APA Essay Format

Updated: Nov 15, 2016

APA stands for American Psychological Association, which is the largest scientific professional organization of psychologists in North America. The association has developed its own formatting style, which is called APA and is mostly used when writing essays, research papers in social & natural sciences. If you experience any difficulties with APA formatting - request help from our professionals!

Most current document governing the APA style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. The manual is available on the APA website; furthermore, there is plenty information available online.


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Writing an essay and formatting it to match APA style is the most frequent question students ask us. Unlike the MLA formatting, APA is used in social & natural sciences; naturally, a formatting style will inevitably differ from MLA.

One of the major differences is paper structure. APA style essay should consist of 4 major sections: title page, abstract, main body & references. For more serious APA style publications the structure will be somewhat different and will include: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References, and Appendices.

This article is going to deal with such aspects of essay formatting as paper, title page, font, formatting, numbering, spacing, indentation, heading, citation, and references. Let's review each of these items closer.

Paper. Your essay should be typed on clean, white sheet of A4 paper (8.5”x11”). Use one-inch margins on all sides. 

Title Page. This is one of the mandatory parts of your essay. Include the phrase ‘Running head:’ and type your paper title. Flush left. Press Enter eight times and write your title again, include your first & last name, your teaching institution & your professor. Center this block of text.

Numbering. Your paper should be numbered consecutively, starting from page 1. Page numbers should be placed in the upper right-hand corner. 

Spacing. Use double space throughout your essay.

Indentation. Paragraphs should be indented. Press TAB once.

Paragraphs. Indent paragraphs. Flush left.

Headings. Headings should be centered and capitalized.

Citation. Basic in-text citation narrows down to Author-Year style, for example:

The economic situation in most countries is forcing government departments to embrace change in order to survive (Gravenhorst, 2003).

Brunes & Jackson (2001) argue that success rates of organizational change efforts, however, have been found to be very low.

References. References come at the end of your paper. Once you are done writing, start a new page and title it ‘References’. Center your text. From a new line, list your references. Sort alphabetically. Your references will look like this:

DiFonzo, N. (2013). 10 Rumors during organizational change: a motivational analysis. The Psychology of Organizational Change: Viewing Change from the Employee's Perspective, 232.

The good news about APA referencing is that it is fully automatic now. Privatewriting has created a special APA referencing machine that automatically creates references based on the information you specify. At the end it allows you to download the references file as a separate file that you can simply attach to your paper or essay.

Formatting your essay to APA style is a great example of works that can be outsourced to professionals who work at privatewriting.com! We have hundreds of writers who are experts on APA style, they will save you time if you request formatting assistance from them. APA formatting can be ordered as a part of editing & proofreading services at Privatewriting.com.

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