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How to Write an Essay in APA Style: Understanding the Basics


Students know that plagiarism is the ultimate crime when it comes to writing essays and research papers. The way to be sure that this crime is not committed is by making sure that they use a citation style. One of those styles is the American Psychological Association, which is also known as APA. This citation format can be tricky, so here are a list of the basics so that the student won’t commit the ultimate crime of plagiarism. 

Basics of APA Style


  • First thing that the student needs to know with APA is that all papers should be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, using 1 inch margins on all sides. The paper should be printed in 12 point Times New Roman font with a line spacing of double spaces.

  • Student under APA format need to break their paper into four sections.  The sections should be as followed: title page, abstract, main body and reference.

  • The student should include a title page. On this title page that student should be the title of the paper, the authors name (this would be the student) and the institutional affiliation.

  • The title page needs to have a header, the header should be aligned left and should hold the title of the paper. The header also need to have a running page count.  Most word programs will do this for you.  Just click in the header menu bar.

  • The next part of the paper, according to APA, should be the abstract. This should include the page header, you created on the title page and then have a summary of the paper itself. The abstract is normally printed for a person to know if the paper will hold the information they need. Abstract should be in the center of the first line of the page. The summary will begin on the next line with no indentation.

  • Within the paper, the citation should be in-text. These should follow a pattern. An example of the format is copied from the Purdue, online writing lab. The student should look up an example of this.

  • The student need to find a complete list of how to do each individual citation for each type of source. They will vary from source.

  • The reference page should look much like the abstract page in format.  With the sources listed in alphabetical order.

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