Citation APA Format Guide

You have an uneasy task to do an APA format essay. It might seem like some daunting job, especially if you used to write another style essays, ASAAPSA, IEEE, MLA or Chicago, for example. Before you start, you should learn the basics and principal document formatting rules of how to cite APA style. Also, you can find online any APA book citation format example and compare it with MLA format paper example to see the difference.

Mostly, you will need to write your paper in this format, that is why you should understand how to do an in text citation in APA. It is the official publication style. Knowledge in document formatting is a must.

APA format is very popular, especially for various papers in Psychology, Education, and other Social Sciences. This style dictates every presentation element of your paper. Spacing, margins and the content structure should be done in this format. You can even use a special generator, but we recommend learning how to do APA citation and writing by yourself.

What is the APA Citation Style?

Let’s start with a brief identification of paper in APA format. This abbreviation stands for American Psychological Association. This format is about date and creator’s name. In this case, this name should be added to all citations you have in your paper using simple parenthetical punctuation style.

Also, this style requires using in text citations and repeating these citations and their sources in the special list in the end. These points are the main ones defying this style in general. Modern creators use citation generators to generate those list and citations themselves. Various publication manuals are also very useful. Here is the example you can use for your book citation:

James, H. (1937). The ambassadors. New York, NY: Scribner.

To easily cite any sources in APA style you can use EduBirdie free APA citation generator

How to write in APA style?

You should understand basic APA paper components. APA style uses five chief sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References
  • Title Page

Try our new apa title page maker for free

The very first page of your future paper consists of the following five sections:

  • Title
  • Header
  • The name of the author
  • Some notes from the author.

Note that you should write a “Running Head” before your header in all capital letters. And here are some tips about your papers title page in this format:

  • Do not use any abbreviations or words with no purpose. Just give the central idea of your paper.
  • Use 12 size Times New Roman font and center the main title. At the same time, you should not do any highlights types like bold, underline, and italicize the main header.
  • The main title should get up to two lines and contain only 12 words maximum.
  • Any text on the title page should be double-spaced. Please, do it the same way as the rest parts of your paper.
  • There should be no Dr. or Ms. titles before the author’s name.


  • Start your main page with this part and go like this:
  • The word Abstract is the start of this page and should not have any other commas.
  • You need to present a short story about your research and success in the field of research.
  • You need to use two spaces on each page of your paper.
  • Just 250 words is an allowed amount for this page.

The Body

This would be the part of your paper that can be called the main one. Don’t start too late and try to make it the strongest one.

  • The shortened main title should start this part.
  • Do not use any effects for your title that should go after the previous one.
  • You need to come up with your introduction for the whole body part. Just make a short presentation of your work. That would be enough.
  • The Method would be your new section. You can bold and get this part centered. Here you will tell the reader how the entire research process was going.
  • There is also a section called the Results where you should make a brief summary of your achievements in the research field and study.
  • The Discussion is the major part where you need to present your arguments. Make it bold title and center. Then tell a short analysis of your entire work.
  • The Summary is the last part of this paragraphs section.
  • Do not try your results sound better than they are. Be honest as it is scientific work.
  • Tell what should be researched next in this topic.
  • Tell if there are any restrictions about your study.


APA reference list goes after previous paragraphs and should be very clear. Consider these points to use while working:

  • Your main title’s brief variant will start every new section.
  • You need to use a bold style for reference and place each one in the middle.
  • Use the alphabet to list every source on this page.
  • You need to mention every place where you took at least one citation.

Basics of an APA Format Essay

  • You should do the borders for at all four sides of your essay. Ask your tutor what the length should be.
  • The double-spaced paper is a must.
  • You should include your short main title on every page on the upper left side. It is called the running head as it was made of your title. You can take the first few words for it, but not including all spaces.
  • Don’t forget to include a page number on the upper angle on every page.
  • A title page of your essay also goes in APA format. Also, on your teachers request there can be added information about the course title, instructor name, and the date.
  • Your essay should also have a reference list. It is a must, and paper without writing a bibliography is doomed to fail. These are the points about all the places where you took your references from.

Read also: Differences between APA vs MLA: What Format to Use?

Tips for APA Format Essay

For a start, you must find an interesting topic for your future essay or research paper. Try to choose a subject that is specific enough to start a research and is interesting for you to write about. To write like a professional you should plan your work at the very start, hence think whether your theme is good enough and not too specific. You must find some happy medium between something too specific, as it is too difficult to write about, and something too general, as it is not interesting to read.

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Start your research as early as it is possible for you. But keep in mind that including any source used in your essay in your reference section is a must.

Write first and the second draft. After you write the final draft, it is necessary to ask someone to check your essay for grammar errors, check at our Turabian citation machine and possible problems with APA format. 

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