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APA Referencing Guide

If you are required to write an APA style assignment but never did it before, read our guide and follow our instructions carefully. This is an official format created by the American Psychological Association that is mostly used for research and scientific papers, particularly in mathematics, psychology, business, economics, sociology, criminal justice, and nursing. If you wonder how to write an APA research paper, we will provide you with the basic rules of this formatting style in this article.

When you start your work, the APA referencing formatted paper may seem very confusing, stressful, and daunting. But don’t try to make everything in the same moment. Plan your time and split your assignments into parts. Write each section according to the requirements and then merge them into one document. Remember that you need to learn all standards very attentively to understand them well. It’s better to print them out and keep them before your eyes so that you won’t miss anything.

General Rules

Here are some standard rules for this format to remember:

  • Paper size — 8.5×11 inches;
  • Margins — 1 inch on all sides;
  • Font — 12-point, Times New Roman (but you may use other similar fonts);
  • The title, the author’s name, the school — double-spaced and placed in the center of the page;
  • All pages should have a number in the top right;
  • All pages should have a header set on the top left.


Your work structure could be varied depending on what kind of work you are writing. For example, a case study or a research paper would be different from a lab report. But in general, your work should have the following sections.

  • Title page

Keep in mind that this page makes an impression on readers. That’s why you have to make it well-formatted with APA referencing. This page must include these parts:

  • A heading of your work. Make it understandable, but don’t exceed 12 words.
  • The name of the author. Write your full name. Please don’t use any abbreviations here.
  • The name of your school, college, or university. If you are not affiliated with any academic institution, the APA format recommends listing your state and city.
  • A running head. It has to be written on all pages of your paper. Keep in your memory that this element shouldn’t be longer than 50 characters.
  • Page number. It should be indicated on all pages of your work.
  • Abstract

This is a summary of your assignment with a length of 150-250 words. The primary goal of this part is to introduce your paper to readers and enable them to realise what your work is about. Remember that people decide whether they want to read the whole paper after reading the abstract. You should spend enough time to create a successful second page of your work with keywords added.

The keywords are helpful when people search for your work in a database. You should think about every word before including it in your list. We recommend putting yourself in your readers’ position and brainstorming which words they would use to find your paper.

APA Referencing: the Basics from Victoria University Library on Vimeo.

  • Introduction

This section should present your work’s background depending on what kind of paper you’re writing.

  • Main part

This section’s structure can be varied depending on what kind of work you create. For example, an APA referencing for the research paper will have such parts as methods and materials, results and discussion, charts and graphs. Before getting started with your assignment, check the requirements for your work structure.

  • References

You have to write a list of all the references used while writing your work. Begin this part on a new page by typing the word “References” in the top center. Here are some requirements for this section:

  • Double-space all your references;
  • Write your list in alphabetical order;
  • Titles of journals, books, newspapers, and magazines should be written in italics;
  • In the titles of books and journals, essential words should be capitalised, but if you want to mention an article, only the first letter has to be capitalised.

Examples of Punctuation for Titles in APA Style

Discover some examples of correct punctuation for various titles using APA format.

Rules to apply to short titles are the next:

  • Use quotation marks to emphasise a poem’s title.

Example: “She Walks in Beauty.”

  • You need to use quotation marks for the title of a commercial, song, or movie.

Example: “One wish,” “Fading Like a Flower.”

  • If you are going to write a title of a blog or unpublished paper, it also should be written with quotation marks.

Example: “Meet My Great Car.”

  • If you are required to write an essay in APA style or even in Chicago referencing style, you have to use quotation marks with titles for short works.

Example: “The Paradox of Behavior Change.”

Rules for long titles are the following:

  • Titles of novels and long poems should be italicized.

Example: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • You have to use italics for titles of magazines, encyclopedias, and newspapers.

Example: Medical Encyclopedia, The Times.

  • If you need to cite the title of a play, TV series, or movie, it has to be also italicized.

Example: King Lear is a great play by Shakespeare.

  • If you’re using titles of art pieces, these elements have to be italicized.

Example: Irises is one of the paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

Rules of capitalising:

  • According to the APA style, the first word of the title must be capitalised.

Example: “Night walking” by Matthew Beaumont brings you to ’s life.

  • APA format does not require capitalising articles and prepositions in the title.

Example: “The Sea and Civilisation” is a great history book written by Lincoln Paine.

  • You need to capitalise the names of people, historical places, and events in titles.

Example: Robert Tombs provided us with a history of in his book “The English and Their History.”

We hope after reading this article, you clearly understand all the APA referencing style. We have gathered essential rules for writing a successful assignment with us in the APA style, including structure, punctuation, and general rules. If you still need help, ask our essay service to do that for you.

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