Cathy A.
Cathy A.

APA Format - A Complete Format Guide & Examples

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Published on: Jan 6, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 19, 2023

APA Format Guide

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APA, the most commonly used citation style. It makes your research paper or project easy to understand for the readers. When you cite sources in your work in a uniform format, it makes your paper readable and focuses on your paper’s content.

Researchers and students use the APA style to easily deliver information about their ideas or experiments in a consistent format.

Therefore, if you are a student and don’t know about the APA format, no need to take writing stress. In this blog, you get a complete writing guide in APA format.

What is APA Format?

APA stands for American Psychological Association, which is frequently used to cite various sources. Moreover, the APA format for citation allows the reader to understand the type of sources used in a research paper or project. Also, this style provides clarity to research papers on difficult topics.

An APA format allows you to:

  • Establish credibility or ethos in the field by showing awareness for your reader.
  • Allow readers to focus more on your topic without distracting them with uncommon formatting.
  • Assist the author in organizing their information better and also makes the paper easier to understand.
  • Help the reader with cues to locate information that is important for evaluating that research.

APA is designed to standardize scientific writing. Students and researchers commonly use this style of citation in:

  • Social sciences such as criminology, political science, sociology, economics, and geography.
  • Nursing
  • Business

However, consult your professor first before using the APA format in your research paper or project if you are a student. Also, confirm which APA edition follows either the 6th edition or the 7th edition.

Basic Elements of APA Format

An APA includes some major components that are essential for research paper formatting. These are:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction/Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusion
  • References
  • Table/Graph

However, keep in mind that not all elements will be included in your academic papers.

APA Format Title Page

The APA title page or cover page is the first part of a paper. The APA title page informs the reader what your paper is all about and who writes it. Therefore, if you make any mistake on your title page, it shows a bad impression to the reader.

However, some teachers do not need a title page, but some do. Thus, it is important to understand your teacher’s guidelines and then start writing your paper.

Moreover, an APA format has different guidelines for students (high school or college) and professional papers (scholarly publication).

An APA format title page for students contains the following elements:

Title of the Paper

Write an informative and attention-grabbing title that summarizes the topic of your paper. The title should be clear and concise, so the reader easily understands. Try to use strong and relevant keywords in your title.

For the title of the paper, you should follow the given tips:

  • Place the title three or four lines down from the top of the paper.
  • Write the title in the center with a bold font.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word of the title, except short prepositions.

Author’s Name

Include the author's name under the paper title and includes one double-spaced blank line between them. If you write two authors, use the word “and,” if three authors use “comma” between them.

Institution Affiliation

An institution affiliation is the school/college where the student studies. The school students specify the department and institution’s name, and the professional researchers write the department name and institution where they conduct their research.

Course Information

You must provide information about the course, such as course number and name, on a student title page. Also, write it in the center of the page after the institutional affiliation.

Instructor Name

The instructor’s name is the name of the teacher. It should be written in the center and after the course number and name. Also, use a double-spaced line between them, not a single space.

Assignment Due Date

The due date on which you will submit your assignment. Write it in the center and use the proper date format that is normally used in your country.

Author Note

An author’s note is placed in the professional papers. This note contains the following information about the author:

  • ORCID ids
  • Contact information
  • Brief acknowledgments
  • Affiliation changes

However, present the information in separate paragraphs. The paragraphs in the author’s note are left-aligned. Also, add the author’s note in the bottom half of the page with bold font.

Running Head

The running head is the condensed version of the paper title, and it must be included in the professional papers. It must be written in capital letters, and its maximum length is 50 characters.

Therefore, keep these points in mind and write them according to your academic level. Have a look at the following document to understand better.

APA Style Title Page for Student Paper

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APA Format Citation

APA citation assists the reader to cross-reference your sources easily. It follows specific conventions that distinguish them from other citation formats. Use the author-date in-text citation in APA format.

APA Format In-Text Citation

In-text citations are added within the context that directs the reader to reference entries at the end of the paper. However, you can add them when you recite another writer’s words or ideas.

An in-text citation contains:

  • Author’s last name
  • Year of Publication

When you cite a particular part of a source, include the timestamp or page number.

For example: (Alex, 2020, p. 170)

Furthermore, an APA in-text citation has two different types, i.e., parenthetical and narrative. Each type has a different writing style of citation.

According to the new research, you write like this (Smith, 2021) in a parenthetical citation. Thus, in the narrative, you can write citations in this format Smith (2021).

APA Format Quotes

When you add a quote to your paper, make sure that you write it word-by-word. Also, add relevant quotes from credible sources.

Here is a quote format that includes the author’s name, year of publication, and page number.

  • Single Author: Brown (2002) found that "Cloud computing is a distributed computing model that solves large problems. " (p. 789).
  • Two Authors: Smith and Brown (2006), noted, "Software reuse updates the system using software assets. " (p. 89).
  • Three or More Authors: Schwartz, Lyoob, and Adela (2000) stated, "Disruptive technology business models in cloud computing. " (p. 70).

The quotation format without page numbers is:

Author (Year) “Quote” (para.paragraph#)

Therefore, follow the proper APA format when including the quote in your paper.

APA Format Website

Some researchers include websites in their research work. However, citing the website is different from citing other sources. It includes the publication date, author, title of the page, website name, and URL.

Example: Laura, C. (2002, March 21). Uses of component-based software reuse. Semantic Scholar.

APA Date Format

When including the date in your paper, use the correct format. Here is the format of the date:

Example: (2016, March 7)

APA Format Citation Generator

An APA citation generator is a rapid and automatic way of generating references and in-text citations. It helps you generate sources in a particular citation style.

However, some students use a citation generator when they have no time to write the citation manually. When you use a citation generator, you should know these generators make some mistakes. Even not include all the details in the reference list.

Therefore, you can use the citation generators but check all the references again before writing on the paper.

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APA Format References

APA reference lists sources that you use in your writing. It includes the title, author, publication date, and source information. You can also add more information, but it depends on the type of source.

Therefore, its main purpose is to give credit to the authors whose work you are using in your assignment. All references that you use in your work must appear in the reference list.

Below a table gives you an idea of the formatting of references.

TitleWrite the title ‘References’ in the center and with capital words
IndentIndent each additional line. Also, use double space between references.
URLsRemove underlines from URLs
Organize ListPut all entries in alphabetical order.
AmpersandWhen you write 2-6 authors, use “&” before the last author.
Page RangeUse a dash, not a hyphen for page ranges (20-38)
Place of PublicationUSA publishers write cities and abbreviations for the state like Dubai, DXB. Other publishers outside the USA write the city and country in full forms, like Auckland, New Zealand.
Upper Case LettersFor headings, capitalize each word except prepositions. Use italics for titles of books, journals, articles, and newspapers.
DOIAt the end of the APA reference entry, add a digital object identifier. For Example

Have a look at the following example.

Galley. K. E. (Ed.). (2004). Global climate change and wildlife in North America. Bethesda,

MD: Wildlife Society

APA Format Reference Page

APA Format Tables and Figures

With the help of tables and figures, you will improve the readability of your research paper. The tables and figures show a large amount of information efficiently to the readers.

The following are the expert tips that will help you create the tables and figures for your work.

  • Try to keep tables simple, so the readers easily read the text.
  • Do not use vertical and horizontal lines between tables.
  • Only add numerical values in the tables.
  • The figures used in the paper should be clear.
  • In the graphs, do not add too much text.
  • If you use a picture of another writer’s work, take permission from them and use it in your work.
  • Number all the tables and figures.

Follow these tips to add tables and figures to your paper carefully.

APA Footnotes and Endnotes

APA format does not recommend using footnotes and endnotes because they are expensive to reproduce.

However, if you add in your paper, it helps the reader to understand complex terms and definitions. Footnotes are represented by numbers and placed at the bottom of each page.

APA Appendix Format

An appendix is a part where you include detailed information that does not fit in the main text. It presents information that increases the understanding of the research but not essential for the argument of the paper. It includes:

  • Questionnaires
  • Full transcripts of interviews
  • A detailed list of equipment used
  • Detailed statistical data

Also, refer to the appendix to the main text. If you don't refer it to the main text, it should not be included.

Here are some tips for organizing the appendix in a research paper.

  • The text is left-aligned and double-spaced.
  • Write the page number at the top-right corner of the page.
  • Use “Appendix”, if you include only one appendix. When you include more than one appendix, they are labeled “Appendix A”, “Appendix B”, and so on.
  • Use appendix letters to represent the numbers, e.g., Appendix A.

Therefore, follow these tips and carefully write the appendix of your paper.

A Quick Checklist

When you complete your work and start the revision step, ask yourself these questions.

  • Is the spacing consistent throughout the table?
  • Should each table or figure be numbered?
  • Are the in-text citations covered in the references?
  • Are all the headings in capital and bold form?
  • Are the quotation marks used in an accurate place?
  • Is the source type reliable?

Despite these, you keep several other questions in mind and create the perfect research paper.

APA Format Example

Below given is an example that gives you an idea of the APA format paper.

Therefore, now you have complete information about the APA format. But, if you still need professional writing help, consult

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Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Marketing, Education)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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