CALL US: 1-888-369-5595
Academic Citation Guide: APA Format for Research Paper and for Term Paper

You've written essays and other types of academic writing projects before. When a professor requires writing a research paper in APA format, however, you're faced with a huge challenge. The research paper is more complex than a simple essay. And what is APA, anyway?

Don't worry! We're here to give you the instructions you need to answer one of the trickiest questions: "how do you write a research paper in APA format?"

First of all, let's talk about the format itself. APA stands for American Psychological Association. It's the standardized format for providing references in research projects. It's usually implemented in papers from social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, history, political science, linguistics, and more. The MLA citation style, on the other hand, is mostly used for citing papers within the liberal arts and humanities.

The best way to understand how APA citations look like is to look at an example. We'll take An acculturation scale for Mexican American normal and clinical populations as our example. When you access the article, it gives you a suggestion for citation that looks like this:

To someone who's writing an APA style term paper for the first time, that doesn't make much sense. To your professor and someone else who's used to reading research projects, that citation means a lot. That's exactly why you need this guide.

First Step to Mastering the APA format for term paper: Understanding the Basics

The APA format is not solely focused on the citations. It also gives you basic formatting recommendations for the structure of your paper. Here are the main things to keep in mind:

In-Text Citations for a Paper Written in APA Format

When writing a research paper in APA format, you'll need to provide in-text citations. This means that whenever you're paraphrasing or quoting a book, journal, article, or any other source, you'll make a clear reference to it.

The in-text citations are a shortened version of the complete citation. That's because you don't want to disrupt the reader's focus. If they are interested in the full citation, they will find it in the reference list.

The good news is that once you're aware of the APA in-text citation format, you'll easily get used to it. This is the rule to follow:

Simple, right? This is how the in-text citation for the above-mentioned publication would look like:

(Cuellar, Harris, & Jasso, 1980)

As you noticed, we didn't include the complete names of the authors. The surnames are enough. If there are six and more authors who worked on the study you reference, use only the name of the first author, followed by et al. Example:

(Cuellar et al., 1980)

The Reference List in APA Format: Basic Tips to Follow

In-text citations are not enough when you're formatting a research paper. In APA citation style, the bibliography is called a Reference List. Each source you mentioned in in-text citations must appear here. There are strict standards to follow regarding this part of your paper:

  1. Place the label 'References' centered at the top of the page.
  2. You'll list the entries in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
  3. You'll first provide the last name of the author, followed by initials.
  4. You'll include the full title of the journal.
  5. APA imposes a rule on capitalization: you should capitalize all major words in the title of a journal you're referencing. If you're referencing articles, books, chapter, or web pages, you'll capitalize only the first letter of the first word, the first word following a dash or a colon, and proper nouns.
  6. You'll style the titles of longer works with Italic.

Learn the Rules; You'll Need Them!

As most other students, you're probably frustrated by the strict guidelines of the APA format. However, you have to keep in mind that proper citations are necessary for research papers and all other important academic projects. If you intend to go to graduate school, you'll definitely need to master the APA citation style.

If you're having troubles to format your paper, you can always rely on an online editing service. A professional editor will help you achieve perfection in formatting and referencing. You'll not only have your paper ready by the deadline, but you'll also learn how to implement the APA guidelines in your content.

Our Services