Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers

Suppose you are writing a research paper, and somebody not from your field is reading that. How do you think they’ll know that the information presented in the paper is justified and authentic? Or suppose you are submitting a research paper for your final semester, and you make some strong claims there. Why do you think that your evaluator will give enough importance to them?

In both cases, ‘referencing’ will be the reason. When you have properly referenced your research paper help, it shows your hard work, proves the authenticity and justifies every claim or assertion presented in the paper. It creates an impression that you have reached your conclusion only after gaining proper insight into the subject.

This is why your professor keeps stressing about you referencing your assignments. If you are just starting your college or university, know that referencing is going to be a part of your life now. And for that, it is crucial that you understand every bit of it minutely. There are several referencing styles, and APA, Harvard, MLA, and Chicago are the most common among them.

Let’s start with some general ideas on APA referencing.

Strategic Guidance to APA Referencing

The American Psychological Association (APA) has established a widely adopted style for the social sciences, such as psychology and education. This style outlines the formatting guidelines used for academic and professional publications. It is essential for both students and professionals to master the APA writing style.

If you’re new to writing papers in APA format, you can follow this step-by-step guide to properly format your paper and create the necessary sections. This guide is designed to be easy to follow and helpful for beginners. Follow these 10 strategies for error-free APA referencing.


When writing an APA paper, it is important to follow specific guidelines for formatting. Some of the key requirements include –

– Using standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper with 1-inch margins on all sides.

– Including a title page, reference list, and byline.

– Choosing a clear, easy-to-read font like Calibri or Times New Roman.

– Double-spacing the entire document.

– Aligning the text to the left.

– Indenting each paragraph’s first line by 0.5 inches.

– Organizing the paper into sections that follow APA standards, including a title page, abstract, main body, and references.


In academic work, to create an APA reference list, it should:

– Be placed at the end of the work on a fresh page.

– Be centred.

– Avoid using “a,” “an,” or “the.” Instead, alphabetize by the first author’s name (or title if no author is given).

– Arrange works by the same author chronologically by date. If published in the same year, they should be ordered alphabetically by title and assigned a letter (a, b, c, etc.) after publication.

– Provide complete references for all in-text citations used.


After using a quote or paraphrase from another work, it is necessary to provide in-text references.

In-text citations are used for direct quotes or paraphrases and placed within the text’s main body. They should match a citation in the primary reference list and only contain the author’s last name and publication date.

For example, Tony Stewart (2017) asserts… (Stewart, 2017). The format may change depending on whether a direct quote or parenthetical is used. All versions of the citation should follow this rule.


When referencing two authors, their last names should be joined by either an ‘and’ or an ampersand. For example, you can cite their work as

Stewart and Smith (2017) state… Or …(Stewart & Smith, 2017).


When citing sources of three to five authors, it is important to list all authors’ names in the first citation.

For example, you can write, ” Stewart, Smith, and Stark(2017) state… Or … (Stewart, Smith, & Stark, 2017). ”

For subsequent citations, you can use “et al.” to abbreviate the names of the initial author and any co-authors.


When citing a source with more than 6 authors, it is appropriate to use only the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”

If the author is unknown, it’s best to use the first words of the reference. If it’s a book, magazine, brochure, or report, use italics for the title. For example, (The XYZ Guide 2017). If it’s a chapter, article, or web page, use quotation marks instead, such as (“The Guide”, 2017).


When citing sources written by the same author and published in the same year, it’s essential to add “a, b, c,” etc., after the date. This designation is made in the reference list, which is arranged alphabetically by the first author’s last name. For example, you can use (Stewart, 2017a) or (Stewart, 2017b).


When referencing a secondary source, it is important to include the primary author and date before using the phrase “as cited in.” After that, you should include the author and date of the secondary source.

For example, you can write “Laura (1980) as cited in Stewart (2017)” or “Laura, 1980, as cited in Stewart, 2017.”


When referencing a book and not a chapter, you must follow the following structure as shown in the image.

Example –

Stewart, T., Stark, M., & Gomes, S.S. (2017). The Guide. London, England: ABC Publisher


The publisher and location are not needed when citing articles, unlike when citing books. For journal articles, the citation includes the title of the article, the volume and issue number of the journal, and the page numbers. The basic format for citing articles is as follows:

Example –

Stewart, T. (2017). Citation: The Guide. Mendeley Journal, 71(2), 99-101

Stewart, T. (2017). Citation: The Guide. Mendeley Journal, 71(2), 99–101. Retrieved from

Wrapping it up

This guide intends to get you started with APA referencing. Follow the 10 strategies mentioned above, and you will complete the referencing part all hassle-free.

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