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Academic Writing in APA Style

American Psychological Association (APA) has a recommended style guide that is used for writing research articles in both social sciences and life sciences. For scientific subjects, the APA style guide proposes using the present perfect or past tense, as it presents facts that have been already proven true. This is mainly implemented in the introduction section.

Some basic facts about APA styling:

  • The whole paper should be double-spaced with one inch of margin on each side.
  • Use of year of publication in case of intext citation of references.
  • Mention the page number at the right-hand side top.
  • A running head is also inserted after the title and on every page at the top left.

In-text citations in APA:

The name of the author has to be mentioned along with the year of publication in brackets. For example: “Smith (1998) stated that ….” If there are multiple types of research supporting a statement then these can be separated by commas. In case of in-text citation of quotation, in addition to the author’s name and year, page number is also mandatory in APA format.

Reference list citations:

  • Book: Zimbardo, P. (1992). Psychology and life (13 ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
  • Computer sources: Patterson, O. (2001). Cultural continuity and collective memory. The Emory Centre for Myth and Ritual in American Life available Online. Available: [2001, October 29].
  • Government Publications: Bush, G. (1989, April 12). Article based on Principles of ethical conduct for government officers and employees Exec. Order No. 12674. Pt. 1. Available: [November 18, 1997].
  • Journal article: Smith, A. (1975). Driver age and crash involvement. American Journal of Public Health. 9. 326-327.

Abstract section:

A standard abstract length is usually 150-250 words in APA format, which is unstructured in most cases.


Level 1 headings should be centered, bolded, and in title case. If there are level 2 headings, they should be bolded and left flushed and in the title case as well.

This blog will give you an annotated list of Do’s and don’ts of APA styling.

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