compiled from the APA Publication Manual by
William U Borst, Troy State University
(Revised by S. Hembree to reflect 5th edition changes)
- Margins are to be
1" from top, bottom, and sides (Except the manuscript page
- Double spaced in
- Acceptable type
face is Courier or
Times New Roman in
12-point size. Sans
serif typeface may be used in
- Justification only
on left side of paper. In other words, the right side of the paper
should have ragged edges
- Page numbers begin
with title page
- Paragraphs are to
be indented five to seven spaces. Paragraphs are longer than a single
- Abbreviations - Use
abbreviations sparingly. Always spell out what the abbreviation means
the first time it is used (For example, Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory (MMPI) ). Thereafter, use the abbreviation.
- Spacing - Space
once after commas, colons, semicolons, after periods that separate
parts of a reference situation, and after the periods of the initials
of personal names (e.g., W. U. Borst). Do not space after internal
periods in abbreviations (e.g., a.m., i.e.,) or around colons in
- Quotation Marks
- Use quotation marks to set off the title of an article or
chapter in a periodical or book when the title is mentioned in text,
to introduce a word or phrase considered slang, or as an invented or
coined expression. Quotation marks also are used to indicate direct
quotation of sources.
- Use figures with
numbers 10 and above and for numbers indicating exact measures
(e.g., 5 grams).
- Spell out numbers
one through nine and spell out the number when beginning a
- All numbers below 10
which are grouped for comparison with numbers 10 and above do not
have to be spelled out (For example, in the 2nd and 11th grades a
test was given). However, use the numerical symbol for all numbers
in your Abstract page.
- To make plurals out
of numbers add 's' only with no apostrophe (the 1990s).
- Use combinations of
written and Arabic numerals for back-to-back modifiers (six
- use a zero
before the decimal point for numbers less than 1 (e.g.,
0.75 grams); do not use a zero when reporting correlations.
- Italics - Use
sparingly, NOT for mere emphasis. Use for:
- titles of books or
journals and periodical volume number (on reference page)
- when introducing a
- for letters that
represent statistical terms, e.g., F test
- when describing a
scale, e.g., 1 (not at all) to 4 (always)
- Clarity is important!
Present ideas in an orderly, succinct manner.
- Avoid jargon, wordiness,
- Vary sentence length
- Be precise: avoid
informal language and slang
- Avoid editorial
"we", e.g., "researchers tend to classify data in this
way..." is better than "we tend to classify data in this
- Ensure that verb tense
is consistent and that subject agrees with verb
Headings indicate the organization
of the manuscript and establish the importance of each topic. Headings
range from Level 1 to Level 5. In most cases, levels 1,3, and 4
headings will be used (please see examples below). Do not label
headings with numbers or letters. The following is an example of how
headings are to be typed.
For a Level 1
Centered Uppercase and Lowercase Heading
Centered, Italicized, Uppercase and
Flush Left, Italicized, Uppercase and Lowercase Side Heading
italicized, lowercase heading with a period.
CENTERED UPPERCASE HEADING
* A two-level paper (use
levels 1 and 3):
*A three level paper
(use levels 1, 3, and 4)
The citation of sources is a key
point in writing in APA style format. The Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association (5th ed., APA, 2001) states that you
should "document...by citing by author and date the works you used in
your research (p. 207). Make sure that anything
referenced in your paper is cited on your Reference page and anything on
your Reference page is used in your text.
When paraphrasing someone
else's material, you are required to cite them. For example:
Smith and Jones (1996)
found that test scores do not necessarily always correlate with IQ
If your paragraph is
entirely taken from someone else's findings, thoughts, beliefs, etc., then
at the end of the paragraph insert parenthesis containing the authors name
and year. For example: (Smith & Jones, 1994).
All citations in your text contain two parts: The author and year of
publication. Always insert the year after the author the FIRST time it is
used per paragraph, unless it can be confused with a different study,
article, book. However, when an citation contains two or more authors use
the following rules:
- Two Authors -
(Smith & Jones, 1994) or Smith and Jones (1994) found . . . . . In
1994 Smith and Jones researched....... Always cite both names in text.
- Three, four, or five
authors - Cite all the authors the first time the reference
occurs. In subsequent citations use the first author's surname
followed by "et al.". For example- Strasburger, Jorgensen,
and Randles (1996) found differences.......... [First Time Used]
Strasburger et al. (1996) also created tests........... [First
Subsequent Citation per paragraph]. Strasburger et al. found
discrepancies..... [Further citations within SAME paragraph- Omit
- Six or more authors- Cite
only the first surname and follow with "et al." Smith et al.
Use direct quotes
sparingly. Instead, try paraphrasing and citing the source. Quotations
shorter than 40 words should be incorporated into the text, using double
quotation marks. Quotations longer than 40 words should be indented (5-7
spaces) and no quotation marks are used. With direct quotes, cite
the source and page number in parentheses. If any material is left out use
three ellipsis points (. . .) within the sentence.
disorder "is not only uncommon but may be the most diagnostic entity
in children and adolescents in similar settings. . . . and may be the most
common diagnosis in adolescents who are court-remanded to such
settings" (Isaac, 1995, p.275).
Issac (1995) states that bipolar disorder "is not only uncommon but
may be the most diagnostic entity in children and adolescents in similar
settings. . . . and may be the most common diagnosis in adolescents who
are court-remanded to such settings" (p.275).
quotations of 40 or more words, DO NOT use quotation marks. Set off the
quotation in Block style format (Start quote on new line indented five to
seven spaces. Each subsequent line is also indented.
Elkind (1978) states:
general, our findings support Piaget's view that perception as well as
intelligence are neither entirely inborn nor entirely innate but are
rather progressively constructed through the gradual development of
perceptual regulations. The chapter has also attempted to demonstrate
the applicability of Piaget's theory to practical issues by summarizing
some research growing out of an analysis of beginning reading. (p. 183).
A primary source is the article, book, etc. that you have read and used to
cite in your paper. In some cases you might wish use an citation from that
work. This is called an secondary source. You should always try to
consult the original source. However, if you cannot, you should
cite the source in the text, and refer to the sources you actually read.
In the reference section, include only the source that you actually
For example, suppose you
read a paper by Borst (1997), and in that paper he refers to a paper by
Weisenmiller (1996). If you DID NOT actually read Weisenmiller (1996)
yourself, then in the text, you might say: Weisenmiller (1996, as cited in
Borst,1997) recommends working in the computer industry. In the reference
section, you would include a reference for Borst (1997), but NOT for
Examples of References in APA Style
Please note: reference
format has changed considerably from 4th to 5th editions!
- The Reference(s) page(s)
begins on a new page. It is entitled "References", NOT
"Bibliography" or "Works Cited"
- All references should be
- The references should be
listed in alphabetical order. Consider author's names such as McAfee
and Macwerner literally--Macwerner would come first.
- For two or more
references with the same author, list first which ever one has the
earliest publication year, and single author citations precede
multiple author citations.
- In instances where you
have two or more references that contain the same author and year,
differentiate them by placing a, b, c, d, etc. after the year, then
use the appropriate year and letter when citing in text.
- In general, use
Scientific Journals for references (i.e., Journal of Counseling and
Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology). In other words avoid using 'popular opinion'
journals or magazines, or both (i.e., Time, Newsweek, USA Today,
National Enquirer, Redbook, etc.).
- Include only those
references you actually cited or quoted in text.
- Include only references
you have actually read.
The following reference
formats are given as examples, and DO NOT cover how to cite EVERY type of
reference. Consult your APA Manual (5th Edition) (pp. 215-281) or web resources
Author, A.B. (Year of publication). Title of
Title (italicized, capitalized, capitalized),
volume number (italicized),
the inclusive page numbers.
Examples of Periodicals:
Teri, L. (1982). Depression in
adolescence: Its relationship to assertion
and various aspects of self-image. Journal
of Clinical Child
Psychology, 11, 101-106.
Sonne, J. L., & Pope, K. S. (1991). Treating victims of
involvement. Psychotherapy, 28,
Author, A. B. (Year of publication). Title
of book (italicized). Location:
Example of book:
Elkind, D. (1978). The child's
reality: Three developmental themes. New
York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Example of Edited Book:
Marshall, F. J., & Kibbs, H. S. (Eds.). (1996). This is an
Atlanta, GA: Make Believe
Example of Article in an Edited
Duck, J. C., & Harold, E. E. (1994).
Testing children. In D. J. Keyser & R.
C. Sweetland (Eds.), An evaluation of
standardized tests (pp.
124-132). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
You should avoid using
biased or pejorative language in your work. Read over your work carefully
for bias or offense. In general, being as specific as possible will help
you to avoid bias. Here are some things to watch for (taken from the APA
- Show respect for people
participating in a study as individuals by avoiding the use of the
term subjects. Instead, use participants, individuals,
students or a similar term to describe persons participating in
- Avoid sex bias by
choosing pronouns (he, she) and gender-based nouns carefully.
Do not use men or man to refer to all adults. Sexual
orientation (preferred) is not the same thing as sexual
preference. Avoid the term homosexual (be specific and use
lesbian or gay men).
- Recognize that ethnic
designations change over time. Be as specific as possible in using
ethnic terms. Participants should be asked about their preferred
designations. Some commonly used acceptable references to populations:
African Americans, Native Americans, Asian or Asian Americans (NOT
Oriental). Hispanic as a designation is typically less
preferred than the actual nation or region of origin (e.g., Cuban,
- Avoid language which
"equates persons with their condition" (p. 69) (e.g. disabled,
depressives, neurotics), and avoid use of words with negative
connotation (e.g., stroke victim). Instead use "person
- Be specific with age
terms. Define age precisely in methods section and avoid terms such as
Elderly (use Older persons instead).