How to Write APA Style Papers: Basic Guidelines for Beginners

If you’re writing an APA paper for the first time, use these guidelines to get a basic, step by step idea on what the exact format is.


  • Line spacing: Always add a double space between title, paragraphs and images or graphs and their respective titles
  • Fonts: Times New Roman 12 for your text and Arial 12 for image titles
  • Headers: A header with the page number should be displayed on the top right of each page, with the title of your paper situated on the top left
  • Margins: Text must be aligned to the left and both left and right margins can be about 1.5cm
  • Headings and subheadings: These should be written in bold and in the same font as your text
  • Pictures and graphs: Each image or graph must start on a new page with its title beneath it


Be sure to take notes of all your references during research. These references should be neatly written and kept beside you so that in-text citations can be made whenever necessary. Always cite your reference, even if your source is being paraphrased instead of quoted.

Page 1: Title page

  • The title of the paper should be central
  • Add your name after a double space
  • Add your class name and subject after another double space
  • An optional author’s note at the bottom of the title page

Page 2: Abstract

Your abstract should be a short paragraph summing up what your paper is about. Write no more than 7 – 10 lines for your abstract.

Page 3: The start of the introduction

The introduction should be topped with the title of your paper again, as it is seen as the first chapter of your paper. An introduction should be as long as you need it to be, but try not to exceed 4 pages.

New page: Method

Write a short introduction when starting your method. Discuss the fact finding methods you are using to write your paper. If applicable, use the following as a guide to divide the method section:

  • Participants in the experiment/s
  • The objects and tools used for the methodology
  • Your course of action for obtaining facts
  • A detailed recording of each method’s results once it is complete

New page: Result

Discuss the results of the methodology as a whole.

New page: Discussion

Write about the effects your results have or will yield and mention how your study has contributed to the subject.

New page: References

List your references in a list format as follows:

  • Last name, 1st initial. 2nd initial
  • Date of publication
  • Title of the published source
  • Page number/s
  • Any other pertinent information

New page: Appendices

Start each appendix on a new page if there is more than one—as if each one was a new chapter.

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