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Citation Guidelines: APA Basics

A short guide to citing research in MLA, APA, and Turabian formats.

Basic Settings

When starting to typing a paper in APA style, use the following page setup:

  • 8-1/2" x 11" paper
  • 1" margins
  • 12 pt. Times New Roman font
  • Double-spaced

Reference Page

Your reference list must contain every work that is cited in your paper. In some cases such as a literature review, your professor may require you to list all works you consulted.

The list should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author.

Indent the second line of each reference by 5 spaces. This is called a hanging indent.

To create a hanging indent in Word, highlight the references and then go to Format:Paragraph:Indentation:Special: Choose Hanging.

Page Header

Your paper should have a page header or running header as well as page numbers on each page. The title of your paper will be at the top of the page, flush left and the page number will be top of the page, flush right.

In Word, Go to Insert: Page Numbers.

  • Chose Position = Top of Page Header
  • Alignment = Right
  • Show Number on First Page.

Then go to View: Header/Footer. Click in the header space to add your title, all in capital letters.


Major Elements

A general paper in APA style will typically have the following sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References

A paper presenting your research will have:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References

See Chapter 2 of the APA Manual

NOTE: Your professor may require slightly different requirements. Their instructions should always supersede general style guidelines.