APA Citations: Format Your Paper

Guidelines and examples for citing research sources using APA format. Also includes information on citation generators.

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Title Page

The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. Include the page header (running head) flush left with the page number flush right at the top of the page. Note: The running head should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces) in length.

Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.

Beneath the title, type the author's name: first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (Ph.D.).

Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation, which should indicate the location where the author(s) conducted the research.


Sample Title Page


Running head: WHAT IS GOOD WRITING?                                                             1




 What Is Good Writing?

John K. Smith

Columbus State Community College


















Sample Reference List

WHAT IS GOOD WRITING?                                                                                    6                                                                                      


Boyce, C. A. & Cain, V. S. (2007). Disentangling health disparities through national surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 97(1),10. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.103960
Dittman, M. J. (2007). Masterpieces of beat literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Gilman, S. L., King, H., Porter, R., Rousseau, G.S., Showalter, E., Grimes, K., . . . West, D. (1993). Hysteria beyond Freud. Berkeley: University of California Press.
La Farge, J. (1890). Girl in grass dress [Painting]. In N. J. Roberts, (Ed.), The American collections: Columbus Museum of Art (1988, p. 26). Columbus, OH: Columbus Museum of Art.
Miller, B. (2002). Existence. In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existence
Munro, A. (2008). Dimension. In S. King (Ed.), The best American short stories 2007. (pp. 52-63). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
National Institutes of Health, Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General. (1986). The health consequences to using smokeless tobacco: A report of the advisory committee to the surgeon general (NIH Publication No. 86-2874). Washington, D.C.: Author.
Rosenberg, J. (2009). Polygynous marriage linked to higher child mortality. International Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health 35(2), 56-57. Retrieved from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Polygynous_marriage_linked_to_higher_child_mortality.-a0205052144
Rubenstein, S. L. (2012). On the importance of visions among the Amazonian Shuar. Current Anthropology, 53(1), 39-79.

General Guidelines


  • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. 
  • Double-space between all text lines of your paper. Also, double space after every line in the title, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and figure captions.
  • The preferred typeface for APA publications is Times New Roman; font size should be 12 pt.
  • Insert one space after commas, colons, and semicolons. Also insert one space after periods that separate parts of a reference citation and after the periods of the initials in personal names (i.e. J. R. Smith). Do not insert a space after internal periods in abbreviations (e.g., a.m., i.e., U.S.).
  • Insert two spaces after punctuation at the end of a sentence.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph and the first line of every footnote. Use the TAB key on the keyboard which should be set at 5-7 spaces or one half-inch from the left margin. The default settings in most word-processing programs are acceptable.
  • Arrange the pages of the paper as follows:
    • Title page (should be page number 1)
    • Abstract (start on separate page, number 2)
    • Text (start on separate page, number 3)
    • References (start on separate page)
    • Tables, Figures, Appendices in that order, each on a separate page.
  • After your pages are in correct order, number them consecutively, beginning with the title page.
  • Identify each page with a running head along with a page number. The running head should be no longer than 50 characters (including spaces).
    • Please note that on the title page, your page header/running head should look like this:
      • Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
    • Pages after the title page should have a running head that looks like this:

Guidelines for Reference List

The reference list provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

It should appear at the end of your paper on a separate page. Label this page References centered at the top of the page (do NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

Basic Rules

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • Present the journal title in full.
  • Maintain the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its title.
    • For example: ReCALL not RECALL or Knowledge Management Research & Practice not Knowledge Management Research and Practice. 
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.
  • Please note: If you have a source that is not included in the APA Publication Manual, 6th ed., APA suggests that you find the example that is most similar to your source and use that format.
    • (From Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style)

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