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How to Write a Better APA Style Paper by Brian Konradt

APA style has become a universally-accepted way of writing your college research paper. Patterned after the guidelines of the American Psychological Association, an APA style paper follows a very specific format. It applies to all kinds of papers such as essays and reports.

If you'd like to submit a good report and make the grade, then you should learn how to write a better APA style paper. The following steps will show you how:

Step 1: Divide your paper by sections.

As is the way of life, there are students who naturally love writing essays, while there are those who balk at the idea of submitting reports. Either way, if you think of a paper as one complete whole, then the task can appear to be a bit intimidating!

Let's dispel your discomfort over papers by dividing them into sections. Taking each section a step at a time, the whole task would be easier. The entire project would also become achievable.

So to achieve a better APA style paper, get to know all its different sections, namely:
  • The Title Page
  • The Abstract
  • The Main Body
  • The References
Step 2: How to format your Title Page.

The Title Page contains the most basic information such as the paper's main title and the author's name. This is followed by the name of the institution.

As to placement, the title of your paper usually appears centered on the upper half of your page. The standard size for each page would be 8.5” x 11” with a margin of 1” on all four sides. The same title consistently occurs on every header, and it is typed flush left.

Specifically, the title itself should be written and upper- and lower-case characters. It should not exceed a total of 12 words long. The recommended font would be Times Roman and the text would be double-spaced.

Step 3: How to write the Abstract.

Since this is a formal paper, most institutions recommend that the Abstract be written in plain text consisting of 150 to 250 words.

Written on the second page, the Abstract contains key material such as a research topic and a set of research questions prepared by its participants. This is followed by the methods used in research, the results gathered, and an analysis of the data. The paper ends with a well-written conclusion.

In addition, you may also be required to discuss the implications posed by your research on future work.

Step 4: What goes into the Main Body.

The key to writing this portion APA style is to use both the third-person and an active voice. You should also take note of additional instructions given by your professor.

Mostly, you have to write the body in plain, straightforward language. If ever you need to quote, make it a point to write the author's last name, year of publication, and page numbers.

Step 5: How to cite your References.

Only in the Reference section can you indent your entries. They consist of all your research references arranged alphabetically.

Section by section, we've examined how an APA style paper ought to be written. To avoid any criticism, you should always cite your sources and reference your sentences. Even when you paraphrase another person's ideas, you still have to cite your source. If you're not careful, there could be an issue with plagiarism and your paper would be for naught.