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APA Style Guide: Paper Format

This guide is an all in one source to many resources that can answer any questions you have about APA format.

APA Paper Format Tutorial

 This useful and informative workshop video presented by Colin Murphy, Ed.D. shows how to quickly set up the APA format for your paper using Microsoft Word. 

Research Paper Format

Before anything else, always check with your professor regarding his or her requirements for formatting your research paper before submitting your final draft. What is being provided here, is a common format that tends to be used for APA formatted research papers. 

General guidelines:

  • Use white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  • Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
  • The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch.
  • APA recommends using Times New Roman font, size 12.
  • Double space the entire research paper
  • Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
    • ‚ÄčTo create the running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of page numbers)
    • Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
    • If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper

Sample Running Head and Top and Left Margins

Sample of how the margins should be set up for an APA formatted paper. 

Components of your paper

When you are beginning to write your paper, it is important to know what sections or components must be included in your paper. 
Your essay should include these four major sections:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Main Body
  4. References

Title Page Formatting

Your title page is composed of various elements:

Title of the paper
Running Head
Author's Name
Institutional Affiliation
Author's note

Note: The words "Running Head" are only going to be on the title page of your paper. They do not appear on the next pages of your paper.  

It should look something like the image below:

Title Creation Tips
Be sure to have a title that captures the main idea of your essay. It should not have abbreviations or words that do not have anything to do with your essay. 

Always remember:

  • The title should be centered on the page
  • Use 12 pt Times New Roman font
  • Do NOT use underlining, bold or italics in your title. 
  • The title can take up one or two lines but it cannot be more than twelve (12) words in length.
  • All text on the title page is to be double spaced just like your essay.
  • Do NOT include titles such as Dr., Mr. or Ms. 
  • Your institutional affiliation is the place where you conducted your research. In this case it would more than likely be Ivy Tech Community College. 

Please refer to the sample title page image below to get a visual idea of the way your title page should look.