Skip to main content

APA Basics: The Four Sections of an APA Paper

APA Basics is a quick run-down of the basic rules of using APA. Included in this guide is information on how to: write an abstract; format headings; cite information in-text; and construct your References page.

About the Running Head

Running Head Format for APA Style Papers

                                                                                                                      Chelsea blog

 

 

By Chelsea Lee

If you've ever been confused by what a running head is or wondered how to format one for an APA Style paper, read on.

- A running head is a short title (50 characters or fewer, including spaces) that appears at the top of every page of your paper.

The running head identifies the pages for the reader in case they get separated, and if you submit your paper for publication, it does this while preserving your anonymity during the review process. In published articles it also identifies the article for the reader at a glance.

Formatting Instructions

The running head (along with the page numbers) appears in the header of every page (the header by nature is situated within the top margin of your paper; all the margins themselves should be set to 1 inch).

- Type it in all capital letters, make sure it is no longer than 50 characters (including spaces), and left justify it. Then add your page numbers, right justified.

- On the first page only, the running head is also preceded by the words Running head and a colon.

On all other pages, just the running head itself and the page number appear, without the words Running head:. Our APA Style FAQ addresses how to set up a different header on the first page, and there are also instructions available on Microsoft’s webpage for Word 2003 and Word 2007 and 2010. If you use other word-processing software, please feel free to share links or instructions in the comments. Finally, you can see examples of the running head format in our APA Style sample papers.

Posted by Chelsea Lee at 12:30:00 PM in How-toPublication processRunning heads

About the Abstract

These suggestions from VerywellMind are helpful.

  • Keep it short. According to the APA style manual, an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words.

  • The abstract should also be written as only one paragraph with no indentation. In order to succinctly describe your entire paper, you will need to determine which elements are the most important. 
  • Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper. Begin with a brief summary of the Introduction, and then continue on with a summary of the MethodResults, and Discussion sections of your paper.

 

 

Section 1.        Title Page

 

Section 2.        Abstract (only if your instructor requires it). See description below:

  • Keep it short. According to the APA style manual, an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words.

  • The abstract should also be written as only one paragraph with no indentation.
  • Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper. Begin with a brief summary of the Introduction, and then continue on with a summary of the MethodResults, and Discussion sections of your paper.

sample abstract page

  •  

 

Section 3.        Body/Text (your actual paper). See description below:

Section 4.        References Page. See description below: 

  • Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay.

  • Title this page References centered at the top of the page.

  • Do NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the word References.

  • All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.