APA Style Essentials
Douglas Degelman, Ph.D., and Martin Lorenzo Harris, Ph.D.
Vanguard University of Southern California
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed., 2001) provides a comprehensive reference guide to writing using APA style, organization, and content. Students should plan on using the Publication Manual to answer detailed questions not answered by this APA Style Essentials document. The purpose of this document is to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of a department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style. Instructors will specify in writing when any of the following elements do not apply to a specific assignment that specifies APA style (e.g., when an abstract is not required). Instructors will also specify in writing when additional APA style elements must be observed.
Because of the nature of Web documents (displayed on different sized monitors at different resolutions on different computer platforms using different Web browsers), this Web document is itself not a model of APA style. For an example of a complete article formatted according to APA style, go to http://www.vanguard.edu/psychology/prayer.pdf. To view this and other PDF documents referenced on this page, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download the free Acrobat Reader, go to http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
General Document Guidelines
Margins: One inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, right) Font Size and Type: 12-pt. font (Times Roman or Courier are acceptable typefaces) Spacing: Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, and references. Alignment: Flush left (creating uneven right margin) Paragraph Indentation: 5-7 spaces
Pagination: The page number appears one inch from the right edge of the paper on the first line of every page, beginning with the title page. The only pages that are not numbered are pages of artwork. Manuscript Page Header: The first two or three words of the paper title appear five spaces to the left of the page number on every page, beginning with the title page. Manuscript page headers are used to identify manuscript pages during the editorial process. [Note: Using most word processors, the manuscript page header and page number can be inserted into a header, which then automatically appears on all pages.] Title Page
Pagination: The Title Page is page 1.
Key Elements: Paper title, author(s), and author(s) affiliation(s). Article Title: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the page. Author(s): Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the title. Institutional affiliation: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the author(s). Running head: The running head is typed flush left (all uppercase) following the words "Running head:" on the line below the manuscript page header. It should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation and spacing. The running head is a short title that appears at the top of pages of published articles. Example of APA-formatted Title Page: Go to http://www.vanguard.edu/psychology/titlepage.pdf
Abstract: The abstract is a one-paragraph, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the paper. Pagination: The abstract begins on a new page (page 2). Heading: Abstract (centered on the first line below the manuscript page header) Format: The abstract (in block format) begins on the line following the Abstract heading. The abstract should not exceed 120 words. All numbers in the abstract (except those beginning a sentence) should be typed as digits rather than words. Example of APA-formatted Abstract: Go to...
References: Tables and Figures: The Publication Manual (2001, pp. 301-302) provides detailed instructions on the formatting of tables and figures. For an example of an APA-formatted table, go to http://www.vanguard.edu/psychology/table.pdf
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