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/
APA Title Page Templates
Instant download, professional APA format samplesWhen you are writing a paper in the American Psychological Association (APA) style, you should be following some general instructions for the formatting. For reference on the proper structure, the full guidelines are in the APA Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The APA title page can be created with the free title page templates offered here, and with the recommendations below.
APA Cover Page Format
- Line spacing– Double Spaced
- Font– This should be an easy-to-read serif font for your text. APA recommendation is Times New Roman if your institution doesn’t specify a different font.
- Font Size– 12 point
- Margins– One-inch all around
Running HeadThink of this as your abbreviated title. According to the American Psychological Association blog, this is a short title that should be at the top of every page. This page header’s purpose is twofold:
- Identification– identifying the page for the reader in case of page separation
- Anonymity– keeping the author nameless during the review process if submitting the paper for publication
- Typed in all capital letters
- Placed in the header, flush left
- Prefix it with the words “Running head:” (remember the colon) on the cover page only
- No more than 50 characters long, including spaces
Page NumberEach of the pages of your APA style paper will have a page number following the below rules
- Placement: top right corner in header of the page with the running head
- Numbering: begin with 1 on the title page
- Justification: right justified
APA Cover Page SectionsAccording to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, your APA essay title page should contain three major sections. All information in these lines should be:
- Double spaced
- Use both upper and lower case text
- Use the same easy-to-read serif font either specified by the institution or the APA recommended Times New Roman in 12 point.
APA Paper TitleThe title should follow the below instructions:
- Not be more than 12 words long
- May take up to two lines on your paper if need be.
- Avoid the use of abbreviations
- Unlike references and titles of work you are citing within the body of your essay, the title of your paper must not be boldface or in italics.
Name of the AuthorThis will be the only place that you put your name so your paper can be anonymous when submitting it for review for publication without the title page. There is no need to put anything other than your name on this line, and it should be as follows:
- The author’s full name, including their middle initial
- Placed under the title
- Do not to include titles or degrees after the name
Institutional AffiliationUnder the author byline should be the institutional affiliation where the author conducted the research for the APA style paper. Again, just the name of the institution is required, without any descriptive text preceding it.
Free APA Title Page ExamplesSee below to download the template, and start putting together your essay in the correct APA Paper Format. This portion of your work should be fairly simple to put together, once you have read through these guides and are using one of the title page templates. At apastyle.org, you can get more instructions on writing the title page, as well as how to put together your reference list and other parts of the essay.
Typical APA Style Term Paper
This is free sample of a Typical APA Style Term Paper.
Typical APA Style Term Paper where title appears in the middle of the page.
Two Authors, Same Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Two Authors and the same Affiliation.
Two Authors, Two Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Two Authors and Two Affiliations.
Three Authors, Two Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Two Affiliations.
Three Authors, Three Affiliations
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Three Affiliations.
Three Authors, Same Affiliations for the first and third authors
APA Style Term Paper with Three Authors and Same Affiliation for the first and third authors.
One Author, One Affiliation
APA Style Term Paper with One Author and One Affiliation.