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APA Format Research Paper Citing Rules: The Essentials


As a student, you should know that other than including a citation in your work, you should pay necessary attention to the format of the style used in your research paper. One of the most common styles of citation is American Psychological Association, APA for short. If you are writing a paper under social or natural sciences like Nursing, Physiology, Sociology, Economics, Linguistics, Business or Criminology, the APA style is the one commonly used. This means that the style, references and voice of your writing should correspond with APA format or you see yourself starting the project all over again.

There are certain essential rules guiding the use of APA style of writing in your research paper. Some of these rules include the following:


  • Margins: The margin for your paper should be 1” both right, left, top and bottom of the papers.

  • Font Type and Size: With APA format, the traditional font type is Times New Roman while the normal font size 12 points.

  • Line Spacing: All pages of the paper are typed using double line spacing, including footnotes, appendixes and others.

  • Spacing for Punctuations: When punctuations occur within sentences, there should be one space after such punctuation. For punctuations that occur at the end of a sentence, double spaces are required.

  • Alignment: The right hand side of the research paper should be flush.

  • Pagination: The page numbers are inserted on the first line of each page. They usually start 1” from the right hand edge of the papers.

Apart from these essential rules, it is also important that your paper is written in active voice as against passive voice. The arrangement of the pages is also very important and should be done in this order: Title page first and then followed by Abstract, Body of paper, References, Footnotes which are then followed by Tables page, Figures and Appendixes pages.

With the use of APA style of format in your research paper, you stand better chances of establishing your paper’s credibility. The format makes it easier for your target readers to channel their attention on your ideas as against any other format that might cause distractions as they try to discern unfamiliar texts and other inconveniences. When your readers flow freely in reading your paper, you should be expecting higher scores as it tells them that you know what you are supposed to do. APA format also minimizes chances of plagiarized content being found in your work as all used materials and resources are properly credited.

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