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APA (7th edition) Citation Guide: Paper Formatting

Setting Up and Formatting a Student APA Paper

 

If your paper will follow strict APA formatting, follow the steps below. Your paper should have three major sections: the title page, main body, and references list. The Publication Manual covers these guidelines in Chapter 2; the APA website also has a Quick Answers--Formatting page.

 

These guidelines will cover how to set up a student paper in APA format. The 7th edition now has specific formatting for student papers versus a professional paper (i.e. one being submitted for publication). If your instructor has requested a different format or additional elements, use your instructor's preferences.

Official Resources


 

 

1. Set the Margins to One Inch

 

Basics

The margins of the paper should be set to 1" (one inch) all around.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Go to the Page Layout or Layout tab
  2. Click Margins
  3. Select the Normal option

Margins > Normal


 

 

 

2. Set the Spacing to Double

 

Basics

The line spacing for the paper should be set to double (2.0).

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Go to the Home tab
  2. In the Paragraph box, click the icon that looks like two up/down arrows with text to the right
  3. Pick 2.0
  4. Alternate Method: You can also press the Control Key along with the number 2 to quickly double space.

Paragraph > Spacing > 2.0


 

 

 

3. Create a Title for Your Paper

 

Basics

Your title should summarize the main topic of your paper. Try not to be too wordy or off-topic. While there is no word limit for titles, "short but sweet" is the goal. The APA Style Blog has further information on titles: Five Steps to a Great Title. Use title case for paper titles.

Example Titles

  • Attitudes of College Students Towards Transportation Fees
  • Effect of Red Light Cameras on Traffic Fatalities
  • Juror Bias in Capital Punishment Cases

 

 

 

4. Add Page Numbers to the Header

 

Basics

Insert the page number in the right area of the header. Use the built-in page numbering system; do not attempt to type each page number manually.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Go to the Insert tab
  2. Under Header, select Edit Header (at the bottom)
    Header
    Edit Header
  3. Press Tab once or twice to go to the far right
  4. Click Page Number
  5. Click Current Position
  6. Click Simple / Plain Number
    Page Number > Current Position > Simple

 

5. Create the Title Page

 

Basics

On the first page you will include the following information:

  • Title of Your Paper
  • Your Name
  • Santa Fe College
  • Course Number: Course Name
  • Instructor
  • Due Date

This information will be centered, and will be a few lines down from the top.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Go to the top of the first page.
  2. Press Enter 3-4 times.
  3. Center your text.
  4. Type in the title of your paper, in bold.
  5. Press Enter twice, in order to have one blank line between the title and the next element.
  6. On the next line, type your full name.
  7. On the next line, type Santa Fe College.
  8. On the next line, type your course number, a colon, and your course name.
  9. On the next line, type your instructor's name.
  10. On the next line, type the due date of the paper.

Example

APA title page


 

 

 

6. Set Up the References List

 

The references list should be on a new page, and should be the last section of your paper.

 

Heading of Reference List

The heading at the top of the reference list should say References at the top (not Bibliography or Works Cited, unless your instructor tells you otherwise) and bolded.

Hanging Indent

All reference lists should have a hanging indent. An example of a hanging indent is shown below:

George, M. W. (2008). The elements of library research: What every student needs to know. Princeton University Press.

To create a hanging indent in Word, you can press the Control key along with the letter T.

control+ T

Spacing

Line spacing in the reference list should be set to double (2.0).

Alphabetizing

When organizing your references list, you must alphabetize your references. Generally, you will organize by the author's last name. Go letter by letter and ignore spaces, hyphens, punctuation etc.

If a work has no author, use the title to alphabetize. You will use the first significant word to alphabetize; this means you skip words like the, a, and an.

Example of Proper Order:

  1. Alcott, L. M. (1868)...
  2. Alcott, L. M. (1893)...
  3. Anonymous. (1998). Beowulf...
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.).
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017).
  6. Etiquette in Florida. (n.d.).
  7. Grammar Girl. (2009, May 21)...
  8. Johnson, C. L., & Tuite, C. (Eds.). (2009)...
  9. Johnson, S. K. (2003)...
  10. Oxford English dictionary (2nd ed.). (1989)...
  11. A prescription for health care. (2009). Consumer Reports...
  12. Southeast Asia. (2003). In The new encyclopaedia Britannica...

For more information on creating and formatting references, go to the Reference Components page.

Source: Publication Manual, 2.12; 9.44-9.49


 

 

 

But What About...?

 

The Font?

APA does not specify a specific font or size, just that it must be legible. Their only guidelines is that the same font should be used throughout the paper. Some suggestions are 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia.

If your instructor has specified a font or font size, follow those guidelines.

Source: Publication Manual, 2.19

 

The Running Head?

Student papers do not need a running head.

Source: Publication Manual, 2.8; 2.18


 

 

 

Figures and Images

 

If you are using an image that does not require attribution, you may provide a figure number and title prior to the image.

Figure 1

Computer Scientist Jean F. Hall with Argonne Version of the Institute's Digital Automatic Computer (AVIDAC)

 

If your image requires attribution, such as those governed by Creative Commons licenses, include the attribution below the image. You will also need to cite the image in your references list.

Figure 2

Sciurus Carolinensis (Eastern Gray Squirrel)

(https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/4556e4bd-fba4-4b54-b967-3bc912695df4). CC BY 3.0.

Animal Diversity Web. (n.d.). Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel) [Photograph]. Creative Commons. https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/4556e4bd-fba4-4b54-b967-3bc912695df4

Source: Clip Art or Stock Image References [APA Style]


 

 

 

Annotated Bibliographies

 

APA now has guidelines for an annotated bibliography. Annotations will be a new paragraph directly below the reference, indented 0.5" from the left. Retain the double-spacing.

 

Delmas, P. M. (2017). Using VoiceThread to create community in online learning. TechTrends, 61, 595–602. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0195-z

This study investigated how VoiceThread could impact online student persistence. It used the Community of Inquiry framework as a guidepost for applying the technology, most specifically by leveraging social presence. The study sought to answer the question "does VoiceThread help create community for online learners?" Researchers surveyed 39 participants in master's and doctoral programs that were either fully online or blended. Based on the data, the researchers concluded that VoiceThread, as perceived by students who have used it, can promote social presence in online learning communities by making students feel more connected to other students and the instructor. Three positive themes for VoiceThread related to student to student interaction included hearing a voice, hearing voice inflection versus text, and learning about peers' professional/educational experience. While positive trends were highlighted succinctly, there was little discussion of negative trends, which challenged validity, and a small sample size (N=39) makes it difficult to generalize.