How to write an essay using APA Format

APA Style
We will start from the beginning and work toward the end of a paper. Along the way we will talk about font size and style, margin size, bullets, and anything else that is within the paper. First will be the title page. A note: throughout this paper I will use APA style.

Title Page
The title page of an APA paper is simple if you have to write one. For our purposes, since we don't know the name o the intended author or the school they attend simply center the title you have given the piece in the center of a blank page. Use the same font and font size that you would use for the rest of the paper.

There are a few acceptable fonts that you can use for an APA paper. Usually you will want a non-true sized font. True size means that every letter takes up exactly the same space as the next. An example of true size is courier new, which is what this sentence is written in. A more accepted non true type face is Times New Roman which is what this sentence is written in. However, the most accepted type face is Arial. As you can see this entire paper is written in Arial. It is the easiest to read and see. As far as size you always need to write in a 12 point font, such as this paper.
All margins for the paper need to be 1" (one inch). This is true of the sides, top and bottom. All indents are either the default "tab" key setting or five spaces. Whichever you prefer.  Make sure that the entire paper is double spaced for ease of reading, as this paper is.
With page numbering use a header. In the header make sure that you are right justified, and then use a small section of the title (such as in the header above) and then five spaces and push the button in the window for sequential numbering (if you do not know how to do this consult the help menu.)

There are five levels of headings within the APA style manual You will most likely only use two different heading types, but occasionally three.

  • The first heading style is centered, in every major word the first letter is capitalized, and it is in the same font and size as the rest of the paper. An example is the heading at the top of the paper.
  • The second most used heading is that with which different sections of the paper are recognized. It is left aligned, capitalized, italicized, and uses the same font size and style as the rest of the paper. A good example is the heading that introduces this section labeled "Heading."
  • The third heading style, that you will very rarely use, is  indented, italicized, lowercase and ends in a period. Following is an example.

            The third heading type.
All of these may be used, but the first two are by far the most common.


In Text Citations
There are really only a very few ways that you will use the in text citation. Following are examples of the three most used types. If you use an odd type of document (such as a taped recording or a television program) you can look those up.

  • The most commonly used type is in parentheses, has the author's last name, a comma, the date of the piece, and then a punctuation mark if needed. It looks like:

             (Anderson, 2002.)

  • With the second type you are mentioning the person's name within the text that you are writing. After that name you put the date in parentheses:

            According to Anderson (2002)…

  • In the third type you are referring to a book. The above examples are for articles in a journal or a magazine. With a book they look exactly the same except they also have the page number from which you got the information.

            (Anderson, 2002, pg. 236)
According to Anderson (2002) "…" (pg 236)
These are the three most common types of in-text cites you will use.

There are as many different ways to write references as there are reference types. APA Format is constantly updating the way you type the references because there is always new media being invented. Following are the basic types,

  • For a magazine or journal:

Anderson, B. J. (2002). Writing in APA style: The wave of the future. The Journal of Writing, 36(2), 333-346.
The name is written full last name capitalized, First initial. (space) Middle Initial. (date). Title of the article - lower case. Title of the Journal - italicized Upper and lower case, Volume(issue) both italicized, page range not italicized.

  • For a book:

Anderson, B. J. (2002). The APA Style Manual. New York: American Psychological Association.
Name. (date). Title of the Book in Upper and Lower Case. Place of Publication: Publisher.

These are the two main types that you will use. For all other types of reference just type that into your search engine. You will get plenty of responses.