APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template

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Table of contents

  • 1 Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?
  • 2.1 Purpose of research paper outline
  • 2.2 APA outline example
  • 3.1 APA paper outline example
  • 3.2 Introduction:
  • 3.4 Conclusion:
  • 4 The Basic APA Outline Format
  • 5 APA Style Outline Template Breakdown
  • 6.1 APA Research Paper Outline Example
  • 6.2 APA Paper Outline Format Example
  • 7.1 First Paragraph: Hook and Thesis
  • 7.2 Main Body
  • 7.3 Conclusion
  • 7.4 Decimal APA outline format example
  • 7.5 Decimal APA outline format layout
  • 8.1 A definite goal
  • 8.2 Division
  • 8.3 Parallelism
  • 8.4 Coordination
  • 8.5 Subordination
  • 8.6 Avoid Redundancy
  • 8.7 Wrap it up in a good way
  • 8.8 Conclusion

Formatting your paper in APA can be daunting if this is your first time. The American Psychological Association (APA) offers a guide or rules to follow when conducting projects in the social sciences or writing papers. The standard APA fromat a research paper outline includes a proper layout from the title page to the final reference pages. There are formatting samples to create outlines before writing a paper. Amongst other strategies, creating an outline is the easiest way to APA format outline template.

Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?

Consistency in the sequence, structure, and format when writing a research paper encourages readers to concentrate on the substance of a paper rather than how it is presented. The requirements for paper format apply to student assignments and papers submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed publication. APA paper outline template style may be used to create a website, conference poster, or PowerPoint presentation . If you plan to use the style for other types of work like a website, conference poster, or even PowerPoint presentation, you must format your work accordingly to adjust to requirements. For example, you may need different line spacing and font sizes. Follow the formatting rules provided by your institution or publication to ensure its formatting standards are followed as closely as possible. However, to logically structure your document, you need a research paper outline in APA format. You may ask: why is it necessary to create an outline for an APA research paper?

Concept & Purposes of Research Paper Outline

A path, direction, or action plan! Writing short essays without a layout may seem easy, but not for 10,000 or more words. Yet, confusing a table of contents with an outline is a major issue. The table of contents is an orderly list of all the chapters’ front matter, primary, and back matter. It includes sections and, often, figures in your work, labeled by page number. On the other hand, a research APA-style paper outline is a proper structure to follow.

Purpose of research paper outline

An outline is a formalized essay in which you give your own argument to support your point of view. And when you write your apa outline template, you expand on what you already know about the topic. Academic writing papers examine an area of expertise to get the latest and most accurate information to work on that topic. It serves various purposes, including:

  • APA paper outline discusses the study’s core concepts.
  • The research paper outlines to define the link between your ideas and the thesis.
  • It provides you with manageable portions that you can handle.
  • The research paper’s APA outline enables the detection of structural faults or gaps.
  • As shown in the example, it must clearly comprehend the subject at hand.

APA outline example

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This research paper outline example will guide you in formatting the layout for a clear direction to work on. It eliminates the inconsistency along with lacking proper substance in the paper.

Understanding the APA Outline Format

It would not be wrong to say there is no standard outline format. The official publishing handbook does not give precise guidelines for preparing an outline. But, it requires certain basic guidelines to follow regarding typeface, font size, structure, margins, etc.

APA paper outline example

Moreover, the final shape of your work relies on your instructor’s specifications and your particular preferences for APA citation format. Though, it would be better to follow some standards for formatting your outline, for instance:

Times New Roman is a widely accessible standard typeface for an APA essay format in 12-point font. However, serif and sans serif fonts like Arial and Georgia are acceptable in font size 11pt.

The text of your paper format should be double-spaced.

The primary headlines use Roman and Arabic numerals to write an outline.

Headings & Subheadings

While writing an APA essay, there are particular standards for utilizing headings in your outline: I – Main headings are numbered by Roman numerals like I, II, III, IV A  – Subheadings are numbered with Capital letters (A, B, C, D) 1  – The APA outline uses Arabic numerals (1-9 type numbers) within those subheadings. a  – Below Arabic number subheadings, lower-case letters are used (a, b, a). [1] – Headings below those subheadings use Arabic numbers enclosed in parenthesis.

APA format offers a standard layout for each paper, such as

  • 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left, and right.
  • The page number on the upper right corner.

The structure of writing an outline consists of three major sections:

  • Introduction

Introduction:

This section highlights crucial background information.

Explain the primary points that support your ideas.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize your key arguments.
  • Explain how these concepts support your ultimate stance, as shown in APA outline example below.

An outline in APA has three common formats that vary in the numeric sequence of all. To make it easier for you, we have compiled all three templates. You can format your document using these examples for added coherence and structure.

The Basic APA Outline Format

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APA Style Outline Template Breakdown

Numbering the APA style format follows five levels of headings that use different alphabets and numbers. For instance, I – Headings use Roman numerals like I, II, and III. A – CAPITAL ALPHABETS”, such as A, B, C, etc. 1 – Headings and subheadings use Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3). a – If there are further headings (the fourth level), use lower-case alphabets. [1] – Headings below that (the fifth level) use Arabic numerals enclosed in parentheses, such as [1], [2], [3].

Full Sentence Outline Format

As the name specifies, the full-sentence style outline format requires every line to be a proper sentence. Full-sentence APA style outline is best recommended for essays and speeches. It gives your writing process an idea or a logical path to follow.

APA Research Paper Outline Example

If you are looking for how to write a research paper outline APA in Full Sentence Format, here is an example:

Full Sentence APA format heading utilizes Roman numerals I, II, and III. Every heading must be a full sentence. Here is an APA style paper outline template for the full-sentence format that will clear all your confusion on how to write an outline in full-sentence format.

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APA Paper Outline Format Example

I. Introduction

III. Conclusion

Decimal Outline Format

The decimal outline format for APA research papers differs from other formats. The decimal APA style is simple and uses paragraphs for structure. It contains three main paragraphs, introduction, main body, and conclusion.

First Paragraph: Hook and Thesis

  • The first paragraph is a sentence or two that introduces the central concept of your article.
  • Introduce your topic or subject of study where your research is applicable as a context for further research.
  • Explain why the mentioned issue is essential or relevant to the audience.
  • A thesis statement is a claim that you make throughout your whole essay.
  • The topic phrase is the first point in any writing to support a thesis statement.
  • Give an explanation or provide evidence to support your point.
  • Provide verifiable facts, figures, and/or citations from credible sources in your writing. It helps in the substantiating assertion.
  • Include as many supporting statements and related evidence in your decimal outline.

Finally, when you write an outline, provide a concluding remark to support your claims.

Decimal APA outline format example

1.0 The main heading 1.1 Subheading under the main heading 1.2 Second digit is represented by subheadings under the main headings 1.2.1 Further division adds another digit in decimal format 1.2.2 You can number them as per the number of paragraphs or points, or lines An easy way to write in decimal APA outline format is to remember the structure, i.e.; 1.1.1 = Heading.Paragraph.Sentence/point under paragraph.”

Decimal APA outline format layout

1.0 Main heading 1.1 First paragraph for first heading. 1.2 Second paragraph for first heading. 1.2.1 First point or sentence for the second paragraph. 2.0 Second heading 2.1 Second heading, first paragraph. 2.2 Second heading, second paragraph. 2.2.1 Second, heading, second paragraph, first sentence, or point. 3.0 Decimal working 3.1 You must remember that each digit represents a segment. 3.2 It is easier to remember the placement of numbers. 3.2.1 First digit represents the heading 3.2.2 Second digit represents the paragraph under the main heading <3.2.3 The third digit represents any point or sentence under the paragraph.

Tips for Writing an Outline: Organize Your Ideas

You may feel it is easier to write without outlines, but once you start writing, organizing your ideas or thoughts becomes hard. Even if you have some fantastic ideas, producing an engaging story is practically hard. If you are not first creating an outline or conceptual guides while writing a research paper, you may lose track. A well-written outline is essential in completing your paper and maintaining quality. Establishing your point in paper writing is easy if you create an outline first. You can find an APA research paper outline template that best suits your requirement. Moreover, these tips can help you polish your writing. These tips and sample papers can help you write outstanding outlines without making any hassle.

A definite goal

For better expression, make a list of primary objectives on a title page in a single phrase or less. Your goal should be specific and measurable. If it is too broad or imprecise, you will not achieve anything. If you are working on a large paper format that covers a variety of themes or topics, you may have a more general purpose in mind. But, if you plan to write an essay, the aim should be as specific and clear as possible to be effective.

Breaking things up rather than allowing them to become verbose is known as the division rule. Make sure that each subsection in the document corresponds to its parent heading. If it doesn’t compare to the section, removing it or moving it to another location is better.

Parallelism

It is mainly related to the consistency and structure of the document. It keeps your paper’s layout tidy and also ensures relevancy. For instance, if you begin one heading with a verb, make sure all other headings and subheadings also start with a verb.

Coordination

Having headings aligned is critical to creating a well-organized outline. This rule also applies to subheadings, which is a good thing. If one title is less important than another, consider changing your layout by incorporating it into a subsection instead.

Subordination

Subordination deals with maintaining a connection between your paper’s headings and subheadings. It helps in the proper sequencing of headings and subheadings. Headings should be broad at the outset. At the same time, the subheadings become more particular as they go further into the document.

Avoid Redundancy

While writing a paper outline, look through it many times and cross out any items that aren’t necessary or have no significance. While outlining, make sure to be specific and concise. It will prevent you from adding information that does not supporting your final essay. Remove all the extra information and points while c that weighs you down while you write.

Wrap it up in a good way

Creating an outline does not only help in writing a coherent term paper, but it also helps in ending with precise understanding. Be considerate of your audience’s time and effort when you write an outline in APA, and ensure it serves its purpose. If you still have any doubts about formatting your paper outline, you can use this APA-style research paper outline template to write your document. We have provided Outline Format Example for every style.

People find it hard to write an outline in APA, but if you are aware of the requirements and structure, it’s no breeze. Sometimes, your instructor may alter your paper format by introducing or removing existing sections. As a result, if you come across any templates for an outline in APA, pay close attention to them. If you are looking for a quick answer to how to outline an APA paper, here’s a standard logical sequence of typical parts to include when writing an outline in APA:

  • Thesis statement
  • Techniques employed
  • Body of paper
  • Conclusions section
  • List of references

A well-written outline is an excellent tool for presenting an outstanding paper. Including the key components while writing an outline for a research paper is necessary.

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How to Write a Research Paper in APA Format

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How to Write an Outline in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

apa outline for research paper template

Amanda Tust is a fact-checker, researcher, and writer with a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

apa outline for research paper template

  • Before Starting Your Outline
  • How to Create an Outline

Writing a psychology paper can feel like an overwhelming task. From picking a topic to finding sources to cite, each step in the process comes with its own challenges. Luckily, there are strategies to make writing your paper easier—one of which is creating an outline using APA format .

Here we share what APA format entails and the basics of this writing style. Then we get into how to create a research paper outline using APA guidelines, giving you a strong foundation to start crafting your content.

At a Glance

APA format is the standard writing style used for psychology research papers. Creating an outline using APA format can help you develop and organize your paper's structure, also keeping you on task as you sit down to write the content.

APA Format Basics

Formatting dictates how papers are styled, which includes their organizational structure, page layout, and how information is presented. APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Learning the basics of APA format is necessary for writing effective psychology papers, whether for your school courses or if you're working in the field and want your research published in a professional journal. Here are some general APA rules to keep in mind when creating both your outline and the paper itself.

Font and Spacing

According to APA style, research papers are to be written in a legible and widely available font. Traditionally, Times New Roman is used with a 12-point font size. However, other serif and sans serif fonts like Arial or Georgia in 11-point font sizes are also acceptable.

APA format also dictates that the research paper be double-spaced. Each page has 1-inch margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right), and the page number is to be placed in the upper right corner of each page.

Both your psychology research paper and outline should include three key sections:

  • Introduction : Highlights the main points and presents your hypothesis
  • Body : Details the ideas and research that support your hypothesis
  • Conclusion : Briefly reiterates your main points and clarifies support for your position

Headings and Subheadings

APA format provides specific guidelines for using headings and subheadings. They are:

  • Main headings : Use Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV)
  • Subheadings: Use capital letters (A, B, C, D)

If you need further subheadings within the initial subheadings, start with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3), then lowercase letters (a, b, c), then Arabic numerals inside parentheses [(1), (2), (3)]

Before Starting Your APA Format Outline

While APA format does not provide specific rules for creating an outline, you can still develop a strong roadmap for your paper using general APA style guidance. Prior to drafting your psychology research paper outline using APA writing style, taking a few important steps can help set you up for greater success.

Review Your Instructor's Requirements

Look over the instructions for your research paper. Your instructor may have provided some type of guidance or stated what they want. They may have even provided specific requirements for what to include in your outline or how it needs to be structured and formatted.

Some instructors require research paper outlines to use decimal format. This structure uses Arabic decimals instead of Roman numerals or letters. In this case, the main headings in an outline would be 1.0, 1.2, and 1.3, while the subheadings would be 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, and so on.

Consider Your Preferences

After reviewing your instructor's requirements, consider your own preferences for organizing your outline. Think about what makes the most sense for you, as well as what type of outline would be most helpful when you begin writing your research paper.

For example, you could choose to format your headings and subheadings as full sentences, or you might decide that you prefer shorter headings that summarize the content. You can also use different approaches to organizing the lettering and numbering in your outline's subheadings.

Whether you are creating your outline according to your instructor's guidelines or following your own organizational preferences, the most important thing is that you are consistent.

Formatting Tips

When getting ready to start your research paper outline using APA format, it's also helpful to consider how you will format it. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Your outline should begin on a new page.
  • Before you start writing the outline, check that your word processor does not automatically insert unwanted text or notations (such as letters, numbers, or bullet points) as you type. If it does, turn off auto-formatting.
  • If your instructor requires you to specify your hypothesis in your outline, review your assignment instructions to find out where this should be placed. They may want it presented at the top of your outline, for example, or included as a subheading.

How to Create a Research Paper Outline Using APA

Understanding APA format basics can make writing psychology research papers much easier. While APA format does not provide specific rules for creating an outline, you can still develop a strong roadmap for your paper using general APA style guidance, your instructor's requirements, and your own personal organizational preferences.

Typically you won't need to turn your outline in with your final paper. But that doesn't mean you should skip creating one. A strong paper starts with a solid outline. Developing this outline can help you organize your writing and ensure that you effectively communicate your paper's main points and arguments. Here's how to create a research outline using APA format.

Start Your Research

While it may seem like you should create an outline before starting your research, the opposite is actually true. The information you find when researching your psychology research topic will start to reveal the information you'll want to include in your paper—and in your outline.

As you research, consider the main arguments you intend to make in your paper. Look for facts that support your hypothesis, keeping track of where you find these facts so you can cite them when writing your paper. The more organized you are when creating your outline, the easier it becomes to draft the paper itself.

If you are required to turn in your outline before you begin working on your paper, keep in mind that you may need to include a list of references that you plan to use.

Draft Your Outline Using APA Format

Once you have your initial research complete, you have enough information to create an outline. Start with the main headings (which are noted using Roman numerals I, II, III, etc.). Here's an example of the main headings you may use if you were writing an APA format outline for a research paper in support of using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety :

  • Introduction
  • What CBT Is
  • How CBT Helps Ease Anxiety
  • Research Supporting CBT for Anxiety
  • Potential Drawbacks of CBT for Anxiety and How to Overcome Them

Under each main heading, list your main points or key ideas using subheadings (as noted with A, B, C, etc.). Sticking with the same example, subheadings under "What CBT Is" may include:

  • Basic CBT Principles
  • How CBT Works
  • Conditions CBT Has Been Found to Help Treat

You may also decide to include additional subheadings under your initial subheadings to add more information or clarify important points relevant to your hypothesis. Examples of additional subheadings (which are noted with 1, 2, 3, etc.) that could be included under "Basic CBT Principles" include:

  • Is Goal-Oriented
  • Focuses on Problem-Solving
  • Includes Self-Monitoring

Begin Writing Your Research Paper

The reason this step is included when drafting your research paper outline using APA format is that you'll often find that your outline changes as you begin to dive deeper into your proposed topic. New ideas may emerge or you may decide to narrow your topic further, even sometimes changing your hypothesis altogether.

All of these factors can impact what you write about, ultimately changing your outline. When writing your paper, there are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Follow the structure that your instructor specifies.
  • Present your strongest points first.
  • Support your arguments with research and examples.
  • Organize your ideas logically and in order of strength.
  • Keep track of your sources.
  • Present and debate possible counterarguments, and provide evidence that counters opposing arguments.

Update Your Final Outline

The final version of your outline should reflect your completed draft. Not only does updating your outline at this point help ensure that you've covered the topics you want in your paper, but it also gives you another opportunity to verify that your paper follows a logical sequence.

When reading through your APA-formatted outline, consider whether it flows naturally from one topic to the next. You wouldn't talk about how CBT works before discussing what CBT is, for example. Taking this final step can give you a more solid outline, and a more solid research paper.

American Psychological Association. About APA Style .

Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Types of outlines and samples .

Mississippi College. Writing Center: Outlines .

American Psychological Association. APA style: Style and Grammar Guidelines .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Writing Center Outlines: Outlines

In this section, you'll find resources on creating Outlines. Because outlines are not published works, they do not ordinarily require APA formatting. However, assignment instructions can include APA as a grading criteria for your work, and in those instances, you should use APA standards for formatting (Title page) and use of sources (References). 

Creating an Outline

An outline is a drafting tool to help you plan your paper. An outline provides structure for the sections and/or paragraphs of your paper, depending on the scope of your project. Please note that APA style does not require any specific formatting for outlines because APA style is intended for published texts and academic essays.

An outline should illustrate the progression of your thesis statement. Since each paragraph should have a main idea supported by evidence, you can use support from your research to outline your paper, paragraph by paragraph

  • A thesis statement is a short statement that introduces the argument of your paper as a whole.
  • Every paragraph in your paper should begin with a claim/main idea , which will be a debatable assertion or position that requires support. Claims build off one another in order to develop an argument over the course of an essay.
  • Every claim should be supported by evidence or support , the proof that validates your claim. Evidence and support usually come from other sources, like peer-reviewed journal articles. This can include facts, data, statistics, anecdotes, and more.

Keep the following tips in mind when creating an outline:

  • Remember, outlines should be helpful for you when writing your paper. You should be able to look at your outline and write major sections or paragraphs using the information and ideas in your outline.
  • Level 1 bullet points should outline the major topics and ideas of your paper.
  • Level 2 bullet points should plan out sub-topics, supporting ideas, and organizational aspects of your essay.
  • Level 3 bullet points illustrate an extra level of thought and detail in your outline that you might not need. However, if you have done a lot of research on your topic already, you can use Level 3 bullet points to plan out your analysis for each piece of evidence or where to address specific counterarguments.
  • It is not always required, but it can be a good idea to include a references page after your outline. This way, your sources are already organized when you begin drafting your essay.

Full sentence outlines are often accompanied with an APA reference list on a separate page. Quotes within the outline must also utilize APA in-text citations. 

Sample Alphanumeric Outline

This downloadable sample alphanumeric outline will help you understand what a completed outline could look like.

Alphanumeric Outline Template

You can use this downloadable alphanumeric outline template to help get you started with your assignment.  

Sample Outline

This downloadable sample outline will help you understand what a completed outline could look like.

Outline Template

You can use this downloadable outline template to help you get started with your assignment.

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Body (section 2.11)

  • Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
  • Double-space
  • As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
  • Usually, include sections like these:  introduction, literature review or background,  discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
  • Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
  • Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
  • Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times

Headings (section 2.26-2.27)

  • Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case 
  • Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
  • Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
  • Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 
  • Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 

an illustration of the headings -- same detail as is given directly above this image

Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)

  • Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
  • For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
  • When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
  • Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote

References (section 2.12)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

  • References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
  • List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
  • Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
  • No quotation marks around titles of articles

Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)

  • Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
  • Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
  • For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
  • If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
  • If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
  • Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)

Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..

  • Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.

These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are  not required for student papers: 

Abstract (section 2.9).

  • Abstract gets its own page
  • Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
  • Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
  • Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper

Running Head (section 2.8 )

  • Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
  • In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
  • On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number] 

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog

  • << Previous: In-Text Citation
  • Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024 3:02 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.uww.edu/apa

Examples

APA Outline

apa outline for research paper template

If you’re a beginner in writing a research paper  or an essay and your instructor asked you to use the APA format, you may not have the faintest idea what APA means, let alone use the format. If your instructor gives you the APA guidelines then good for you. If they haven’t, don’t panic. You’re going through the perfect article that will help you get acquainted and familiarize the APA format outline. You may also see essay outline .

Most college students or teachers who are majoring in social sciences, such as Psychology, Sociology, History, Linguistics, use the American Psychological Association or APA guidelines for writing research papers and assignments in this field of study. Other fields of study also use the APA format but not limited to Business, Economics, Nursing, and Criminology. The APA covers the initial title page to bibliography citation page. APA basically provides the basic layout style and outline to correctly write your paper in the APA format. Of course, other formats are also used by researchers, students, and teachers such as MLA, Harvard, etc. You may also see free outline .

Radio Outline Format Example

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APA Style Template Example

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APA Essay Outline Example

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The Importance of Public Control: Sample Outline

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College Application Process Alphanumeric Outline

Basic Alphanumeric Outline

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Simple Alphanumeric Outline

Comprehensible Alphanumeric Outline

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2. Full-Sentence Outlines

Basic full-sentence outline.

Simple Full Sentence Outline

Though there are only a few differences between an alphanumeric outline and a full-sentence outline, you might still need a sample to illustrate these variations. See this simple full-sentence outline sample to learn more.

Full-Sentence Outline Example

Multiple Full Sentence Outline

Size: 612 KB

3. Decimal Outlines

General decimal outline.

Decimal Outline Sample

What is an APA Outline Format?

APA stands for American Psychological Association, and an APA outline format is a standardized format for outlining papers and other documents. An APA outline format is typically used for research papers, dissertations, and theses. It is a way to organize your ideas and thoughts in a clear and concise manner before writing your paper.

How to write an APA Outline Format

Using an APA format as your outline might be confusing at first but once you have familiarize yourself with the format, then it is easier for you to organize your topics and sub-topics you want to discuss in your essay or research paper. You may also see  book outline .

Having a good outline has more chances of you presenting a well-written research paper or essay. Making an APA outline is the first thing to do in creating a structure on what will be written in the paper and how it is written. There is a grammatical format that you have to follow while writing your paper to make it sound credible. Having a sloppy grammar makes your paper less impressive. Here are some tips:

1. Observe the use of parallelism.

Parallelism means the use of consecutive verbal constructions in a sentence that corresponds to the grammatical structure. In this format, this refers to the structure between the headings and sub-headings. Once you’ve established your structure, it must be consistent with all your headings and subheadings. If you start your headings with a verb, then your subheadings should start with a verb. If you use a noun, then all your headings and sub-headings must use nouns. You may also see  write a speech outline .

2. The use of coordination is vital between your headings.

All your headings must be equal in significance or importance of each other. The rule applies to sub-headings as well, but their information may be less significant than the headings. You may also see a  speech outline .

3. Make use of subordination.

Subordination is the relationship between the headings and the sub-headings. The headings usually have general information while the information contained in the sub-headings are more specific, and so on to more sub-headings. The subordination is created using Arabic numerals. You may also see the  program outline .

4. To organize your outline you should use division.

Each heading must have at least two or three divisions. However, if you have too many divisions, you need to use another heading or sub-heading. You may also see a  biography outline .

5. Your headings should always use Roman Numerals (I, II, III, etc.) when you list them.

For example, if you are writing research for The Foundation of Mugs, your heading must look like this:

I. The Foundation of Mugs

Don’t forget to always use Roman Numerals while writing your main headings. Your heading is the first and basic step in formatting your APA outline. You may also see the  chapter outline .

6. Next is the subheading.

The subheading follows the main heading. When listing them use a capital letter of the English alphabet. In the example above, your heading was “The Foundation of Mugs”. Suppose your subheading is “History of Mugs” then it should be listed using the English alphabet. Start with the capital letter A. You may also see the  presentation outline .

7. Add more than one subheading to your main heading

If you like to add more than one subheading to your main heading, just by adding the next English alphabet in capital letters in the next subheading. Example: If you like to add a second subheading to your main heading, “Foundation of Mugs”, you may write this:

B. Designs and Functions of Mugs to the Society

Your heading and subheading will look like this:

I. Foundation of Mugs A. History of Mugs B. Designs and Functions of Mugs to the Society

Use Arab numerals (1,2,3 and so on). If you want to add another subheading “Decoration” under heading B, you may write it like this:

1.  Decoration

Your outline would now look something like this:

I. Foundation of Mugs A.History of Mugs B. Designs and Functions of Mugs to the Society 1. Decoration

Finally, if there are still more subheadings you want to add under your last subheadings, use lowercase letters. If there are still subheadings you want to add under the last subheading, use Arab numerals in parenthesis. You may also see the  course outline .

What is the purpose of an APA outline format?

The purpose of an APA outline format is to provide a clear and organized structure for your paper. It helps you to plan and organize your ideas before you start writing, and it ensures that your paper is logical and easy to follow.

What are the different types of outlines in APA format?

There are several different types of outlines in APA format, including the thesis outline, script outline, research paper outline, and book outline. Each outline type has its own specific requirements and guidelines.

What are the key elements of an APA outline format?

An APA outline format should include the title page, abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion. It should also have headings and subheadings to organize the information and provide structure to the document.

How do I create an APA outline format?

To create an APA outline format, start by identifying the main points you want to make in your paper. Then, organize those points into sections and subsections using headings and subheadings. Finally, add supporting details and evidence to each section to create a complete and well-organized outline.

In conclusion, an APA outline format is a helpful tool for organizing your ideas and thoughts before you start writing your paper. Whether you are working on a thesis outline, script outline, research paper outline, or book outline, using an APA outline format can help you to create a clear and organized document that is easy to read and follow. By following the guidelines and structure provided by APA outline format, you can ensure that your paper is well-organized, logical, and easy to understand.

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Home » APA Research Paper Format – Example, Sample and Writing Guide

APA Research Paper Format – Example, Sample and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

APA Research Paper Format

The APA style is highly respected for its emphasis on accuracy, conciseness, and objectivity, making it an essential tool for researchers and scholars in various fields. This article will briefly overview the APA research paper format and its importance in academic writing.

APA Research Paper Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used format for writing research papers in the social sciences. It provides guidelines for formatting papers, citing sources, and organizing information to ensure clarity and consistency in academic writing.

APA Research Paper Format is as follows:

Page Layout

The paper should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1-inch margins on all sides. Use a clear and readable font such as Times New Roman, with a font size of 12.

The title page should contain the paper’s title, author’s name, and institution name. The title should be centered, and the author’s name and institution name should be centered and placed below the title. The page header (running head) should be included on the top left corner of the page and contain the paper’s shortened title (50 characters maximum) in capital letters. The page number should be placed on the top right corner of the page.

The abstract is a brief summary of the paper’s main points, and it should be placed on a separate page after the title page. The abstract should be between 150-250 words and should include the research question or hypothesis, methods used, results, and conclusions. It should be written in a single paragraph and without indentation.

The main body of the paper should be organized into sections such as Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. Each section should start on a new page and be labeled with the appropriate heading. The Introduction should introduce the research question, provide background information, and explain the significance of the study. The Methods section should describe the research design, participants, measures, and procedures. The Results section should present the findings, including statistical analyses. The Discussion section should interpret the results, discuss the implications, and suggest future research directions.

In-Text Citations

When referring to the work of others within the paper, use in-text citations. In-text citations include the author’s last name and the year of publication, enclosed in parentheses. For example, (Smith, 2019). When citing a direct quote, include the page number in the citation. For example, (Smith, 2019, p. 45).

The reference page should be on a separate page at the end of the paper. All sources cited within the paper should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. The first line of each reference should be flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines should be indented. Each reference should include the author’s name, year of publication, title of the work, publisher, and location. Online sources should include the URL or DOI. The reference format varies based on the type of source, such as a book, journal article, or website.

In addition to these elements, there are some general formatting guidelines to follow in an APA research paper:

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Double-space your text.
  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Include page numbers in the top right corner of each page.
  • Use in-text citations to cite sources in your text.

APA Research Paper Example

APA Research Paper Example sample for students:

Title of the Paper

The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health in College Students

This study aims to investigate the effects of exercise on mental health in college students. A total of 100 participants (50 males and 50 females) were recruited from a local university. The participants were randomly assigned to either an exercise group or a control group. The exercise group participated in a 12-week exercise program, while the control group did not engage in any regular exercise. The participants’ mental health was measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory before and after the intervention. The results showed that the exercise group had a significant decrease in anxiety and depression scores compared to the control group. These findings suggest that regular exercise can have a positive impact on mental health in college students.

Keywords: exercise, mental health, college students, anxiety, depression

Introduction

Mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, are prevalent among college students. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), approximately one in three college students reported experiencing some level of anxiety in the past year, while one in five reported experiencing depression. While there are several approaches to treating mental health issues, exercise has been identified as a potential intervention that can improve mental health. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of exercise on mental health in college students.

Participants: A total of 100 participants (50 males and 50 females) were recruited from a local university. The participants were between the ages of 18 and 25 and were not engaged in regular exercise.

The participants were randomly assigned to either an exercise group or a control group. The exercise group participated in a 12-week exercise program, which consisted of three 60-minute exercise sessions per week. The exercise sessions included a combination of cardiovascular and strength training exercises. The control group did not engage in any regular exercise during the 12-week period.

The participants’ mental health was measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after the intervention. The BAI and BDI are self-report questionnaires that measure the severity of anxiety and depression symptoms, respectively. The scores on each questionnaire range from 0 to 63, with higher scores indicating greater levels of anxiety and depression.

Data analysis

A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the changes in anxiety and depression scores between the exercise group and the control group.

The results showed that the exercise group had a significant decrease in anxiety scores (M = 19.25, SD = 5.87) compared to the control group (M = 23.50, SD = 6.33), F(1, 98) = 13.67, p < .001. Similarly, the exercise group had a significant decrease in depression scores (M = 15.80, SD = 4.91) compared to the control group (M = 18.45, SD = 4.86), F(1, 98) = 9.63, p < .01.

The results of this study suggest that regular exercise can have a positive impact on mental health in college students. The exercise group had a significant decrease in anxiety and depression scores compared to the control group, indicating that exercise can be an effective intervention for improving mental health. These findings support previous research that has identified exercise as a potential treatment for mental health issues.

Limitations and Future Directions

One limitation of this study is that the sample size was relatively small and only included college students from one university. Future research should replicate these findings in a larger and more diverse sample. Additionally, future studies could also investigate the long-term effects of exercise on mental health and explore the optimal duration and frequency of exercise for maximum benefit. Furthermore, it would be interesting to examine the mechanisms by which exercise improves mental health, such as changes in brain chemistry and neural pathways.

This study provides evidence that regular exercise can have a positive impact on mental health in college students. Given the high prevalence of mental health issues among this population, exercise may be an important intervention for improving well-being. Healthcare professionals and educators should consider promoting exercise as a component of mental health management in college students.

  • American College Health Association. (2019). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2019.
  • American College Health Association. Beck, A. T., Epstein, N., Brown, G., & Steer, R. A. (1988). An inventory for measuring clinical anxiety: Psychometric properties. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(6), 893-897. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Brown, G. K. (1996). Beck Depression Inventory-II. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Note: This is just a sample example do not copy this as your assignment or research topic.

APA Research Paper Writing Guide

Writing a research paper in APA (American Psychological Association) format can be a challenging task, but it is an essential skill for students and researchers alike. The following guide will provide you with the necessary steps to write an APA research paper.

  • Choose a topic: Select a topic that is relevant to your field of study or interests. You can browse online academic databases, read relevant journals and books, or brainstorm with peers and mentors.
  • Conduct research: Use credible sources to gather information and data that support your thesis statement. You can use online academic databases, books, and peer-reviewed journals.
  • Create an outline: Use the information gathered from research to create a detailed outline that outlines the main points of your paper. This outline will serve as a guide as you write your paper.
  • Write the introduction: The introduction should provide background information on the topic and a thesis statement that states the purpose of your paper.
  • Write the body: The body of the paper should contain your arguments and supporting evidence. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea, and evidence should be cited according to APA format.
  • Write the conclusion: The conclusion should summarize the main points of your paper and restate the thesis statement.
  • Revise and edit : After completing the first draft, revise and edit your paper to ensure it is well-written, organized, and free from grammatical errors.
  • Cite sources: Use APA format to cite sources throughout the paper, including in-text citations and a reference page.

Purpose of APA Research Paper Format

The purpose of the APA research paper format is to provide a standardized format for academic writing in the social sciences. This format includes guidelines for the structure, formatting, and citation of research papers, with the goal of ensuring that papers are clear, concise, and easy to read and understand.

The APA format includes specific guidelines for the title page, abstract, main body, and reference list, as well as guidelines for in-text citations and headings. These guidelines help to ensure that research papers are formatted consistently across different journals and academic disciplines, making it easier for readers to find and understand the information presented.

In addition to promoting consistency and clarity, the APA format also promotes ethical research practices, such as the proper attribution of sources and the accurate reporting of research findings. Overall, the APA research paper format is a valuable tool for promoting clear and effective communication in the social sciences.

When to use APA Research Paper Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used in the social sciences for writing research papers, including psychology, sociology, education, and nursing. It provides guidelines for formatting papers, citing sources, and referencing materials used in the research. Here are some situations when you should use the APA research paper format:

  • When writing research papers in social sciences : APA style is commonly used in social sciences research papers such as psychology, sociology, education, and nursing.
  • When your professor or institution requires it : APA style may be required by your professor or institution for academic papers.
  • When submitting papers to academic journals: Many academic journals in social sciences require authors to follow APA style guidelines when submitting research papers for publication.
  • When citing sources in your research paper: APA style provides rules for citing sources within the text of the paper, creating a reference list at the end of the paper, and formatting in-text citations and the reference list.
  • When formatting your research paper : APA style provides guidelines for formatting the title page, abstract, headings, font, spacing, margins, and pagination of your research paper.

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Basic Format for Books

Edited book, no author, edited book with an author or authors, a translation.

Note : When you cite a republished work, like the one above, in your text, it should appear with both dates: Plato (385-378/1989)

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Note : When you list the pages of the chapter or essay in parentheses after the book title, use "pp." before the numbers: (pp. 1-21). This abbreviation, however, does not appear before the page numbers in periodical references, except for newspapers. List any edition number in the same set of parentheses as the page numbers, separated by a comma: (2nd ed., pp. 66-72).

Multivolume Work

Articles in periodicals.

APA style dictates that authors are named with their last name followed by their initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of the article is in sentence-case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized. The periodical title is run in title case, and is followed by the volume number which, with the title, is also italicized. If a DOI has been assigned to the article that you are using, you should include this after the page numbers for the article. If no DOI has been assigned and you are accessing the periodical online, use the URL of the website from which you are retrieving the periodical.

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Note: APA 7 advises writers to include a DOI (if available), even when using the print source. The example above assumes no DOI is available.

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Note :  This content also appears on Reference List: Online Media .

As noted above, when citing an article in an electronic journal, include a DOI if one is associated with the article.

DOIs may not always be available. In these cases, use a URL. Many academic journals provide stable URLs that function similarly to DOIs. These are preferable to ordinary URLs copied and pasted from the browser's address bar.

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IMAGES

  1. Sample Research Paper Apa Style Outline

    apa outline for research paper template

  2. APA Outline

    apa outline for research paper template

  3. Writing An Outline For A Research Paper Apa Format

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  4. Apa Research Paper Template Word 2010

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  5. APA Outline

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  6. Research Paper Outline APA Format

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VIDEO

  1. MLA vs APA Style

  2. How to Create an Outline of a Research Paper Using Topic Sentences

  3. APA Format and Outline

  4. How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper?

  5. APA Style Paper for Mac

  6. Research Paper Outline Discussion

COMMENTS

  1. APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template

    If you are looking for how to write a research paper outline APA in Full Sentence Format, here is an example: A. For subheadings, you use capital alphabets A, B, C. B. Subheadings must complement, lead, or link to the paper's main idea. 1. Arabic numerals are used for headings under subheadings like 1, 2, and 3. 2.

  2. Fillable Template and Sample Paper

    APA 7th ed. Template. Download this Word document, fill out the title page and get writing! Sample Paper APA 7th ed. Our APA sample paper shows you how to format the main parts of a basic research paper. APA 7th Sample Papers from Purdue Owl << Previous: Block Quotations; Next: Government Documents and Legal Materials >>

  3. How to Write an Outline in APA Format

    How to Create a Research Paper Outline Using APA . Understanding APA format basics can make writing psychology research papers much easier. While APA format does not provide specific rules for creating an outline, you can still develop a strong roadmap for your paper using general APA style guidance, your instructor's requirements, and your own personal organizational preferences.

  4. APA Sample Paper

    Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader. Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication).

  5. Sample papers

    These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

  6. APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.)

    Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines: Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides. Double-space all text, including headings. Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches. Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).

  7. Outlines

    An outline is a drafting tool to help you plan your paper. An outline provides structure for the sections and/or paragraphs of your paper, depending on the scope of your project. Please note that APA style does not require any specific formatting for outlines because APA style is intended for published texts and academic essays. An outline ...

  8. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences. Example: 1 Body paragraph one. 1.1 First point. 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point. 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point.

  9. PDF Student Paper Setup Guide, APA Style 7th Edition

    Indent the first line of every paragraph of text 0.5 in. using the tab key or the paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program. Page numbers: Put a page number in the top right corner of every page, including the title page or cover page, which is page 1. Student papers do not require a running head on any page.

  10. Free Download: APA 7 Template (Word Doc

    This free template includes all five core sections typically required for a student paper formatted using APA 7th edition. Here's an overview of the template structure: The perfectly formatted MS Word document (DOCX format) is fully editable, so you can use it for your as is, copy over the contents to a fresh document, or convert to LaTeX.

  11. PDF Sample Student Paper

    Sample Student Paper (continued) 66 • PAPER ELEMENTS AND FORMAT journal article reference, 10.1 YouTube video reference, 10.12 short URL, 9.36 book reference, 10.2 report reference, 10.4 blog post reference, 10.1 conference presentation reference, 10.5 edited book chapter reference, 10.3 shortDOI, 9.36 ELEMENTS & FORMAT

  12. APA 7th Edition Tutorial: Download/Edit APA Paper Template

    This guide gives a quick run-down of the basic rules of using APA formatting. Learn how to: write an abstract; format headings; format in-text citations; and construct your References page. The template gives detailed instructions for how to format your paper, as well as showing which sections are most commonly included in a standard APA-style paper.

  13. How to write an outline for an APA format paper

    Brainstorm. Start by writing down your first attempt at a title, some of your main points, and create your title page. It is also helpful to write down the assignment/prompt, or have it nearby. This will help you orient the rest of your outline and ensure that everything that follows is in alignment with the overall paper topic.

  14. Format Your Paper

    Body (section 2.11) Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line; Double-space; As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold, and in Sentence Case Capitalization; Usually, include sections like these: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific ...

  15. Research Paper Format

    The main guidelines for formatting a paper in APA Style are as follows: Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial. Set 1 inch page margins. Apply double line spacing. If submitting for publication, insert a APA running head on every page. Indent every new paragraph ½ inch.

  16. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper Author/Authors Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.)

  17. PDF APA 7 Student Sample Paper

    papers (a change from APA 6). Page numbers begin on the first page and follow on every subsequent page without interruption. No other information (e.g., authors' last names) is required. Note: your instructor may ask for a running head or your last name before the page number. You can look at the APA professional sample paper for guidelines on ...

  18. Paper format

    To format a paper in APA Style, writers can typically use the default settings and automatic formatting tools of their word-processing program or make only minor adjustments. The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create ...

  19. APA Outline Format Examples and Guide

    Writing an APA outline shouldn't be difficult. Learn how to format your ideal outline with these different examples, and make sure you have a strong backbone for your paper.

  20. APA Outline

    Making an APA outline is the first thing to do in creating a structure on what will be written in the paper and how it is written. There is a grammatical format that you have to follow while writing your paper to make it sound credible. Having a sloppy grammar makes your paper less impressive. Here are some tips: 1. Observe the use of parallelism.

  21. PDF A Template Showing How to Use APA Format for Research Papers and Other

    A TEMPLATE SHOWING HOW TO USE APA FORMAT 3 A Template for APA Formatted Research Papers The whole title of the paper is restated at the top of page three, followed immediately by the first line of the introduction with no extra blank lines in between. Notice that the introduction does not have a heading that says "introduction."

  22. PDF ELEMENTS & FORMAT Sample Papers

    APA_PM7_Ch2-BLueline.indd 58 8/1/19 7:01 PM. ELEMENTS & FORMAT . 58 • PAPER ELEMENTS AND FORMAT . Sample Professional Paper (continued) journal article reference without a DOI, 10.1 journal article reference, 10.1 reference list, 2.12, Chapter 9; section labels, 2.28 letters used after the year for multiple works with the same author and year ...

  23. APA Research Paper Format

    The reference format varies based on the type of source, such as a book, journal article, or website. In addition to these elements, there are some general formatting guidelines to follow in an APA research paper: Use 12-point Times New Roman font. Double-space your text. Use 1-inch margins on all sides.

  24. Reference List: Textual Sources

    APA style dictates that authors are named with their last name followed by their initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of the article is in sentence-case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized.