APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
Contributors: Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2018-02-21 02:26:13
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA.
To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of all APA citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.
You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel.
General APA Guidelines
Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
Include a page header (also known as the "running head") at the top of every page. To create a page header/running head, insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" in the header flush left using all capital letters. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.
Major Paper Sections
Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. Include the page header (described above) flush left with the page number flush right at the top of the page. Please note that on the title page, your page header/running head should look like this:
Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
Pages after the title page should have a running head that looks like this:
TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
After consulting with publication specialists at the APA, OWL staff learned that the APA 6th edition, first printing sample papers have incorrect examples of running heads on pages after the title page. This link will take you to the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in the APA's 6th edition style guide.
Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.
Beneath the title, type the author's name: first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD).
Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation, which should indicate the location where the author(s) conducted the research.
Image Caption: APA Title Page
Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center the word “Abstract” (no bold, formatting, italics, underlining, or quotation marks).
Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph, double-spaced. Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.
You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.
Image Caption: APA Abstract Page
Please see our Sample APA Paper resource to see an example of an APA paper. You may also visit our Additional Resources page for more examples of APA papers.
How to Cite the Purdue OWL in APA
Contributors' names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL.
Contributors' names (Last edited date). Title of resource. Retrieved from http://Web address for OWL resource
Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderlund, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
A correctly formatted title page is very quick and easy to do, so there is no excuse for getting it wrong. It’s the very first part of your paper that anyone will see, so a glaring mistake here will create a bad impression, long before anybody starts to assess the quality of your work.
It’s a cliché, but people really do judge a book (or research paper!) by its cover.
There is an APA approved standard for title pages but, again, it’s important to inquire about the specific requirements for your department and university. APA, or any other style for that matter, is only a guide, and most departments have developed their own requirements to suit their own needs.
Figure 1 shows an example of an APA title page. Please note that, for clarity, the font size is slightly larger than the recommended 12 pt. Times New Roman.
Creating an APA Title Page
1) The Title
This is the most important part, and should be center aligned, about halfway down the page. This is the full title of the research paper, dissertation or thesis.
2) Personal Details
At the bottom of the page, center aligned, should be your name, your institution and the date of submission.
This is the most variable part of the title page, and you may need to include the name of your supervisor and also the level of paper - dissertation, thesis, and term paper. Check your departmental recommendations.
3) The Running Head
This is a shortened version of the title, no more than 50 characters long, and is the header that you will use at the top of each page. This needs to be left justified.
4) The Page Number
This needs to be made using the header function available in word processing programs. The running header should be separated from the page number by 5 or 7 spaces, and will appear on every page throughout the document. It must be right aligned.
APA Title Page Examples
These simple instructions will give you a good title page that will reflect favorably upon all the hard work that you have put into your paper. There is no need to add anything, simply follow the APA guidelines.
For most assignments written in APA format, a correctly laid out APA title page is essential.
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APA Title Page. Img by Sean MacEntee