe the participants, materials, and procedures used in your study. Don't use page breaks between these subsections or any other section of the article.
- Title each subsection ("Participants", "Materials", "Procedures") in bold and to the left. Begin each paragraph on the next line.
- If it is necessary to describe the equipment used, you can also include the section “Apparatus” instead of or in addition to the section “Materials”.
- The goal of the “Methods” section is to show other researchers how to replicate the study should they wish to do so.
Step 3. Share your results
Write the word “Results” in bold and in the center after the last of the method subsections. Be sure to include statistics that analyze your study, if applicable.
- Refer to the APA manual or your specific field to find precise information on how to format the statistics.
- Make reference to any supplementary material you have in the article (charts, images, graphs, tables, etc.). For example, you could write something like "As Figure 1 indicates …".
Step 4. Tell readers the importance of your work in the analysis section
Label this section “Analysis” in bold, in the center, just after the “Results” section. Indicate whether or not your findings agree with your hypothesis (and your assumptions as to the reasons). Make sure to acknowledge any limits in your study. You can also mention what other academics might do next based on your findings.
For example, this section might state something like "Although this study indicated that adolescents perceive health care as less accessible than adults over 35 years of age, more research is needed to analyze this topic in people between 18 and 35 years of age."
Part 3 of 3: Apply the Finishing Touches
Step 1. Add the “References” section
You must cite all sources used in your study according to APA formatting guidelines. After the "Analysis" section, you should also include a complete list of bibliographic information for these citations, after the word "References" in the center and in bold.
- Write the references alphabetically, according to the last name of the first author.
- Don't put an extra space between each reference. Normal double spacing is all you need.
- Use indentation for reference entries.
- Also be sure to include APA-formatted citations if you write a reference in the main content of the essay.
Step 2. Include any charts or graphs you have created
The format of the tables and graphs varies according to your field, as well as the design of the study. Check the most recent APA format manual or field authorities for some recommendations. If you include a lot of tables and graphs, give each one its own page.
However, if you are a student, your instructor might ask you to incorporate the tables or graphs into the main content of the article. Always ask if you have any questions
Step 3. Write the summary on a separate page
Write a paragraph that summarizes the topic, methods, results, and analysis. Limit it to 150 to 250 words. Like the rest of the article, it must be double-spaced. However, it must be in block format, that is, you must not indent the first line.
- Write the word "Summary" in the center and in normal type on the previous line of the paragraph.
- You should write the abstract after you've finished the article, but put it on its own page right after the title page.