Pages in APA Style: How to Format Your Research Paper Correctly …

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APA Essay Checklist for Students

The American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the largest scientific and professional associations in the United States,
and it has created a set of citation rules and formatting guidelines for scholarly writing to ensure a professional standard of academic integrity.

To create an essay that follows APA style, you need to focus on two things:

  • In-text citations, which show where you found your sources that you are quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing.
  • Formatting visual elements, (such as titles, headings, page numbers, graphs, and charts, etc.), which organizes the essay for readability.

Here’s an APA checklist for your formatted essay, with embedded links to the AWC’s resources:

  • Create a Title Page
  • Format Page Numbers and Headers
  • Include Essay Title Before Body Paragraphs
  • Incorporate In-Text Citations for
    • Quotes
    • Summaries
    • Paraphrased Material
  • Create References page (which includes all in-text citation material)
  • Compare Essay with Formatted Sample Essay
  • Proofread Your Essay

Additional Help

For more help with APA style and formatting, here are some additional resources:

  • APA Template
    This is a template that you can edit to help you format your paper properly according to Ashford’s APA standards.
  • In-Text Citation Guide
    This webpage goes over how to do citations within the body of your paper or assignment.
  • An Overview of APA Key Elements
    This webpage is a checklist of all of the key elements of APA 6th ed. style that are required for student papers at Ashford University.
  • Reference List Entry Models
    This guide contains examples of references in APA style by type.
  • APA Style Aid
    The APA Style Aid offers examples of in-text citations, reference page entries, and block quoting.
  • Purdue OWL
    A great resource for general help about APA formatting




How to Write an Introduction & Conclusion for an APA Style Paper

By Anne Pyburn Craig ; Updated June 25, 2018

How to Write an Introduction & Conclusion for an APA Style Paper

Determining what kind of writing style to use may be confusing with acronyms like MLA, AP and APA. Which one should you use? If you are writing a paper in the social sciences, the writing style developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) is the most accepted option. APA style puts an strong emphasis on being concise and clear and discourages overly-poetic language and metaphor. It is intended to give professional colleagues a common format within which to communicate ideas and findings. Writing an engaging introduction and an elegant conclusion are important parts of the process.

Format Your Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of the main body of your paper. If your instructor requires you to write an abstract, your paper will begin on the page after the abstract; otherwise, begin on the page following the title page. Use a serif typeface, such as Times New Roman, and set your word processing program to double space the lines. Center your title on the page; don’t use boldface type or underlining with the title. On the next line, indent an inch using the tab key and begin your introduction paragraph.

Begin Your Introduction

A good introduction makes an intriguing assertion that your paper will then address. Introduce your topic briefly. For example, you could write an opening introduction that reads like this:

Psychologists have recently found previously-undiscovered effects of classical music on the brain of a child under three. Less attention has been paid to the direct connections to language development.

Referencing Study Results

When referencing a study’s results in your writing, give a quick summary of relevant background in APA style formatting. Some examples relating to the classical music effect on children introduction might be:

“Smith (1978) studied toddlers raised backstage at rock concerts and concluded that their language development was accelerated six months beyond that of his control group. “

“Jones (1997) studied toddlers in households where music was not allowed and found that their language development was significantly delayed. This suggests a positive correlation between exposure to music and early language learning.”

Your Thesis Statement

In one or two sentences of your introduction, state your thesis: “Comparing the studies of Smith and Jones results in an attempt to isolate the connection between music and language development in the early years and suggests related questions in need of further study.” Your thesis encapsulates your entire paper into a single sentence; the ideas you summarize in the earlier part of your introduction should flow logically to this statement of the purpose of your work.

Your Conclusion

The conclusion of an APA paper is the final paragraph where you restate your thesis and tie together supporting ideas you have referenced, spelled out and argued for in earlier paragraphs. Don’t just restate the information. Instead put it into logical order in the body of your paper like a series of steps the reader can climb, illustrating the connections between each piece that reinforce your thesis. End with a suggestion to your reader that encourages further study or action.


  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: APA Sample Paper
  • University of North Alabama: Center for Writing Excellence — Introduction to APA Style
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Conclusions

About the Author

Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.

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  • Paragraph Writing Skills for Beginners
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  • How to Write Essays for Beginners
  • How to End an Informative Paper
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