APA stands for American Psychological Association. The APA style guide is designed to help writers of school and professional papers to create crisp, attractive results while giving credit to sources and maintaining a standard appearance for academic writing. APA can seem a little confusing at first because it is designed to provide structure for creating references for many different kinds of sources and to be used by academic writers and by students.
Headers are made up of information that appears on every page of your paper. APA style basics, found on the Write Direction website, describes a running header as a brief identification of your paper that appears with the page number. It might read something like: Joe Student, APA Basics, pg 1. It is located 1/2 inch from the top of the page and is lined up with the right margin. The running head description is aligned left, one line below the page header and should look like this: Running head: APA BASICS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL. The R in Running head is capitalized, but the H in head is not. The brief version of the title is typed in all capital letters.
The Cover Sheet
The cover sheet is page 1 of your paper, and should start with the page header and running header. Next, type the full version of the title, centered one-third of the way down the page, capitalizing all of the important words. For example: APA Basics for the Middle School Student, and an Easy Guide for Everyone. Under that, center and type your name, and on a third centered line below your name, type the name of your school or organization. Space down three spaces, align your typing with the margin and type the abstract, which is a brief description of your topic.
The body is the main text of your paper. The APA tutorial on the APA website says use a serif style such as Times New Roman, double space, and use a size 12 point size. Indent paragraphs five spaces. The running header and page number will appear at the top of every page. Write the paper in your own words, but tell the reader where you got your information. The reference to the APA tutorial is an example of an internal citation, which is a way of saying that the information came from a particular place. Put direct quotations inside quotation marks, and cite them. Also cite, or tell where you found, amounts, statistics, graphs, pictures, specific information such as locations or dates.
The Reference Page
The reference page shows the long version of exactly where you got your information. It is arranged in alphabetical order, by the first letter in each citation listed. Single space each entry, but double space between them. The citations are typed in forced indent or hanging indent style. To create this, type the first line of the citation aligned with the left margin. The next lines of the reference citation are indented five spaces. This focuses the reader's eye on the most important reference information first. Each citation should include the author's name, the title of the article, the name of the book or magazine in which it was published, the publisher's name, and date of publication.