Study Manual for Students on How to Write a Good APA Format Research Paper

An APA format research paper is written in a different style than most research paper formats in which students are used to.  Although, using the APA format is probably the least used in overall writing, it is important to be familiar with and know the guidelines of APA format, as most scientific journal publications only accept this style.

Here is a useful study manual for students on how to write a good APA research paper that contains key points to remember as well as points on when to directly refer to the APA (American Psychological Association) publication.  

APA Style Adheres to a Specific Typing Structure

  • Papers are typed and printed out using the standard 1” margin on all sides.
  • Typing is double spaced, and the first word of each paragraph is indented 10 spaces.
  • Standard fonts, such as Arial or Times New Roman are only accepted.  The font must be legible and not chosen with the intent to take up space.
  • Only 1 space is used after a period and other sentence-ending punctuation.  Break the habit of using 2 spaces.  Using two spaces is an outdated rule that is not necessary with typing. 

APA Style Writing is Impersonal and Formal

  • Do not write in first person. Instead of writing, “I sampled the….,” write “Samples were…”
  • Never use personal experience.  Don’t be tempted to write a personal story regarding the research.  In creative writing, students are taught to do this. However, in APA style, the writing is formal where the reader is interested in the research performed, the methods used, and the outcome only.
  • Write using past tense in an active voice.
  • Be politically correct at all times.  Keep up with being politically correct with your terms. Offensive language, albeit that may be innocent, is not tolerated. 

APA Style Uses a Specific Structure for Citing References

  • This is the big one!  Sources must be cited properly, and there are different structures depending on the source.  Know these and the differences like the back of your hand, as you will be citing sources all the time in research writing. 

There are always exceptions allowed in specific cases.  Consult the newest edition of the APA Publication Manual or your professor.  New editions come out regularly, and the manual is quite long.  Always, use the current APA Publication as a reference.  Use this study manual on how to write a good APA format research paper as a tool to jog your memory and get you started in writing in APA format.

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