American Psychological Association Essay Guidelines

Last Updated: by Tawanna Tarr

Table of contents

The American Psychological Association or the commonly refereed acronym APA is a set of essay writing guidelines that was developed by the American Psychological Association from which it derives its name. This format is used when writing essays in the social sciences, business and even nursing and provides the rules on the general format of APA essay writing including how to use citations in the body of the text, the use of foot notes and how to write the references page at the end of the essay.

Overview of APA

According to Purdue University a typical essay written in APA format should be double spaced and typed using the Times New Roman font size 12. Every page should also include a page header or running head at the top left of every page. The header title is written in capital letters and a page number inserted to the right most corner of the page. The page header is often a summarized version of the paper’s main title and does not exceed 50 characters, punctuation and spaces included.

Purdue University suggests that an APA essay’s content should be divided into four main parts, the title page, the abstract, the main body and then the references page respectively. The title page contains the title of the essay, the name of the author and the institution the author is affiliated with. The title should be types in both capital and lowercase letters and centered halfway through the title page.

The abstract is written on a new page and is meant to give a brief outline of the main points of the essay comprising of the topic, research questions and objectives as well as methodology and results. It should be a minimum of 150 words but not exceeding 200. Keywords can also be included, indented to the right and italicized.

In the main body, when making a reference to research from another author, we include in-text citations. This means that, the author’s last name and the date that the research was published is written in the text and enclosed in parentheses. A period separates the author and the date. The full citation should also appear in the references page at the end of the essay.

In summary, APA styling uses double spaced and 12 pt. Time Roman font, divided into four sections. Referenced content should be followed by the authors last name and date of publication also shown in the references page.