How to Craft a Research Paper in APA Format Properly
The American Psychological Association has established key standards for writing communication involving the organization of content, citation of references, writing style, and the proper way to prepare a piece of writing for publication in specific disciplines. APA format is primarily used for the natural and social sciences and ensures that everyone who writes within these disciplines use the same format for publication, thus making it easier on editors as well as colleagues who read the research paper.
Here’s how to craft a research paper in APA format properly:
General APA Format:
In general, you should use standard 8.5” x 11” with 1” margins all the way around. Double space your work and be sure to use a font that is easy to read. You can’t go wrong with 12-point, Times New Roman. Taking a look at other published works and you’ll find that this font is widely used in APA.
There are four major sections to any APA-style research paper: The title page, the Abstract, the Main Body and the References. Each will have a specific formatting so it’s best to consult an APA guide directly for accuracy.
APA Stylistics – The Basics:
When you write your research methods or when you refer to yourself or any contributors, you can use the first person point of view. Throughout the rest of the research paper you should foreground your research and put yourself and other researchers in the background. When you foreground your research be sure to stick with the active voice.
Your language should be clear and concise throughout (as it should be in all types of writing). Don’t misrepresent the details of your research or confuse others with unnecessary complex sentences and wordiness. Pay attention to giving specific descriptions and explanations and always provide the adequate information so your colleagues could follow your work exactly.
APA Stylistics – Things to Avoid:
Avoid biased language at all costs. This means that when you need to refer to a group of people, such as “disabled” you should be careful not to use terms such as “normal” to describe an alternative group. This example also extends to preferred language in race and ethnicity as well as sexuality.
Along the same lines, it’s always a good idea to be very clear about the sex identify of your subjects. Only use gendered pronouns when you absolutely need to identify but not when there is no apparent difference. Practice rephrasing the sentence so that you avoid “he”, “she”, “his” or “her”. The best approach is to use plural nouns or pronouns such as “they” or “their”.