APA Style

Learning Objectives

  • Describe general APA document formatting and guidelines

The APA Style is spelled out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, but the APA also maintains its own website with multiple examples of how to format your paper and cite your sources. If you’re unable to find the answer to your question here, check the APA Manual 7th edition or the APA website.

WAtch It

This video will introduce you to the key components of citing using APA Style.

You can view the transcript for “Introduction to Citation Styles: APA 7th ed.” here (opens in new window).

Appropriate alternative text for this image can be found in the caption.

Figure 1. The APA 7th Edition Publication Manual cover.

Papers constructed according to APA guidelines generally include the following elements:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Body
  • Subsections within the body, with headings
  • Tables and Figures
  • References

In most cases, each of these elements will begin on a separate page, and it is important to note that not all academic papers will include all of these elements.

For specific types of reports, your subsections may need to be named with headings that reflect the type of report you are writing. For example, in reports on experiments or studies, you’ll often need to follow the IMRAD, which stands for Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. In this format, you present your research and discuss your methods for gathering research. Each section of the IMRAD structure can take several paragraphs to develop. Be sure to check with your instructor to determine what the expectations are for your paper.

IMRAD Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. provide research question
    2. explain the significance
    3. review of background or known information on your topic
  2. Methods
    1. describe your methods for gathering information
    2. explain your sources of information, both primary and secondary
  3. Results
    1. describe what you found out from your research.
    2. develop each point thoroughly, as this is the main section of your research paper
  4. Discussion
    1. explain the significance of your findings
    2. describe how they support your thesis
    3. discuss limitations of your research

The APA style demos in this section will provide you with more information regarding APA basic formatting, in-text citations, and the references list.

WatCh It

Watch this video to get a basic feel for what is expected in APA style.

You can view the transcript for “APA Overview Seventh Edition” here (opens in new window).

Try It