How to write a term paper in APA format: following the guidelines

Following the guidelines for APA formatting is an important skill that you will need to learn if you are taking any social science courses. Most social science instructors assign term papers to their students and those paper need to be properly written in the APA style which is regulated by the American Psychological Association. The formatting guide is in its sixth edition and second printing and is available for purchase through most bookstores. If you are majoring in a subject in the social sciences field, you should add this guide to your collection of books.

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Details
  • When you are assigned your first APA paper, you might be overwhelmed with the specific formatting that the style requires. Everything from the way the page numbers are styled to the way that you include the sources you used are highly detailed all the way to the punctuation and font size. It is vital that you do everything that the guidelines require; otherwise, you could be accused of plagiarism.

  • Formatting Used Throughout the Term Paper
  • APA has organized their formatting so it is easy to follow. The first thing that you should do when you are ready to begin is to set up the running headers, page numbers, margins, and font size. You should use Times New Roman in size 12, with one-inch margins all around the paper, which should be standard size 8.5” x 11”. The running headers are justified left and written in all caps. This header should be a condensed version of your title, if it is over 50 characters in length - which is the maximum you can have the in the header. Your page numbers are flushed right and in the same header line as the title. Once you have the page formatting established, this is used throughout the paper.

  • Four Major Sections Require Different Formatting
  • The sections of any APA term paper are always the same. These sections do have specific formatting styles, so you should check them before you begin so you do not have to go back any make major changes. The first section is the title page. The abstract is next. Then, you write the main body, which can have sections inside of it. The final section is the references section which includes some particular guidelines for all of the sources that you used.