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APA Citation Guide

Setting Up and Formatting an APA Paper

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.

 

Setting 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:

Terrier, P., Praz, C., Le Carré, J., Vuistiner, P., Léger, B., & Luthi, F. (2019). Influencing walking behavior can increase the physical activity of patients with chronic pain hospitalized for multidisciplinary rehabilitation: an observational study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 20(1), 188. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2561-9

 

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

 

controlT

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