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10 Basic Rules Of Writing A Research Paper In The APA Style


One of the most used format when writing a research paper is the American Psychological Association (APA) style. This is especially prevalent in the Science and Engineering fields. Over the years, changes have been made on the style in order to adapt to ever evolving needs of the electronic era. So, if you are getting ready to write any paper that requires being formatted in the APA style, it would do you a lot of good to know some of the basic rules. This way, you don’t spend more time than necessary in the formatting and submission of your paper. Listed below are 10 of such rules. They are:

  • Tenses: In writing your research paper in the APA style, it is required that you make use of the present tense for personal comments and other general aspect of the paper. When introducing work cited sources, it is required that you use the past or present perfect tenses.
  • Spacing: When spacing a paper done in APA style, the requirement is double spacing for the body of your work, references, notes and quotations.
  • Margins: The normal margin setting for a research paper in APA style is 1” for all sides of each given page.
  • In-text Citations: For those direct and indirect quotations in the body of your work, you should make use of parenthetical citations so that your work does not look like it was plagiarized. The same thing applies to ideas you borrowed from one or more sources in the course of your research.
  • Reference Page: A necessity while writing your research paper since you need to list out your parenthetical citations.
  • Include an Abstract: This is another necessity in writing your paper. Usually 80 to 100 words, this page summarizes the content of your paper.
  • Page Numbering: This is done on the upper right hand side of your paper.
  • Invert Authors’ Names: This means that the names of the authors cited in the references should be typed with the last name first and the middle and first names typed in initials.
  • Indentation: When there is a direct quotation of 40 words and above in your research paper, it is should be indented five spaces from the left hand side margin. Should it exceed one paragraph, the first line of the subsequent paragraphs should be indented five more spaces which is a total of 10 spaces for the subsequent paragraphs. Avoid the use of quotation marks.
  • Stay away from Plagiarism: When you make use of other people’s work or ideas without properly acknowledging such, it is plagiarism. Ensure that all sources of information and ideas are appropriately cited.

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