A quick guide to
William A. Sodeman, Ph.D.
Hawaii Pacific University
Use only one font and size!
• Times Roman, Arial or Courier
– Fonts affect page length!
• 12 point size
• No bold or underlines
– Be careful with web addresses and URLs!
• Italics are acceptable
– Required in Level 3, 4 and 5 headers
Margins and spacing
5.03 and 5.04
• One inch margins on all sides
• Double spacing
APA paper structure
1 Title page
2 Abstract page
3 Body of the paper
Appendixes, author notes, footnotes,
figures and tables
Page 1: The title page
• Page header with page number 1 (5.06)
– Include 2-3 descriptive words from title
• Running head with an abbreviated title
– 50 characters maximum
• Author's title and affiliation
• Course and date may be included
Page 2: The abstract page
1.07 and 5.16
• The last page you should write!
– Provides a summary of the paper's content
• Not the paper's structure, headers or organization
– One paragraph, 120 words maximum
• The first page many readers look for
– Used in bibliographic databases for indexing
Page 3 and beyond:
The body of the paper
• Contains the actual content of the paper
• Indent each paragraph (5.08)
– ½ inch or 5-7 spaces
• Use at least 2 levels of headings
– Provide structure for your content
– Clearly organized and well chosen
– See 3.32 and 5.10 for examples
• 1, 3
• 1, 3, 4
• 1, 2, 3, 4
• 5, 1, 2, 3, 4
Outline your headings
• In a separate document, outline your APA
• Print and use that document as a guide
while you write the paper
Avoid using block quotes!
3.34 and 3.35
• Indirect quotes are better
– Paraphrase carefully in your own words
• Use direct quotes only when these words
really help your paper
• Size matters! Shorter quotes are better
3.94 – 3.103, 4.16
• Must appear with every outside source and
quotation in the paper
• Must be accurate and properly formatted
Find reliable and reputable sources
• Look for high quality news and journal
• Find and cite books and other textbooks
• Use the library databases (EBSCO)
• Don't depend on the Internet and search
Find a variety of references
• Avoid excessive bias in your research
• Don’t rely on the same articles or authors
for most of your citations
• Directories and reference works are a good
place to start, but avoid using them in your
Avoid marketing material!
• These sources are usually biased
– “White papers”
– Advertising sections and supplements
– Press releases
– Sales and catalog content
– Corporate web sites
Find reliable and reputable sources
• Your course textbooks do not count as a
• You may use but not cite general references
4.16: 17 and 22
• A source that is mentioned in another
source of material
– An author cites or quotes an article or book
• If you need to cite this secondary source, it
is always best to find and cite the original
• If you can't find the original source, then
use the APA formats for secondary sources
• All sources and citations used in the body of
the paper must appear in the reference list!
– Hanging indent
– Alphabetical order by first author’s last name
• If there is no author, use the article or book title
• Students in this course can't help each other
on individual papers!
– All paper content must be your own work
– Find your own sources and references
• Does the instructor keep an updated databases of
• Can he check references across several student
You can get some help, but you
need to do the actual corrections
• Style, grammar and spelling
• Word processors and other programs
• APA formatting
Proofread your work!
• Have someone else read your work!
– The instructor should never be the first person
to read your paper
• Use but don't trust spell and grammar check
– Look for synonyms and homonyms
– Check people, place and company names
– Be careful with technical terms
Read the fine manuals!
• The APA Publication Manual is the best
source for formatting and style information
• Learn to use your word processor!
– Use the Help function or check the Web
– Don't reinvent the wheel!
– Find the function you need
Plan and manage your time
• Start early!
• Plan ahead!
• Don’t wait for the last minute!
• Back up your files!
• Allow 24-72 hours for TurnItIn.com to
return a draft originality analysis
• Ask plenty of questions!