APA Format: What Is It Really?

APA format sounds so strange, but it is really quite simple to talk about. It is just one of a number of writing styles (others are MLA and Chicago Style) that are used to write a paper in an educational setting or even for your job or profession. APA format is the name given to a scientific style of writing that is typically used for technical papers and papers in the social sciences, like psychology or sociology just to name a few.

There are a number of very specific sections to an APA Format paper, here are the main ones: title page, an abstract page, the method section or body of the paper, and the resources page. In addition there may be other pages such as an appendices where the tables and graphs are located as well.

What’s more, APA Format has very specific rules or guidelines for the look of a paper as well. Items like margins of a paper, which font to use, the preferred font size, and more. For the body of the paper, the recommended font is 12 point Times New Roman, and 12 point Arial is the suggestion for any image captions. Generally APA Format papers should be double spaced, be left aligned and have page numbers on the top, right side of each page. Each paragraph of the body of the paper should be indented 5 spaces and what’s more, the use of headers is encouraged to help guide the reader through your work.

The most important and complex of the APA Format rules are those for citing sources both in the text of the paper and at the end of the paper on the reference page. Let’s talk about the in-text citations first, as this is what separates APA Format from the rest of the bunch. It can be hard at first to wrap your head around the in-text citations but really you are just leaving a little note in the paper, that says I am using this great article from my research here. This is the author’s name and this is the year it was published. There is a special format that you must follow depending on the kind information you are using (book or magazine for example).

On the references page in the back of the paper, is the full listing of all the sources that you used. The reference page has so much information on each of your sources that your readers can find the information and read the full article themselves after they have finished your paper, of course! There is also a certain order that each references must be in and the whole list must be in alphabetical order too.

So really, the brief in-text citations are referring your readers back to the reference page to see the full citation, on that page. So now if one of your readers wants to read more from that article you used for your paper for example, they only have to go to the reference section to find the full title, author etc.. to help them read the book or article that you are using for your assignment.

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