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7 Ingredients Of An Outstanding Term Paper In The APA Format

The American Psychological Association, or APA, format is one of several common paper formats, along with MLA and Chicago. It is typically the standard format for some sciences, social sciences, and some humanities subjects. Whether your teacher has assigned it specifically for an assignment, or you are choosing to use it, it is important to follow its formatting requirements closely. APA formatting controls both the format of the paper itself, as well as its citations.

There are 7 ingredients to an outstanding term paper in APA format

  1. Title page
  2. The title page should include the header (explained below), with “Running head:” preceding the paper title. Then, the full paper title, author’s name, and author’s institutional affiliation should be centered on the page.

  3. Header
  4. APA formatting requires a running header at the top of each page. The header should include the page number flush right, and the paper title in all capital letters flush left. In some cases it may be necessary to shorten your paper title for the header—it should not exceed 50 characters.

  5. Abstract
  6. You may or may not need to include an abstract in your term paper. The only formatting for the abstract is a title “Abstract” centered on the page. You can also include keywords at the end of it.

  7. Sections
  8. If your term paper includes sections, the headings for each level of section should be in a certain format. First order headings are centered and bold; second order headings are left aligned and bold; third order headings are indented and boldface. Using sections can be very helpful in helping to organize your paper well, and make it easier to navigate for readers.

  9. Tables and figures
  10. Formatting for tables and figures can be very specific with APA formatting. For specifics, visit Purdue OWL’s website APA formatting guide.

  11. In text citations
  12. When most people think of APA formatting they think of citations. Particularly for a term paper, you’ll likely have many references, which must be cited in text, as well as in a ‘References’ section, which will be discussed below. The general in text citation format for APA is (Author, Year). For more detailed, see the Purdue OWL’s website.

  13. References section
  14. At the end of your term paper you should include a ‘References’ section which lists all the sources used in alphabetical order. The general format for a journal article is:

    Author, I. (Year). Article title. Journal title: Volume(Number), pp. Retrieved from: website.

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