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Citing Sources: Formatting your Paper & Reference List

What's Included in this Guide?

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Guides & Sample Papers

The OWL at Purdue provides resources that may useful for writing projects & citation help.

Click here for a full-length self-paced online tutorial from the APA's website.

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General Formatting: Guidelines

  • Use Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Double space throughout the paper
  • Set margins to one inch all around
  • Text should be left-justified only (i.e., flush on the left side, naturally staggered on the right side)
  • Do not allow words to be hyphenated or "broken" from one line onto the next
  • Indent paragraphs 5-7 spaces, or one-half inch (Tab key preset is usually appropriate)
  • Pages should appear in the following order:

    • Title page
    • Abstract page (if applicable)
    • Body pages
    • References page
    • Footnotes page(s), if any
    • Appendices, if any

See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association pp. 228-230 for general guidelines and/or Chapter 2, "Manuscript Structure and Content," for more detail.

Insert APA Header & Page Numbers

Page numbers must appear on all pages. However, the header on the first page is different than the header on all subsequent pages. Download instructions below to learn how to do this in MS Word 2007.

Header (page 1):
Running head: YOUR TITLE IN ALL CAPS (flush left) Page number (flush right)
Header (all subsequent pages)
YOUR TITLE IN ALL CAPS (flush left) Page number (flush right)

Title Page

Your title page should include the following:

  • A header and page number
      • Header should be labeled Running head: in upper and lower case, followed by a shortened (if necessary) version of your title in all capital letters. This should begin at the left margin.
      • Page numbers should begin on the title page with 1 in the upper right hand corner.
      • Use the word processing functions to insert the header and page numbers; do not type them in page by page. See Inserting the APA Header for more information.
  • Full title of your paper in upper- and lowercase letters, centered within the upper half of the page.
  • Your name, on the next double-spaced line after the title.
  • Your university affiliation, on the next double-spaced line after your name.
  • Author note, several spaces below your name (if applicable--usually only for manuscripts for publication)

Abstract

An abstract is a one-paragraph summary of an article or research study. Your instructor may or may not require you to include one with your paper. If you include an abstract:

  • Place it on page 2, under the word Abstract centered at the top of the page.
  • Remember to include the header and page number on the page.
  • Do not indent the abstract paragraph.

Body of the Paper

The body of your paper should begin on a clean page, after your title page (and abstract page, if applicable). The first page of text should begin with the full title of your paper centered at the top of the page. Do not use boldface type or underline the title. You should not label the beginning of your paper "Introduction," but you may use other section headings such as "Discussion" where appropriate. See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Assocation for more information on dividing your paper into sections.

Use the same general guidelines for the body of the paper:

  • Use Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Double space throughout the paper
  • Set margins to one inch all around
  • Text should be left-justified only (i.e., flush on the left side, naturally staggered on the right side)
  • Do not allow words to be hyphenated or "broken" from one line onto the next

Each new paragraph should be indented 5-7 spaces, or one-half inch (usually the Tab key preset). However, block quotations of more than 40 words should be offset from the running text of the paper. See the Paraphrase vs. Direct Quotation section for more information about how to format such quotations.

See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, pp. 228-230 for general guidelines and/or Chapter 2, "Manuscript Structure and Content", for more detail.

Reference List

The list of complete citations for the works you have cited throughout the paper should start on a clean page with the word References centered at the top of the page. Do not use boldface type, quotation marks, or underline the word References. This page should also have the header and page number at the top.

Do not indent entries on this list; each should begin at the left margin. Double space each entry on your list, and place the entries in alphabetical order by the first author's last name, without regard to what kind of resource it is (do not divide your list into "Books," "Journal articles," etc.). Any resource that is listed by its title (i.e., has no author) should also be listed alphabetically, interspersed with those listed by author.

The second and following lines of each citation must be indented 5 spaces (or one Tab key). This is known as a hanging indent. Word processing software can usually be set to perform this function automatically (Click here for more information).

See guidelines for formatting citations (and sample citations) for each kind of resource under the Citing Sources: APA tab above.

Video Tutorials

For Windows:

For Mac:

Note: Windows video has sound and the Mac video does not have sound.

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