An APA research paper is one that follows APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines for formatting and style. APA style is the standard for research papers in the social sciences. APA research paper examples can be found online via Web search. Upon viewing an APA research paper example, the student will note many of the following formatting guidelines in practice.
APA research papers are typed and double spaced on standard-sized paper. Margins must be one inch on each side. Times New Roman ten or twelve point is the standard font the student will find in any APA research paper example. APA research papers begin with a title page which includes the title of the paper, the author's name, and the university or other institution with which the author is affiliated with.
Each page of an APA research paper must include a page header. The page header is written at the top of the page on the right-hand side. It includes the first three words of the paper's title as well as the page number. The page header is also identified on the title page by the words "running head." The student can consult APA research paper examples online or in the APA Publication manual to see how the running head and page header look.
The second page of an APA research paper is the Abstract. An abstract is a one page summary of the entire paper, designed to help other researchers determine whether the topic of this paper is relevant to their own studies. Proper APA research paper example guidelines will mention the importance of including the abstract to stay consistent with APA style.
APA style also calls for proper citation of all sources. A reference list will appear at the end of the paper listing every source that is cited within the text of the paper. While the first line of each item on the reference list is left-justified on the page, all following lines in the same reference are indented one half inch. Again, viewing APA research examples will elucidate this guideline if the student needs further explanation.
There are numerous other aspects of APA style the student must learn. Having access to an APA research paper example or two will be a helpful illustration during the process of learning to use APA style.