APA for paper

Background of APA history

The APA ( or American Psychological Association) was founded in July of 1862 at Clark University by 26 men, who elected G. Stanley Hall as their president.


  • Advance the creation , communication, and application of psychology knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

- The APA is a scientific and professional organization that represented psychologists here in the US.

  • Based in Washington DC
  • More than 154,000 members


  • Committed to both science and the fair treatment of individuals and groups.
  • Requires avoidance of demeaning attitudes and biased assumptions

APA with writing

  • Style of writing that social and behavioral scientists use to present scholarly written materials in their professional fields
  • Developed to establish a standard writing style that would communicate scientific ideas easier and more constant.

APA 3 main goals

  1. Maximize organizational effectiveness
  2. Expand psychology’s role in advances in health
  3. Increase recognition is psychology as a science

Getting Started.

Evaluating Content

  • Judge it’s important to field of psychology

Ask yourself these questions

  • Is the research question significant and is the work original and important?
  • Have the instruments been demonstrated to have satisfactory reliability and validity?
  • Remember!!


  •          Produces the same results from one time and place to the next


  •      Must measure what it sets out to measure
  • Are the outcome measures clearly related to the variable with which the investigation is concerned?
  • Does the research design fully and unambiguously (open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations) test the hypothesis?
  • Are the subjects representitive of the population to which generalizations are made?
  • Did the researcher observe ethical standards in the treatment of participants?

         EX: Was deception used?

- Is the research at an advanced enough stage to make the publication of results meaningful?

General Format

Guild lines for APA paper

  • Double spaced
  • 1 inch margins on ALL sides
  • Font # 12
  • Times Roman ( usually used on ALL papers), however for this class please use Courier New
  • Must be 3 pages long ( this is for your first paper due on the Mid-Term) and 5 pages ( paper due at Final), excluding Title page, Table of Contents, Abstract and Reference Page
  • Must have a minimum ( for papers) of 10 sources.. Remember NO WIKAPEDIA !!

Sections of Paper

All Papers to include

  • Running Head
  • Page numbers
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Abstract
  • Main body
  • Reference Page

Title Page magnified

Title Page

  • Summarize the main idea of the paper simple and if possible with style
  • Should be concise statements of the main topic and should identify the actual or theoretical issues under investigation
  • Should be fully explanatory when standing alone
  • Recommended length of a title is 10-12 words

Running Head magnified

Running Head

  • Abbreviated title that is printed at the top of the pages of a published article to identify the article for readers
  • Max of 50 characters (usually first 3-4 words of title)
  • Max characters include the letters, punctuation and spaces between words

Abstract magnified


  • A brief comprehensive summery of the contents of the article ; allows the reader to survey the contents of the article quickly and ( like title) it allows information to the index and retrieve articles.
  • Most important to paper!!!!
  • Needs to be dense with information buy also readable, well organized, brief and self – contained
  • Best to embed many key words to enhance the user’s ability to find answers within the content

Abstract continued

A good Abstract is

  • Accurate ( correctly reflects the purpose and content)
  • Self- Containing
  •       Define all abbreviations
  •       Spell out names of tests and drugs
  •       Define unique terms
  •       Give authors complete names and dates
  • Concise and specific ( each sentence maximally informative, especially the lead sentence)
  • Be brief in length NO MORE THAN 120 WORDS!
  • Include only 4-5 of the most important concepts, findings, or implications

Non- Evaluative

  • Report rather than evaluate ( don’t add your own thoughts here)

Coherent and Readable

  • Use Verbs (typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that (when inflected) may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood, and to show agreement with their subject or object.) than nouns(often thought of as referring to persons, places, things, states, or qualities).
  • Use active rather than passive voice

Introduction Magnified

  • Opens with an introduction that presents the specific problem under study and describes the research strategy used.

Will answer these questions in 1-2 paragraphs

  - Why is this problem important?

-   How do the hypothesis and the experimental design relate to the problem?

-   What are the theoretical implications of the study and how does the study relate to previous work in the area?

  • What theoretical propositions are tested and how were they derived?

Note for Introduction/Body of Paper

If animals are used , report the genus, species, and strain number or other specific identification such as name and location of supplier if applicable.

Give the number of animals , sex, age, weight, and physiological condition if noted by researchers

Reduction of Bias Language

Contributions are

  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Racial or Ethnical group
  • Disability
  • Age

These should all be free of implied or irrelevant evaluation of the group or groups being studied.

NOTE!! Check what you are writing for spelling, grammar, and wordiness


Example Text

In an effort to seek the cause of this disturbing trend, experts have pointed to a range of important potential contributors to the rise in childhood obesity that are unrelated to media: a reduction in physical education classes and after – school athletic programs an increase in the availability of sodas and snacks in public schools, the growth in the number of fast- food outlets across the country, the trend toward” super – sizing” food portions in restaurants, and the increasing number of highly possessed high- caloric and high fat grocery products,

- Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation “ The roles of media in Childhood Obesity” (2004), p. 1.

Acceptable and Not


According to the Henry J Kaiser family foundation( 2004) experts have pointed to a range of important potential contributors to the rise in childhood obesity that are unrelated to media ( p.1)

Borrowed Language in Quotes

According to the Henry J Kaiser foundation (2004) “ Experts have pointed to a range of important potential contributors to the rise in childhood obesity that re unrelated to media” (p.1)

Format for author documentation

Single Author

  • Last name , First initial of first name. ( date of article). Publication place
  • Ex: John, K. ( 2004).

Multiple Authors

  • Last name , First initial of first name., & ( repeat with second name). ( Date of publication).
  • Ex: John, K. & Smith , S. ( 2005).

NOTE: If there are more than 6 authors list the first 6 then add an “ et al.” meaning all others, then follow format as indicated above.

Basic Format

  • Authors last name , First name initial., ( date of publication). Title of book. State of publication: City of Publication
  •  Ex: Highmore, B. ( 2001). Everyday Life and Culture Theory. New York: Rutledge

Book with an Editor

  • Begin same way as book, however ad ( Eds) after names and in front of date of publication. All else remains the same.
  • Ex. Bronfen, E. & Kawka, M. ( Eds), (2001). Feminist Consequences: Theory for a New Century. New York: Columbia University Press.

Article from an Online Periodical ( with DOI)

  • General format is same as before , however included are the digital object identifiers ( DOI). Also includes the volume and issue number for all journals.
  •  Ex: Whitmeyer, J. M. ( 2000). Power through Appointment. Social Science Research, 29 (4), 535-555. DOI: 10.1006/ssre.2000.0680

Article from an Online Periodical ( No DOI)

  • All same as above, however include URL where DOI would have gone.
  • Ex: Ashe, D.D & McCutcheon,L.E. (2001), Shyness, Loneliness, and Attitude Toward Celebrities. Current Research n Social Psychology, 6(9),124-133. Retrieved from http://www.viowa.edu/~grpproc/crisp/crisp.6.9.htm
  • ** Note: Website is also italicized***

Important Reminders

Look at Handout!!!!

  • If it is not YOUR own thoughts make sure to note source ( Documentation of Author will be needed!)
  •  Use quotations where needed, however avoid over-use
  • Use Third person only when writing. No uses of I, Me or You is allowed ( will be counted off in papers for non third party usage).

Checklist for Papers


  • Double spaced
  • Margins are 1 inch ( ALL SIDES)
  • Are the Title page, Table of Contents, Abstract and References on separate pages?
  • Are all pages numbered?

Title Page

  • 10- 12 words

Abstract Page

- No more than 120 words

Table of Contents

 - All pages are listed?

  • All headers are listed?
  • Pages are correct?

Paragraphs and Headings ( Introduction/Body of paper)

  • More than 1 sentence, however longer than 1 manuscript page
  • Headings reflect the organization of paper
  • All in same format?


  • All alphabetical
  • All references are listed and spelled correctly


Online and Book resources to help you


Hacker, D. (2007), A Writer’s Reference 6th Edition, New York: Boston

American Psychological Association, (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 5th Ed. Washington DC