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APA Basics: APA 7th Edition Formatting Guidelines

This guide gives a quick run-down of the basic rules of using APA formatting. Learn how to: write an abstract; format headings; format in-text citations; and construct your References page.

Basics Rules of 7th Edition APA Style for Student Papers

ALERT!

APA 7th Edition Transition Period 

The APA released its new Style Guide in October of 2018. 

Monroe College has now transitioned to using 7th Edition Style Guidelines for all student papers.

If your instructor's directions conflict with any APA rules, follow the instructor's directions.

You may find some basic (older), 6th-edition guidelines here.

You can view basic 7th-edition guidelines and samples for each section of an APA Student Paper by clicking the links below:

7th Edition Title Page 
7th Edition Abstract & Keywords
7th Edition Body Text and Heading Levels
7th Edition References Page

Take a Quiz to Test Your APA 7 Skills

Ready to test your knowledge of the new APA 7 standards? Go ahead and take a QUIZ
You can email the results to your professor at the end.

Download the APA 7 Template & Student Paper Setup Guide

Download the Pre-formatted APA 7 Paper Template

Download this pre-formatted template and type your paper into it. This way your paper will automatically appear in the correct font, with pre-formatted page numbers, sections, etc. 

 


Download the APA's 7th Edition Student Paper Setup Guide

Purdue OWL 7th Edition Changes Guide

Great News! The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) has created a handy guide to
Changes in the 7th edition of the APA Style Manual

We've done our best to lay out the basic standards for the two different editions here, but you can go to the OWL for a more comprehensive breakdown of the new APA standards.

APA 7th Edition Title Page

Please note:
In 7th edition format, student papers do not include a running head unless requested by the instructor or institution.  

About the Font 

As noted in the APA Style Blog:
In the 7th edition, a variety of fonts are permitted. 

Monroe College uses Times New Roman size 12 font by default. 
Font options include the following: 

  • sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode
  • serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern
  • We recommend these fonts because they are legible and widely available and because they include special characters such as math symbols and Greek letters.

Sample APA 7th Edition Title Page

Sample APA 7th ed. Title Page

Adapted from the APA Style Blog

APA 7th Edition Abstract

7th Edition Abstract Format & Content

NOTE:

In APA 7th edition, abstracts and keywords are not typically required for student papers.

Please consult your instructor to determine whether to include an abstract and/or keywords.

Adapted from the APA Style Blog (click for downloadable PDF)

Please consult your instructor to determine whether to include an abstract and/or keywords.

 

ABSTRACT:

The abstract needs to provide a brief but comprehensive summary of the contents of your paper. It provides an overview of the paper and helps readers decide whether to read the full text.

Limit your abstract to 250 words.

Abstract Content

The abstract addresses the following (usually 1–2 sentences per topic):

- key aspects of the literature review
- problem under investigation or research question(s)
- clearly stated hypothesis or hypotheses
- methods used (including brief descriptions of the study design, sample, and sample size)
- study results
- implications (i.e., why this study is important, applications of the results or findings)

Abstract Format  

Your abstract should appear in the same font as the rest of your paper (see Recommended Fonts in Section 1 above).

- 1-in. margins on all sides

- placement: second page of the paper

- section label: “Abstract” ° centered and in bold ° written on the first line of the page

- Text begins one line below the section label

- not indented 

- written as a single paragraph

- double-spaced

APA 7th Edition Keywords Guide

Keywords need to be descriptive and capture the most important aspects of your paper.

- Include three to five words, phrases, or acronyms as keywords.

Keywords address essential paper elements, such as the following:

- research topic

- population

- method

- application of results or findings

- placement: second page of paper

- written one line below the abstract

- label: Keywords ° indented (like a regular paragraph)

- italic (but not bold)

- text: not italic or bold 

- each keyword separated by a comma and a space

- no ending punctuation after the final keyword

- listed in any order (not necessarily alphabetical)

- if the keywords run onto a second line, double-space the two lines and do not indent the second line

7th Edition APA BodyText / Headings Formatting

Seventh Edition (2.27)

Important 7th Edition Changes for Student Papers

A handful of additional formatting changes are recommended in the seventh edition. These include the following:

  •  Running heads are no longer required for student papers.
    • Professional papers include a running head on every page, including the title page. However, the “Running head:” label used in the sixth edition is no longer used.
    • The running head is written in all capital letters. The running head should either be identical to the paper’s title, or a shortened form of the title that conveys the same idea. However, running heads should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation).
  • The section labels for abstracts and reference lists follow the conventions for level one headings. This means they are:
    • bolded
    • centered
    • written in title case
  • Font guidelines are now somewhat looser in order to account for differences in computer specifications and users’ accessibility needs.
    • So long as the same font is used throughout the text of the paper, a variety of fonts are acceptable.

APA Headings

Level

Format

1

Centered, Boldface, Title Case Heading

     Text starts a new paragraph.

2

Flush left, Boldface, Title Case Heading

     Text starts a new paragraph.

3

Flush Left, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading

     Text starts a new paragraph.

4

     Indented, Boldface Title Case Heading Ending With a Period. Paragraph text continues on the same line as the same paragraph.

5

     Indented, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading Ending With a Period. Paragraph text continues on the same line as the same paragraph.

APA 7th Edition References Page

NOTE: In APA 7th edition, the Running head is no longer required for student papers.

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

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

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

  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order.

Whichever font you choose, the selected font should be used consistently throughout the entire paper.
View sample citations for online media in various formats on the APA website.

APA 7th Edition References Page

Section 4.        References Page. 

Page Setup:

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

  • The word References appears centered, in bold at the top of the page.

  • Do NOT underline or use quotation marks.

  • All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay. No extra space between citations.

  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order.

Sample Citations

Citation Key (Use this key as a guide for what goes where in your citation.)
Your citation needs to show the who, when, what, and where of your source material - in that order.

 

undefined

 

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Book or Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy 
whoAuthor, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. when(Year). what Title of article. what Title of  Book or Periodical or name of Website, where volume number (issue number), pages. where: http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy
Citation for a YouTube Video

Apsolon, M. (2011, September 9). Real ghost girl caught on video tape [Video]. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGCbxD848   

Citation for a book
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Calfee, R. C. & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. American Psychological Association. 

Citation for a blog post

Campbell, A. F. (2016, September 12). The truth about undocumented immigrants and taxes. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigrants-and-taxes/499604/

Citation for an online journal article

Hurley, J. (2015). History is what bites: Zombies, race, and the limits of biopower in Colson Whitehead's Zone One. Extrapolation, 56(3), 311+.  

Citation for an article with no author credited (Article title moves to beginning of citation.)

That’s show biz. (2019, March 27). Windy City Times, 34(22), 3.

Sample  APA 7th ed. References Page

                                                                                                                    12                      

References

Apsolon, M. (2011, September 9). Real ghost girl caught on video tape [Video]. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGCbxD848   

Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living web. A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, p. 149.  https://www.alistapart.com/articles/writeliving

Calfee, R. C. & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. American Psychological Association.

Campbell, A. F. (2016, September 12). The truth about undocumented immigrants and taxes. The Atlantichttps://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigrants-and-taxes/499604/

Funk, R., & Kolln, M. (1998). Introduction. In E. W. Ludlow (Ed.), Understanding English grammar (pp. 1-2). In The Purdue OWL. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/06/ Allyn and Bacon.

Hurley, J. (2015). History is what bites: zombies, race, and the limits of biopower in Colson Whitehead's Zone One. Extrapolation56(3), 311+

Inada, K. (1990). A Buddhist response to the nature of human rights. Dickinson College. http://blogs.dickinson.edu/buddhistethics/files/2010/04/A-Buddhist-Response-to-the-Nature-of-Human-Rights.pdf 

Parker-Pope, T. (2008, May 6). Psychiatry handbook linked to drug industry. The New York Times. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/psychiatry-handbook-linked-to-drug-industry/

Wooldridge, M.B., & Shapka, J. (2012). Playing with technology: Mother-toddler interaction scores lower during play with electronic toys. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(5), 211-218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2012.05.005

 

 

Excelsior OWL APA Formatting Quiz

Test Your APA 7th ed. Formatting Knowledge!

Take this Quiz from the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab