How to Format an APA Paper? A Short Style Guide
Students and proper formatting sometimes seem to be two parallel lines that’ll never overlap. It’s not surprising, considering the amount of effort they need to put into writing an essay. This process always requires serious preparation, a search for information, structuring the data they found, creating an outline of the future paper, the writing process itself, and editing. No strength is left to formatting, and that’s a harsh reality.
We suggest that another obstacle for students is the lack of understanding of what formatting is and its significance for academic writing. The rules of how your paper should be formatted and structured were created not to load you with useless work.
A unified standard of formatting makes your paper easier to read – it’s the first thing you should remember. It applies to all papers, even those that won’t be published in any scientific journals. Adherence to formatting style rules teaches students many things we’ll discuss below. But before we do it, let’s try to define what formatting style is.
What Is APA Formatting Style?
APA is one of the many formatting or referencing styles used in academic settings. Well, what is referencing style? It’s possible to give the following definition. Formatting style is a set of rules and recommendations that can give your paper a recognizable appearance. Many ‘schools of style’ are accepted in academic settings, but APA and MLA are the most commonly used.
Today we’ll focus on the essentials of APA referencing style. APA stands for American Psychological Association, which developed and introduced this style in 1923. Of course, some rules have changed since then and continue to change now. There are many editions of APA, and you should be careful when formatting your paper. Teachers always specify what edition you need to rely on.
This style is supposed to be used in behavioral and social sciences, and more specifically in the following fields:
- criminal justice;
- health sciences, etc.
There are three aspects this style touches. The first one is the organization or structure of your paper. The second one concerns the writing style and language you use. The third one is the formatting: tables, citations, footnotes, cases, fonts, etc.
Our mission is to make this referencing style clear to each person. Therefore, here, you’ll find all the necessary information on formatting, citing, and referencing in APA. If you’re afraid that this activity will still be challenging for you, you can always hire an APA paper writer on the best custom writing service. We’ll try to help you, but you’re free to get assistance if necessary.
APA Formatting Essentials For You To Remember
The latest APA edition is the 7th, and it was introduced in 2020, so we’ll base our guide on it. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover each detail and aspect of paper formatting here, but we’ll try to be as comprehensive as possible.
Well, let’s start with the organization of your paper. Each APA paper should follow the standard structure and have the following sections:
- Title page;
The next important aspect we should mention is writing style. Academic writing and APA formatting presuppose that a writer uses clear and formal language. Avoid slang, humor, biased language, and too specialized vocabulary. You should sound professional but be understandable to a broader audience.
Finally, you need to follow some mechanics of APA formatting. Here are the rules you should remember:
- Apply double spacing and 1-inch margins on your paper;
- Use one of the available fonts: Times New Roman 12, Calibri 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 11, Georgia 11, or Arial 11.
- Indent all paragraphs of your paper.
- Running head is still in the upper left corner but no longer contains the words’ running head’.
- Place page numbers in the top right corner.
- All headings are written in a title case;
- Use one space after the period at the end of each sentence.
These were the basic rules of the APA referencing style each student should know. We didn’t touch upon the citing since this section is too extensive to be discussed here.
Is Formatting As Important As Every Teacher Says?
Yes, it is. Otherwise, formatting requirements wouldn’t be included in the instructions they share, isn’t it? You may think that it’s not necessary to follow these rules, but if you want your teacher to lower your grade, you can do it.
Remember one important thing: formatting styles SIMPLIFY your life; they don’t make it more complicated, no matter how it can seem to you. For example, we already mentioned that adherence to one referencing style makes it easier to read. But clear communication of your ideas is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are the aspects making formatting an important part of academic writing:
- You show your understanding of the instructions. The ability to follow the requirements is a must in academic settings. If you submit an essay or a research paper where everything is done according to the requirements, you show that you’re interested in studying and very attentive to what you do. You respect your teacher, isn’t it? If yes, format your paper properly.
- You can focus on the content. When you apply certain formatting to your paper and do it regularly, you need to spend less time understanding what margins to set and how to cite this or that source. Once you get used to it, you can spend all the time researching the information and thinking about how to present it in your paper. You may think that it has nothing in common with formatting style’s importance, but you’re deeply mistaken.
- You improve your discipline and other habits. Everything in our life has specific standards, so the ability to follow them is crucial for surviving. When you keep to formatting rules, you develop discipline. You’ll notice how it influences your attitude toward other spheres of your life.
We hope this information was useful and you remembered all the basic details we mentioned. If something is still unclear, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll help you to format your paper properly.