How to Write a Good APA Paper

Academic writing is a formal style usually applied in writing research, course papers, dissertations, and other academic papers. Typically in colleges or universities, learners often face various assignments, but in addition to work type, teachers must observe the standards of definite style. The most popular are MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, which we will focus on today. Profound knowledge and understanding of the style’s chief requirements and standards give students more chances to handle their writing assignments at the top level.

What Is an APA Style Paper: Basic Information

The APA format is a citation and formatting method developed by the American Psychological Association. All the requirements and rules are published in the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” to be used by academicians and students when writing scientific and research papers in nursing, economics, business, psychology, and others.

As a rule, teachers emphasize the writing format required and provide guidelines. However, if you have only instructions where you noticed APA style, do not panic. On the Internet, you may find the seventh edition of the APA publication manual released in 2019. It provides understandable requirements concerning format, structure, citations, and many other APA paper guidelines. Remember to follow the latest edition of the APA manual to observe the current rules and demands.

How to Start an APA Paper

Before considering the content of your essay, you should make proper formatting preparations to set the page parameters and, thus, regulate the scope of your writing properly. What are the general guidelines to follow?

  • Use standard A4 (8.5 x 11–inch) paper size
  • Set paper margins: 1 inch on all sides.
  • Make double-space between lines, and do not make extra space between paragraphs.
  • The most suitable fonts are Calibri 11, Arial 11, and Times New Roman 12, but other fonts are also accessible.
  • On the right corner of the top margins, there must be a page number.

So, getting aware of the basic guidelines, the writing process will no longer seem to be a burden.

How to Structure an APA Paper: Requirements and Tips

The structure of any paper is an important element, like informative content. When writing an APA paper, students may get confused when dealing with the form of the paper more than when revealing the problem of an essay. Writing scientific work, they may show their awareness and creativity and produce a worthy piece using the required lexis and following grammar rules. However, they are not allowed to play with the structure, change the place of the counterparts, or include extra components. A well-structured paper deserves high grades and demonstrates students’ expertise. So, what about the structure of APA papers?

Of course, the structure may vary depending on the work type. For instance, a laboratory report may differ in structure from the article to the scientific magazine. Nevertheless, there are the following must-have sections in each APA paper.

  1. Title page. This page is also a covering page containing your work’s title. Remember that the title length should not exceed 10-12 words, not to make it too wordy. The task of this page is to inform the reader about the main details of the topic, author, and institution. If you do not know how to write an article title in a paper APA, you may ask your teacher for a sample or find it on the Internet. But, as a rule, it contains:
  • Paper title.
  • Author’s name.
  • Institutional affiliation.
  • The number of a course and a group (for students).
  • Date.
  1. Abstract. It is a part of an APA paper, not more than 150-200 words of understandable summary text. It familiarizes the reader with the inside content of the paper, so the reader can decide if it is worth reading. It is written on a separate page and contains the aim of the essay, methods applied, investigation results, and the importance of the research. The abstract is not required in many student papers but follows your tutor’s instructions.
  2. Body. This part is the main one since it contains detailed explanations, methods of investigations, and achieved results. It is usually divided into an introduction, methods, results, and a discussion.
  3. References. In this section, you provide the list of resources you applied during writing. It is written on a new page with the centered heading “References” at the very top. All the books and other materials should be placed in alphabetic order by the author’s last name. Italicize book titles and journal titles.

If you used citations, do not forget to indicate them on the reference list.

How to End an APA Paper

The finishing part of an APA paper may seem unusual at first. After writing a conclusion and organizing references, you must start the paper’s abstract. Yes, abstract. Although it is the initial part of the paper, specialists advise finishing your writing with an abstract. You are to summarize and present your work in this part, so it will be difficult to do this without the whole text.

Moreover, it is also recommended to thoroughly revise formatting and structure in addition to spelling and grammar, referring to the formatting guidelines and general rules.

APA Paper Outline

Since the outline is not an integral part of an APA paper, not many students spend their time outlining their ideas and making a detailed plan. However, it may simplify and accelerate the writing process. For instance, if you need to know how to write an APA reflection paper, you may surf the net looking for all the relevant information.

The next step is organizing all the valuable materials you want to apply in your essay in a short plan. Again, do not forget to be logical. After listing ideas and finding all the necessary samples and quotations, you will ensure the quality and avoid missing essential information prepared for each section.

How to Write an APA Paper Step by Step

Feeling unsure about your abilities to cope with APA paper requirements, you may follow our APA paper tips to reach perfect results and master new writing skills. So, how to start writing an APA paper?

  1. Define a topic.
  2. Refresh your knowledge of APA requirements or study them.
  3. Research the literature searching for the required information.
  4. Outline.
  5. While writing, try not to use the first person, avoid informal language, and don’t use contractions.
  6. Organize references and citations properly.
  7. Revise your paper several times.

Such helpful seven steps will be lucky for you if you follow our advice and consider all the rules and requirements seriously.

APA Paper Introduction: Writing Tips

It is considered that introduction of an APA research paper may be quite challenging. In this section, students should critically estimate their knowledge in the investigated field and define gaps to study during research. Moreover, you should also engage the reader to keep reading your paper if they decide to turn to it after reading your abstract.

When writing an introduction, try to be logical and introduce the ideas you will discuss down the line. Moreover, avoid long descriptions of references you are using. Instead, give a hint on what you are going to showcase.

APA Paper Body

The format of this section depends on what type of work you have. However, the basic parts follow after the introduction and are separated by corresponding names:

  • Methods. You must describe the design of your research in simple words. You also have to make subsections to indicate participants, materials, and all the used procedures. You are free to add other subsections if necessary, like equipment, etc.
  • Results. In this section, a student describes how he/she analyzed information and explains the importance of the findings. You may divide your result section into subsections if the analysis is complex or has a large material scope.
  • Discussion. It is time to present your results. This section helps to understand the achieved results. You start with short information about your investigations, explaining the outcome and supporting it with a sample or citation. Finally, explain the limited scope of your study and offer issues for further research.

 APA Paper Conclusion: Writing Ideas

Since there is no different conclusion in the APA paper, all the results and findings are placed in a discussion section. You should think over several final sentences that will properly summarize the paper and will not evoke any additional questions. So, do not hesitate to check your essay from the beginning to the end, following all the APA guidelines to get high grades and demonstrate your expertise in any difficulty-level assignments.