Basic APA Format. Features of the Main Body

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1 Basic APA Format Depending on which field or academic discipline you choose, you will use a different format for your papers. The American Psychological Association (APA) format is generally used for behavioral and social sciences, which include psychology, education, anthropology, and sociology, among others. Keep in mind that specific formatting is used for a number of reasons. First, it sets a standard for the look and style of your paper, making it easier for a professor to grade. It also allows for a method of citation and the documenting of your sources. The following handout will provide a basic explanation of APA format as well as a sample document in APA format. Along the way, there will be references to the most recent Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Basic Features of the APA Style Use Times New Roman or a similar font, point size. Double space with standard size (8.5 x 11 ). All margins should be set to 1 inch. Every page should have a header included at the top left side, along with page numbers inserted at the top right side. You will have four major sections to the paper: a title page, abstract, main body, and references page. Features of the Title Page At the top of your title page, your paper will include a Running Head. For example, Running Head: EFFECTS OF ENGLISH HOMEWORK ON THE BRAIN o Don t forget to insert the page number! In the top center of your paper, include your title (no bold, italics, or underline) with your name and school affiliation. Features of the Abstract Following your title page, each page (including the abstract) will include the heading EFFECTS OF ENGLISH HOMEWORK ON THE BRAIN o Don t forget to insert the page number! At the top of the page and centered, type Abstract (no bold, italics, or underline) Under Abstract and without an indentation, write a brief and clear summary on the key points of your research or paper. This should contain your topic, research questions, methods, results, participants, data analysis, and conclusion based on your findings. You can also tie it to other research or make predictions. Optionally, you can include keywords. If you choose to do so, skip to the next line, indent, and type Keywords: followed by a list of words that best describe your work. Limit the abstract to 150 to 250 words. Features of the Main Body 1

2 The main body will contain the same formatting as above in regards to font, header, and spacing. There are specific rules for in-text citations, discussed below. While there are specific rules for subsections, most lower division courses won t require them. For more information, refer to section in your APA Publication Manual. In the Main Body of your paper, you will have an introduction followed by your main ideas and analysis. Although there may be no most important section in your paper, you should focus on the Main Body greatly, because it is here that the majority of content will be found. As a part of this, you want to be sure to write clearly and concisely. Some characteristics you ll want to pay attention to are organization, writing style, bias, grammar and usage, and mechanics. Check out the reference guide to get a better idea of what each of these mean. Alternatively, feel free to come into the Writing Center for a tutoring session based on these topics. The next major feature of the Main Body will be your citations and sources. The single best source for a complete guide on in-text citations is the APA Publication Manual. This style guide provides users with detailed examples and explanations and it usually comes pretty cheap if you can find a used or lite copy. There are two main ways instructors expect students to document their sources: in-text, or parenthetical, citations throughout the essay and with a References page at the end of the paper. Parenthetical Citations When using parenthetical citations, try to keep them brief and to the point. Whether you use a direct quotation or choose to paraphrase, be sure to avoid having your sources make your point for you. Remember, an abundance of information does not guarantee a good paper. In other words, use sources only when they support your analysis and contribute something other than adding space. Look at the sample APA paper to get a sense of how these citations work. The main thing to remember is that after your citation, you will include the author s information in parentheses. Here are some styles of in-text citations: Direct Quote This is when you use the exact words that the author used. Although some may disagree, the fact remains that age is associated with an increased motivation to derive emotional meaning from life and a simultaneous decreasing motivation to expands one s knowledge base (Carstensen, 1992). Paraphrasing This is when you rephrase the quote in your own words. According to Carstensen (1992), people become more inclined to find emotional meaning in the later years of their life, but less inclined to expand their knowledge. Ellipses, Brackets, and Broken Up Quotes Ellipses show omitted (or left out) words in a quotation: Age is associated with decreasing motivation to expand one s knowledge base (Carstensen, 1992). Brackets show added words by you in order to interject information, correct a verb tense, or add any necessary wording. The brackets tell readers that the words are yours, not the source s: Gender is not the sole determinant of woman s [nor man s] identity (Hooks, p. 77, 1994). 2

3 Lastly, broken up quotes refers to the action of separating one quote into two parts in one sentence. Usually, this is done to add analysis between the quote sections: Alfred North Whitehead (1927) exemplified this point, noting the ideal of a University is not so much knowledge as power, while also raising the essential issue that the true goal of the university is to convert the knowledge of a boy into the power of a man (p. 27). Features of the References Page Continue to use the same formatting for the references page in regards to font, header, and spacing. All sources should be sorted alphabetically. All sources should have a hanging indentation: o Under Format in Microsoft Word, click Paragraph. Click the drop down list under the heading Indentation and choose Hanging. Alternatively, right click the selection, choose Paragraph and follow the same steps. The References page is one of the most important pages in the essay. Here, you provide information based on the sources we used during the paper. For example, if you have used an online resource for research help, then you must cite it in order to avoid plagiarism. Basically, plagiarism is the use of another authors work without providing credit. The punishments vary, but it can ultimately lead to suspension or even expulsion (see the Writing Center s Plagiarism handout for more information). Another good reason you should cite your sources is because it adds a certain level of credibility to your work. Finalizing Your APA Paper By following these steps and guidelines, you will be adding a level of professionalism and legitimacy to your papers. Keep in mind that while format doesn t dictate the style of your writing or the structure of paragraphing, many professors will look out for proper format as a sign of academic competency. Throughout both your academic and professional career, being able to hand in a clean, crisp, and standardized document will be an expected norm. SEE THE NEXT PAGES FOR A SAMPLE APA PAPER AND REFERENCES PAGE This handout was based on the following resources: APA: Reference List, Basic Rules. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved January 5, 2011 from Examples of APA Style. Springfield Township Virtual Library. Retrieved December 12, 2011 from Please visit our website at for additional resources and services. Rev. 1/24/11 3

4 Figure 1. General features of APA style for final manuscripts. The figure follows the rules described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2009) as well as the suggestions found in chapter 6 of the previous fifth edition of the Publication Manual (2001), Material Other Than Journal Articles. NOTE: The numbers indicate the section in APA Lite where more information can be found. Find APA Lite at 4

5 One Author Publication Date Sample References Page Arnheim, R (1971). Art and the visual perception. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. Book Title Place of Publication Publisher Multiple Authors Specific Edition Roeder, K., Howdes, J., Fulton, L., Lockhead, M., Craig, K., Peterson, R, et al.(1967) Nerve Cell and Insect Book Title Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Place of Publication Publisher Note: 2-6 authors list all authors, seven or more cite 1st six followed by the term "et al." Brockett, O. (1987). History of the Theatre (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn Bacon. Edition Place of Publication Publisher Citing Items/Chapters Reference: Dictionary/ Encyclopedia Journals: Dictionary/ Encyclopedia Magazine: Newspaper: Online Database: Rubenstein, J.P. (1967). The effect of television violence on small children. In B.F. Kane (Ed.), Television and Chapter/Item Title Identify Book/Anthology juvenile psychological development (pp ). New York: American Psychological Society. Page Number Place of Publication Publisher Title of Entry Ewbank, I. (2001) Dickens, Charles. In Encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 9, pp ). Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier. Title of Reference Book Volume, Page # Place of Publication Publisher Passons, W. (1967). Predictive validities of the ACT, SAT, and high school grades for first semester GPA and Article Title freshman courses. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 27 (3), Journal Title Volume # Issue # Page #s Note that there is a comma between the issue number and the page numbers, but no comma between the italicized volume number and the issue number. If the periodical does not use volume numbers, include "pp." before the page numbers so the reader will understand that the numbers refer to pagination. Use "p." if the source is a page or less long. Pub. Date and Month Issue # Harder, B. (2005, October 1). Falling Influence: Influenza fighters have limited effects. Science News, 168, 211. Article Title Magazine Title Page #s Pub. Date and Month Stanley, A. (2005, October 25). Bringing Out the Absurdity of the News. The New York Times, pp.b1, B8. Article Title Newspaper Title Page #s Note: If no author is given, use the first significant word in the title. Schneiderman, R. A. (1997). Librarians can make sense of the Net. San Antonio Business Journal, 11, 58+. Retrieved Article Title Database Title Volume # Page #s January 27, 1999, from EBSCO Masterfile database. Retrieved Date Database Used Note: The second date which follows is the date the user retrieved the material. No period follows an Internet Web address. Webpage: GWU's 9th English Language Page. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2005, from No author or Title of Webpage Specify No Date Retrieved Date date Full URL Brown, M. (2005, Dec.2). Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Biographical Sketch. Retrieved January 24, 2006, from Webpage: With author Article Title Retrieved Date Full URL Film/Broadcast: Crystal, L. (Executive Producer). (2004, June 10). The MacNeil/Lehrer news hour [Television broadcast]. New York Release Date Movie/Broadcast Title and Washington D.C.: Public Broadcasting Service. Place of Publication Broadcast Service 5

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