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6.4: Formatting by Section

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    APA papers generally include the following sections:

    1. Cover page (sometimes called a title page)
    2. Abstract
    3. Main body
    4. References
    5. Appendices (including Tables and Figures)

    Each of these sections have different slightly different formatting styles. The formatting discussed in the last section that should be throughout the paper will not be repeated here, so make sure to format your whole paper that way first, then move on to making sure each section is correctly formatted.  

    First Section:  Title Page

    In the upper half of the page, centered:

    • The title of your paper, in bold.
    • Your name 
    • Affiliation (your college/university)

    Insert a Page Break after the affiliation so that the first page of the main body starts on the next page.  [Don’t just hit Enter a bunch of times.  Doing that messes up other formatting.]

    Second Section:  Abstract

    An abstract is a 150- to 250- word summary of your paper.  The abstract page should include:

    • Page header and page number (2, because this will always be on the second page)
    • The abstract title (which should be the word Abstract), centered and bold, at the top of the page.
    • The abstract paragraph is not indented.

    Third Section:  Main Body

    This is the section of the paper where most of your writing will be; this is where you describe what was measured, on whom, and what was found. 

    The first page of the main body includes the title in the header and at the top of the page (as a heading).   This title is in the style of a Level 1 heading (see below).  Every page of your main body should include:

    • Page header and Page number
    • Indented paragraphs (with no extra space between the paragraphs).

    There should not be a page break within the main body; Just let the paragraphs break where they naturally do.


    A heading is a title for different sections of your paper.  It is not a header, which is the title at the top of each page. 

    If you choose to use headings, they should be formatted in correct APA Style.  APA uses a system of five heading levels, as shown in the Note below.  Start with the Level 1 style for your titles and headings, then move down for lower level sections.


    Level 1: Centered, Bold, Title Case (first letter of important words is capitalized)

    Level 2: Flush Left, Bold, Title Case

    Level 3: Flush Left, Bold & Italicized, Title Case

    It is exceedingly unlikely that you will need a Level 4 or Level 5 heading, but here they are:

    Level 4: Indented, Bold, Title Case, Ending with a Period.

    Level 5: Indented, Bold and Italicized, Title Case, Ending with a Period.

    Fourth Section:  Reference Page

    You need a reference page when you cite someone else’s work.  You might think that you won’t be citing anything in a statistics paper, but you actually might!  For example, if you were comparing the number of siblings of your classmates, you might cite a website showing the average number of siblings of college students in the U.S. for your population mean. 

    Like every other page, the reference page should include:

    • Running head (only the paper’s title, all capitalized)
    • The page number
    • Double-spaced, with no extra space between paragraphs

    It should also include a title (References) at the top of the page in bold (Level 1 heading).  APA uses References, not works cited or bibliography.

    The indention of references are opposite of paragraphs in the main body.  Each reference should start all of the way to the left, and each subsequent line should be indented.  This is called a hanging indent, and Word will do this automatically for you through the paragraph settings.

    Fifth Section:  Appendix (Tables and Figures)

    For our purposes, an appendix will be used for tables and figures. 


    What other types of information might be put in an appendix?

    The next section will discuss tables and figures in more detail.

    Contributors and Attributions

    Dr. MO (Taft College)

    This page titled 6.4: Formatting by Section is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michelle Oja.

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