The American Psychological Association (APA) citation format

The American Psychological Association (APA) citation format is a widely used format for essays, research papers and theses, especially those relating to the social sciences. The APA citation format was originally introduced as a seven page guideline and first appeared in the journal "Psychological Bulletin," in 1929.
Writing an essay in the APA style helps both the writer and the reader. It allows the writer to better organize the essay and should the writer later wish to publish it in a psychological journal the citation format must conform to the APA style. This format also helps the reader to review the essay better, locate references easily and do further research if required. However, some writers consider this format to be less than optimal.
An essay or research paper under the APA referencing has the following components. There is a title page which is usually followed by an abstract, the neccessity of which is usually left to the discretion of the professor. Next is the body of your paper and finally the reference list.
The abstract (if required) is simply a summary or the "gist" of the whole paper. It gives the reader an idea of what the complete essay contains and generally provides the basis for the readers decision on whether or not to read the whole essay. The abstract immediately follows the title page and normally does not exceed 120 words.
An APA paper may have an introduction. The purpose of the introduction is to familiarize the reader with what the essay will be dealing with in detail. Typically, an introduction is written under the assumption that the reader is new to the subject.
The title page of an essay under the APA format must meet the following requirements.The paper's title, the name of the author and the institute of affiliation should appear centered on the upper half of the page. Another element of the title page are the header and the running head. The header is an abbreviation of the title and is no longer that one or two words. The running head should be within 50 characters.
In addition to the above there are a few other requirements that are basic to the APA style. For one, it is required that an essay is typed on paper that is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. It is also required that the all-around margin be 1 inch and that the line spacing should be double. Every page of the essay should have a header and a page number and the two should appear in the right hand corner.
The parenthetical documentation method for in-text citation when using the language or idea of someone else must also be mentioned. The way in-text citation is done in APA differs a little if the work cited is by one or more authors or is from a secondary source or direct quote. In APA the parenthetical documentation should include the last name of the author and the year of publication unless the name of the author forms a part of the essay text, in which case the year of publication is alone mentioned in parentheses.
As per the APA citation format the reference page should be a separate page with the works cited arranged in alphabetical order. The references should be double spaced with no spaces between and if a single reference runs beyond one line, all subsequent lines should be indented.
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