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APA Style Guide, 7th ed.

This guide provides tips and examples for APA style formatting of papers and citations.

Student Versus Professional Papers

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides alternative instructions for formatting student research papers from those used for formatting professional manuscripts. Guidelines and examples are listed in this guide, which include elements optional in student papers such as Running Head. Please refer to assignment instructions provided by your professor for their guidelines on formatting your assignment.

Formatting a Research Paper

The Publication Manual includes instructions for formatting your paper. Paper format guidelines can also be found on the APA Style Website, including instructions on fonts, spacing, and organization as well as formatting a title page, headers, and a references page.

  • Font: Use a serif typeface, such as Times New Roman for the body of your paper. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Use a sans serif typeface, like Arial, for labeling any charts, graphs, pictures, or figures that might be included in your paper.
  • Margins: You should have a one inch margin around your paper and indent five spaces at the beginning of each new paragraph.
  • Line Spacing: Your entire paper should be double spaced, including after headings, in block quotations, and in the references list.
  • Headings: Your paper will most likely have main headings only (title, Introduction, etc.). These are bolded and centered. For information on organizing other levels of headings (APA has 5 levels total), consult sections 3.02 and 3.03 in the manual.
  • Running Head: This includes the title of your paper and page numbers and it should appear in the header (top) of every page. NOTE: In the 7th edition, the running head is optional for student papers. Confirm with your instructor whether this element is required.

Sample Student Papers

Sample paper from APA [PDF]

Sample paper from Purdue OWL [PDF]