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6.3: General Paper Format

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    APA papers have different sections that have different slightly different formatting styles, however, the entire paper should:

    The ENTIRE paper should:

    • Be double-spaced (except Tables and Figures)
    • Be 12 pt. Times New Roman font (or similar)
    • Have 1” margins on all sides
    • Not have any extra spacing before or after each paragraph.
      • Check Paragraph settings for this; the default in Word is to add 10 points of space after each paragraph (regardless of line spacing).
    • Have a page number in the upper right-hand side of every page that is the same font as the rest of the paper.
    • Have the paper’s title, all capitalize, as a page header in the upper left-hand of every page. When all papers were submitted by mailing hard-copies to journal publishers, the running head was used to keep the papers together and organized, but anonymous. Dr. MO has also used this when she has literally dropped a stack of printed-but-not-yet-stapled student papers.

    There should be a page break (starting on a new page) between each of these sections. There should not be a page break within any of these sections. Even if you have part of a sentence dangling on a new page. Insert a Page Break to start a new page, don’t just hit Enter a bunch of times. Doing that messes up other formatting.

    In-Text Citations

    If you cite any sources, there is a particular way to format them in your sentences. Surprised?

    In-text citations help readers locate the source of your information in the References section of the paper. Whenever you use a source, provide the author’s last name(s), in the order that they appear on the article, and the year of publication. You can use the authors’ names in the sentence, or only include their names in the reference at the end of the sentence.

    Example with One Author

    • Using their name in the sentence: Wilson (2014) developed mechanical wings.
    • Not using their name in the sentence: Mechanical wings can be used as shielding or for flight (Wilson, 2014).

    Example with Two Authors

    • Using their names in the sentence: According to Prince and Trevor (2021), you must sometimes sacrifice to live your values.
    • Not using their name in the sentence: There is still controversy over the cause of World War I, also known as the Great War (Prince & Trevor, 2017).

    Notice that everything cited is in the past tense. It was written before today, so it is in the past.


    What is different with two authors between using the authors’ names in the sentence, compared to at the end of the sentence?

    Example with Three or More Authors

    When citing a work with three or more authors, you can use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the sentence or in parentheses:

    • Using their names in the sentence: Kirk et al. (1968) found many similarities between their different cultures.
    • Not using their name in the sentence: Exploration shows that there is infinite diversity in infinite combinations (Kirk et al., 1968).

    Students often want to cite once at the end of a whole paragraph. Resist this urge. In APA Style, each sentence with information from an outside source must be cited. Citing at the end of the sentence makes it difficult to recognize which parts of the paragraph are the author’s thoughts, and which portions are the ideas or findings for another author.

    This page titled 6.3: General Paper Format is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michelle Oja.

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