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How to Write a Research Paper in APA Format

It takes processes to write an academic research paper successfully. Therefore, before the writing process, you must always read and understand the requirements, especially when it comes to formatting your paper. For instance, when the guidelines state that you submit an apa research paper, what next? How do you ensure you follow APA guidelines and format your paper appropriately? Keep reading this guide to have an in-depth understanding of APA first person and some of the approaches you can use for apa research paper citation.

What is APA style writing?

Developed by the American Psychological Association, APA is one of the academic writing styles applied in fields such as business, anthropology, and psychology.

The APA formatting style was created to achieve consistent style guidelines for scientific papers to make it easy for readers to read and comprehend the context of the publication. The APA formatting guidelines are available in different editions, the latest being the 7th edition.

You can use APA guidelines in lab reports, essays, research papers, or any other academic task with APA-style requirements in courses around education, engineering, and social sciences.

The APA sections of a research paper

Like any other academic paper, an apa formatted paper should have the following parts of a research paper APA

  1. Title page

The very first section of an apa research paper is the title page, following the apa formatting guidelines. Besides, the title should be captivating, helping the reader to have a clue of what the paper is all about.

  1. Abstract

Next is the abstract, which should have a header. The first line must have the word Abstract centered (do not add quotation marks, do not bold, do not italicize, and do not underline)

In the next line, write a clear summary of the main points of the research. ( The aim of an abstract is to summarize the details of your research paper, i.e., the topic, questions, methods, data analysis, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Note: the abstract should be between 150 & 120 words in one paragraph and double-spacing option.

  1. Main paper

The main paper will have four sub-sections, as described below:

  • APA paper introduction – this should include one or two paragraphs describing the issue you need to address in the research paper.
  • Thesis statement – it highlights the central focus of your whole paper in a simple sentence.
  • The body section is made up of different paragraphs, with each paragraph having a topic sentence to describe a valid point supported with evidence. Besides, the contexts of all paragraphs should align with the thesis statement.
  • The conclusion in APA is a summary of your paper’s context. You simply highlight your thesis statement and the points you’ve described in your research paper.
  1. Paper Format

The appropriate apa paper format includes the following elements:

  • Font of 12 with 1-inch margins
  • Double-spacing option
  • Underlined thesis statement
  • Underlined topic sentence
  • Paper length should not include reference and title pages
  • Include headings appropriately
  • Turnitin report should not be less than 15% and should not exceed 25%
  • Include in-text citations
  1. Reference and citations

In APA citation and references, you need to cite authors or people whose research, ideas, theories, or quotes have contributed to your work.

For in-text citations, use the author-date citation style, highlighting the surname of the author and publication year.

Tips to help you with APA formatting

When tasked to use apa style in your paper, the following tips will always come in handy:

Get APA format samples

You will find some professional apa formatted papers either in the libraries or online sources. Reviewing such samples will give you a clue about what you intend to do in your paper when you feel stuck. 

Create a research outline template APA

If you aren’t quite sure of the appropriate apa style, you might need to consider creating a template first to avoid making mistakes in the final draft. An apa template will help you remember key details of the formatting style.


Are you in the process of writing your research paper using apa style, and you feel stuck? Well, the process is quite simple, especially when you have this guide by your side.

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