Archive for the ‘APA Formatting and Style Guide’ Category

How to Cite a Book

Friday, September 28th, 2012

When a person is writing a research paper or an essay, the resources used to write the same should be cited. Citing the resources helps in making the work legitimate. Often there is a piece of work, which does not have the necessary citation, then the work may not be considered accurate and often does not have the same weight. One can make use of the multiple methods of citation. There are two most commonly used methods of citation, namely Modern Language Association citation, the acronym of which is MLA style and American Psychological Association citation, of which the acronym is APA style. There is one basic difference in both the methods. In the MLA style ‘works cited’ page is necessary, whereas in the APA style ‘referenced pages’ have to be mentioned. In this write up, we will concentrate all our energies to see, different styles of book citation.

How to Cite a Book Using MLA Style Format?

Before you start the process of citing a book, you will have to find out, which is the prescribed format to cite a book. If the research paper format demands MLA style, then here is the correct method of citing a book using MLA format.

In the MLA format, the credit sources are mentioned briefly. The citations are made in parentheses. The complete description of the works used are to be given at the end in the ‘works cited’ list. It is important to write the bibliography using the right format. The list in the bibliography is made alphabetically using the authors last name. In case the authors name is not given, then the first word of the title is used.

Basic Format used in MLA Style – One Author
This is the format to be used, when the book has one author only. The basic format is as follows:

Author Last name, First name, Title of Book, Place of Publication: Name of the Publisher, Year of Publication

Example: Satalkar, Bhakti, How to Cite a Book, Pune: Buzzle Publications, 20 Dec 2010.

Basic Format used in MLA Style – Multiple Authors
Often there are books, which have multiple authors in such a case, we wonder, how does one gone about citing a book, which has multiple authors. The book is an intellectual property of both the authors, therefore both of them have to be cited. The format of the same is:

Author Last name, First name of first author, and Author Last name First name of second author. Title of Book, Place of Publication: Name of the Publisher, Year of Publication

Example: Satalkar, Bhakti and Batul Baxamusa. How to Cite a Book. Pune: Buzzle Publications, 20 December 2010.

You will have to use the same format, if there are up to three authors. However, if there are more than three authors, then instead of naming all the authors you will use the name of the first author and follow it up with ‘et al.’. In case you want to name all the authors, then you will use the above mentioned format itself.

Basic Format used in MLA Style – No Author
Often times, while writing a research paper, we use books, which do not have an author. At such times, we are wits end on citing a book without any author. The format for the same is as follows:

Title of Book, Place of Publication : Name of the Publisher, Year of Publication

Example: Illustrated Family Encyclopedia. London: 2008.

How to Cite a Book in APA Format?

If the prescribed format, demands APA format of citation, then the same must be followed. If you do not follow the same, it can lead to misunderstanding while the research paper is being referred to.

Basic Format used in APA Style – One Author
When APA format has been prescribed and the book you have preferred to has only one author, then the format you will use is as follows:

Author Last name, First name. (Year of Publication). Title of Book, Place of Publication: Name of the Publisher

Example: Satalkar, Bhakti. (2010). How to Cite a Book, Pune: Buzzle Publications

Basic Format used in APA Style – Multiple Authors
If the book you have referred to has multiple authors, then the format you will use is as follows:

Author Last name, First name of first author, & Last name, First name of second author. (Year of Publication). Title of Book, Place of Publication : Name of the Publisher

Example: Satalkar, Bhakti & Baxamusa Batul (2010). How to Cite a Book, Pune: Buzzle Publications

It is extremely important to know the right citation method, when you are citing a book in a research paper.

by Bhakti Satalkar.

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How To Write a Profile or Interview-based Article

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
One of the main types of magazine articles is the profile article. In this article, the person (subject) usually fits a special niche of the magazine or has a new program or product to promote. Generally, the person- their achievements and personality- is the supposed focus of the article. So, how do you let their personality and voice come through in your writing? Following is a simple method you might want to try when writing profiles. This method not only builds the article around your subject’s voice, but it also tends to get from transcript to rough draft fairly quickly- a bonus when time is money.
Here’s How:
  1. Deal with the actual interview. You’ll leave your interview either with a set of notes, a sound recording, or (preferably) both. While the interview and interviewee are still fresh in your mind, you’ll want to tidy up your notes and check any special spellings or names.
  2. Wait a day or two after the interview was conducted. This should allow you to clear your mind of any preconceived subjects or storylines. You want the interviewees’s words, ideas and actions to set the agenda- not your own. If you use a recording device, you may want to consider hiring a transcriptionist to put the recording into writing for you. This acheives the same purpose.
  3. With a pen and paper in hand, read the transcript in its entirety. Write down any broad subjects that stick out to you– are there any items, events or ideas that the person seems to be going back to? Anything mentioned twice, or with great passion? Try to gather at least three to five broad subjects from this first reading.
  4. Narrow down these broad items. This is a good time to re-read the assignment from your editor. Did she specifically ask for a slant on the subject’s meaty childhood? Is he looking to promote a certain service? Compare your broad subjects to your research on the person (conducted before the interview even took place, right?), to your editor’s wishes, and perhaps even to your own interest in the person. Then, pull out and refine these broad subject areas, and place them (temporarily) in your transcript as your subheads. If you like, you can rename them to catch subhead titles now, or, see where the article goes.
  5. Using Word’s cut and paste function, pull the interviewees quotes about each subhead into that subhead area. You are now pulling the subjects words out of the chronological order that they occurred in during the interview, and placing them, instead, under subject heads/subtitles/main idea areas. It is not necessary to pull whole paragraphs. At this point, you’ll have a feeling of the direction your article is going in. Get the best quotes sorted, and leave the rest.
  6. This is where you practice your craft. You’ll now have three to five subtitles, depending on your target length, and some great quotes about those subjects. It is now your duty to go in and introduce the subject, the history, the research, and why each idea is important. Then, use transitional phrasing such as “Mr. Blank agrees…” or “Mrs. SoAndSo makes this clear when she…” to move into your subjects quotes. Finish out the paragraph, subtitle or idea with more research or exposition, and wrap it up or transition it to the next subtitle.
  7. With the middle of your article done, it’s time to write the introduction and conclusion. The introduction should reflect on the article in general, and also frame the interviewee in some way. Many writers will avoid giving boring facts in the first paragraph. “Mr. Blank was born in…” likely won’t hook a reader as well as an astonishing story, quote or fact from Mr. Blank’s life. The conclusion often refers back to the introduction, or to some interesting part of the interview, and sometimes gives a look ahead to the interviewee’s future plans.
  8. Re-read. Revise. Re-write. Repeat.
  1. Conduct research on your subject prior to interviewing.
  2. Follow your editor’s specifications and listen to their take on the interviewee’s interest points.
  3. Allow yourself a day or two after the rough draft before editing, if possible.
What You Need:
  • Assignment
  • Interviewee
  • Notepad or MP3 recorder
  • Transcriptionist
  • Word processing software

by Allena Tapia, Guide.

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Thursday, January 6th, 2011


A conversation in which one person (the interviewer) elicits information from another person (the subject or interviewee). A transcript or account of such a conversation is also called an interview.

The interview is both a research method and a popular form of nonfiction.


From the Latin, “between” + “see”

Examples and Observations:

  • The following interviewing tips have been adapted from Chapter 12 (“Writing about People: The Interview”) of William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well (HarperCollins, 2006):
    • Choose as your subject someone whose job [or experience] is so important or so interesting or so unusual that the average reader would want to read about that person. In other words, choose someone who touches some corner of the reader’s life.
    • Before the interview, make a list of questions to ask your subject.
    • Get people talking. Learn to ask questions that will elicit answers about what is most interesting or vivid in their lives.
    • Take notes during the interview. If you have trouble keeping up with your subject, just say, “Hold it a minute, please,” and write until you catch up.
    • Use a combination of direct quotations and summaries. “If the speaker’s conversation is ragged, . . . the writer has no choice but to clean up the English and provide the missing links. . . . What’s wrong . . . is to fabricate quotes or to surmise what someone might have said.”
    • To get the facts right, remember that you can call [or revisit] the person you interviewed.
  • “When I first began talking to people, I tended to monopolize the conversation, to steer my subject to my own interpretation of Margarett’s life. Listening to my tapes, I learned that I often interrupted people just before they were about to tell me something I never would have suspected, so now I tried to let the subject guide the interview and to encourage the interviewee’s anecdotes. I came to understand that I was interviewing people not to substantiate my own theories but to learn Margarett’s story.”
    (Honor Moore, “Twelve Years and Counting: Writing Biography.” Writing Creative Nonfiction, ed. by Carolyn Forché and Philip Gerard. Story Press, 2001)
  • “When we interview, we are not extracting information like a dentist pulls a tooth, but we make meaning together like two dancers, one leading and one following. Interview questions range between closed and open. Closed questions are like those we fill out in popular magazines or application forms: How many years of schooling have you had? Do you rent your apartment? Do you own a car? . . . Some closed questions are essential for gathering background data, . . . [but] these questions often yield single phrase answers and can shut down further talk. . . .”Open questions, by contrast, help elicit your informant’s perspective and allow for more conversational exchange. Because there is no single answer to open-ended questions, you will need to listen, respond, and follow the informant’s lead. . . .”Here are some very general open questions–sometimes called experimental and descriptive–that try to get the informant to share experiences or to describe them from his or her own point of view:
    • Tell me more about the time when . . .
    • Describe the people who were most important to . . .
    • Describe the first time you . . .
    • Tell me about the person who taught you about . . .
    • What stands out for you when you remember . . .
    • Tell me the story behind that interesting item you have.
    • Describe a typical day in your life.

    When thinking of questions to ask an informant, make your informant your teacher.”
    (Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater and Bonnie Stone-Sunstein, FieldWorking: Reading and Writing Research. Prentice Hall, 1997)

by Richard Nordquist, Guide.

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Literature review

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
Definition: The process of reading, analyzing, evaluating, and summarizing scholarly materials about a specific topic.

The results of a literature review may be compiled in a report or they may serve as part of a research article, thesis, or grant proposal.


  • “Research literature reviews can be contrasted with more subjective examinations of recorded information. When doing a research review, you systematically examine all sources and describe and justify what you have done. This enables someone else to reproduce your methods and to determine objectively whether to accept the results of the review.”In contrast, subjective reviews tend to be idiosyncratic. Subjective reviewers choose articles without justifying why they are selected, and they may give equal credence to good and poor studies. The results of subjective reviews are often based on a partial examination of the available literature, and their findings may be inaccurate or even false.”
    (Arlene Fink, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. Sage, 2009)
  • “There should be clear links between the aims of your research and the literature review, the choice of research designs and means used to collect data, your discussion of the issues, and your conclusions and recommendations. To summarize, we can say that the research should:
    1. focus on a specific problem, issue or debate;
    2. relate to that problem, issue or debate in terms that show a balance between the theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of the topic;
    3. include a clearly stated research methodology based on the existing literature;
    4. provide an analytical and critically evaluative stance to the existing literature on the topic.

    A master’s thesis is therefore a demonstration in research thinking and doing.”
    (Chris Hart, Doing a Literature Review. Sage, 1998)

Also Known As: research literature review, review of literature, state-of-the-art assessment.
by Richard Nordquist, Guide.

Five Essential Tips for APA Style Headings

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The 6th edition of the Publication Manual brings an important and exciting change: a new way of doing headings. The updated headings style should make headings easier to understand, implement, and see in your finished paper. Here are five essential things you need to know:

  1. APA has designed a five-level heading structure (we numbered them to talk about them, but you won’t actually number your headings in your paper). Click the image below to get a close-up view of the new heading style.APA Style Headings 6th ed
  2. Proceed through the levels numerically, starting with Level 1, without skipping over levels (this is in contrast to the 5th edition heading style, which involved skipping levels depending on the total number of levels you had—how complicated!).
  3. That first heading won’t be called “Introduction” or be the title of your paper; these are common mistakes. Actually, the first heading will likely be somewhere in the body of your paper. In an experimental study, for example, often the first real heading is the Method section, and it would thus go at Level 1.
  4. Use as many levels as necessary to convey your meaning. Many student papers and published articles utilize two or three levels. Longer works like dissertations may demand four or five.
  5. Need more guidance? Consult the Publication Manual (Chapter 3, Section 3.03) for more examples and explanation. Also look at published APA articles to see how it’s done—APA plans to fully implement the new heading style in its journals by January 2010.

by Chelsee Lee.

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APA Style Essentials

Monday, December 20th, 2010
APA Publication Manual The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010) and the APA Style web site ( provide a comprehensive reference guide to writing using APA style, organization, and content. To order a copy of the Publication Manual online, go to To view “PDF” documents referenced on this APA Style Essentials page, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download the free Acrobat Reader, go to

The purpose of this document is to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of an academic department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style. This Web document is itself not a model of APA style. For an example of a complete article formatted according to APA style, go to For an example of an undergraduate research proposal, go to To download a Microsoft Word template of an APA-style paper, go to

  1. General Document Guidelines
    1. Margins: One inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, right)
    2. Font Size and Type: 12-pt. Times New Roman font
    3. Line Spacing: Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, references, appendixes, footnotes, tables, and figures.
    4. Spacing after Punctuation: Space once after commas, colons, and semicolons within sentences. Insert two spaces after punctuation marks that end sentences.
    5. Alignment: Flush left (creating uneven right margin)
    6. Paragraph Indentation: 5-7 spaces
    7. Pagination: The page number appears one inch from the right edge of the paper on the first line of every page.
    8. Running Head: The running head is a short title that appears at the top of the pages of a paper or published article. The running head is typed flush left at the top of all pages. The running head should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation and spacing. Using most word processors, the running head and page number can be inserted into a header, which then automatically appears on all pages.
    9. Active voice: As a general rule, use the active voice rather than the passive voice. For example, use “We predicted that …” rather than “It was predicted that …”
    10. Order of Pages: Title Page, Abstract, Body, References, Footnotes, Tables, Figures, Appendixes
  2. Title Page
    1. Pagination: The Title Page is page 1.
    2. Running Head: The running head is typed flush left (all uppercase) following “Running head:”
    3. Key Elements: Paper title, author(s), institutional affiliation(s), author note.
    4. Paper Title: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the page.
    5. Author(s): Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the title.
    6. Institutional affiliation: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the author(s).
    7. Author Note: Provide information about the author’s departmental affiliation, acknowledgments of assistance or financial support, and a mailing address for correspondence.
    8. Example of APA-formatted Title Page:
  3. Abstract: The abstract is a one-paragraph, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the paper.
    1. Pagination: The abstract begins on a new page (page 2).
    2. Heading: “Abstract” (centered on the first line below the running head)
    3. Format: The abstract (in block format) begins on the line following the Abstract heading. The abstract word limit is set by individual journals. Typically, the word limit is between 150 and 250 words. All numbers in the abstract (except those beginning a sentence) should be typed as digits rather than words.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Abstract:
  4. Body
    1. Pagination: The body of the paper begins on a new page (page 3). Subsections of the body of the paper do not begin on new pages.
    2. Title: The title of the paper (in uppercase and lowercase letters) is centered on the first line below the running head.
    3. Introduction: The introduction (which is not labeled) begins on the line following the paper title.
    4. Headings: Five levels of headings are available to be used to organize the paper and reflect the relative importance of sections. For example, many empirical research articles utilize two levels of headings: Main headings (such as Method, Results, Discussion, References) would use Level 1 (centered, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters), and subheadings (such as Participants, Apparatus, and Procedure as subsections of the Method section) would use Level 2 (flush left, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters).
    5. Example of APA-formatted Headings:
  5. Text citations: Source material must be documented in the body of the paper by citing the author(s) and date(s) of the sources. The underlying principle is that ideas and words of others must be formally acknowledged. The reader can obtain the full source citation from the list of references that follows the body of the paper.
    1. When the names of the authors of a source are part of the formal structure of the sentence, the year of publication appears in parentheses following the identification of the authors. Consider the following example:

      Wirth and Mitchell (1994) found that although there was a reduction in insulin dosage over a period of two weeks in the treatment condition compared to the control condition, the difference was not statistically significant.

      [Note: and is used when multiple authors are identified as part of the formal structure of the sentence. Compare this to the example in the following section.]

    2. When the authors of a source are not part of the formal structure of the sentence, both the authors and year of publication appear in parentheses. Consider the following example:

      Reviews of research on religion and health have concluded that at least some types of religious behaviors are related to higher levels of physical and mental health (Gartner, Larson, & Allen, 1991; Koenig, 1990; Levin & Vanderpool, 1991; Maton & Pargament, 1987; Paloma & Pendleton, 1991; Payne, Bergin, Bielema, & Jenkins, 1991).

      [Note: & is used when multiple authors are identified in parenthetical material. Note also that when several sources are cited parenthetically, they are ordered alphabetically by first authors' surnames and separated by semicolons.]

    3. When a source that has two authors is cited, both authors are included every time the source is cited.
    4. When a source that has three, four, or five authors is cited, all authors are included the first time the source is cited. When that source is cited again, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used. Consider the following example:

      Reviews of research on religion and health have concluded that at least some types of religious behaviors are related to higher levels of physical and mental health (Payne, Bergin, Bielema, & Jenkins, 1991).

      Payne et al. (1991) showed that …

    5. When a source that has six or more authors is cited, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used every time the source is cited (including the first time).
    6. Every effort should be made to cite only sources that you have actually read. When it is necessary to cite a source that you have not read (“Grayson” in the following example) that is cited in a source that you have read (“Murzynski & Degelman” in the following example), use the following format for the text citation and list only the source you have read in the References list:

      Grayson (as cited in Murzynski & Degelman, 1996) identified four components of body language that were related to judgments of vulnerability.

    7. To cite a personal communication (including letters, emails, and telephone interviews), include initials, surname, and as exact a date as possible. Because a personal communication is not “recoverable” information, it is not included in the References section. For the text citation, use the following format:

      B. F. Skinner (personal communication, February 12, 1978) claimed …

    8. To cite a Web document, use the author-date format. If no author is identified, use the first few words of the title in place of the author. If no date is provided, use “n.d.” in place of the date. Consider the following examples:

      Degelman (2009) summarizes guidelines for the use of APA writing style.

      Changes in Americans’ views of gender status differences have been documented (Gender and Society, n.d.).

    9. To cite the Bible, provide the book, chapter, and verse. The first time the Bible is cited in the text, identify the version used. Consider the following example:

      “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Psalm 86:5, New International Version).

      [Note: No entry in the References list is needed for the Bible.]

  6. Quotations: When a direct quotation is used, always include the author, year, and page number as part of the citation.
    1. A quotation of fewer than 40 words should be enclosed in double quotation marks and should be incorporated into the formal structure of the sentence. Consider the following example:

      Patients receiving prayer had “less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated” (Byrd, 1988, p. 829).

    2. A lengthier quotation of 40 or more words should appear (without quotation marks) apart from the surrounding text, in block format, with each line indented five spaces from the left margin.
  7. References: All sources included in the References section must be cited in the body of the paper (and all sources cited in the paper must be included in the References section).
    1. Pagination: The References section begins on a new page.
    2. Heading: “References” (centered on the first line below the running head)
    3. Format: The references (with hanging indent) begin on the line following the References heading. Entries are organized alphabetically by surnames of first authors. Most reference entries have the following components:
      1. Authors: Authors are listed in the same order as specified in the source, using surnames and initials. Commas separate all authors. When there are eight or more authors, list the first six authors followed by three ellipses (…) and then the final author. If no author is identified, the title of the document begins the reference.
      2. Year of Publication: In parentheses following authors, with a period following the closing parenthesis. If no publication date is identified, use “n.d.” in parentheses following the authors.
      3. Source Reference: Includes title, journal, volume, pages (for journal article) or title, city of publication, publisher (for book). Italicize titles of books, titles of periodicals, and periodical volume numbers.
      4. Electronic Retrieval Information: Electronic retrieval information may include digital object identifiers (DOIs) or uniform resource locators (URLs). DOIs are unique alphanumeric identifiers that lead users to digital source material. To learn whether an article has been assigned a DOI, go to
    4. Example of APA-formatted References: Go to
    5. Examples of sources
      1. Journal article with DOIMurzynski, J., & Degelman, D. (1996). Body language of women and judgments of vulnerability to sexual assault. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 1617-1626. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.1996.tb00088.x
      2. Journal article without DOI, print versionKoenig, H. G. (1990). Research on religion and mental health in later life: A review and commentary. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 23-53.
      3. Journal article without DOI, retrieved online [Note: For articles retrieved from databases, include the URL of the journal home page. Database information is not needed. Do not include the date of retrieval.]Aldridge, D. (1991). Spirituality, healing and medicine. British Journal of General Practice, 41, 425-427. Retrieved from
      4. BookPaloutzian, R. F. (1996). Invitation to the psychology of religion (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
      5. Informally published Web documentDegelman, D. (2009). APA style essentials. Retrieved from
      6. Informally published Web document (no date)Nielsen, M. E. (n.d.). Notable people in psychology of religion. Retrieved from
      7. Informally published Web document (no author, no date)Gender and society. (n.d.). Retrieved from
      8. Abstract from secondary databaseGarrity, K., & Degelman, D. (1990). Effect of server introduction on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 168-172. Abstract retrieved from PsycINFO database.
      9. Article or chapter in an edited bookShea, J. D. (1992). Religion and sexual adjustment. In J. F. Schumaker (Ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 70-84). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
      10. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersAmerican Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
  8. Footnotes: Content footnotes are occasionally used to support substantive information in the text. A content footnote may be placed at the bottom of the page on which it is discussed or on a separate page following the References. 
    1. Pagination: Footnotes begin on a separate page.
    2. Heading: “Footnotes” is centered on the first line below the running head.
    3. Format: Indent the first line of each footnote 5-7 spaces and number the foonotes (slightly above the line) as they are identified in the text.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Footnotes:
  9. Tables: A common use of tables is to present quantitative data or the results of statistical analyses (such as ANOVA). See the Publication Manual (2010, pp. 128-150) for detailed examples. Tables must be mentioned in the text.
    1. Pagination: Each Table begins on a separate page.
    2. Heading: “Table 1″ (or 2 or 3, etc.) is typed flush left on the first line below the running head. Double-space and type the table title flush left (italicized in uppercase and lowercase letters).
    3. Example of APA-formatted Tables:
  10. Figures: A common use of Figures is to present graphs, photographs, or other illustrations (other than tables). See the Publication Manual (2010, pp. 150-167) for detailed examples.
    1. Pagination: Figures begin on a separate page.
    2. Figure Caption: “Figure 1.” (or 2 or 3, etc.) is typed flush left and italicized on the first line below the figure, immediately followed on the same line by the caption (which should be a brief descriptive phrase).
    3. Example of APA-formatted Figure:
  11. Appendixes: A common use of appendixes is to present unpublished tests or to describe complex equipment or stimulus materials.
    1. Pagination: Each Appendix begins on a separate page.
    2. Heading:If there is only one appendix, “Appendix” is centered on the first line below the manuscript page header. If there is more than one appendix, use Appendix A (or B or C, etc.). Double-space and type the appendix title (centered in uppercase and lowercase letters).
    3. Format: Indent the first line 5-7 spaces.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Appendix:
by Douglas Degelman, Ph. D.
Vanguard University of Southern California.

Tables in APA Format

Monday, December 20th, 2010

In APA format papers, tables are generally used to describe the results of statistical analysis and other pertinent quantitative data. However, it is important to note that tables are not simply used to replicate data that has already been presented in the text of the paper and not all data should be presented in a table. If you have little numeric information to present, it should be described in the text of your paper.

Basic Rules for Tables in APA Format:

  • All tables should be numbered (e.g. Table 1, Table 2, Table 3).
  • Each table should have an individual title, italicized and presented with each word capitalized (except and, in, of, with, etc.). For example: Correlations Between Age and Test Scores
  • Each table should begin on a separate page.
  • Horizontal lines can be used to separate information and make it clearer. Do not use vertical lines in an APA format table.
  • All elements of the table should be double spaced.
  • All tables should be referenced in the text of the paper.
  • Tables should be last, after your reference list and appendixes.

Table Headings:

  • Table headings should be located flush right.
  • Each column should be identified using a descriptive heading.
  • The first letter of each heading should be capitalized.
  • Abbreviations for standard terms (e.g. M, SD, etc.) can be used without explanation. Uncommon definitions should be explained in a note below the table.

Additional Notes to an APA Format Table:

If additional explanation is needed, a note can be added below the table. There are three kinds of notes: General notes, specific notes, and probability notes. General notes refer to some aspect of the entire table; specific notes refer to a particular column or row; probability notes specify the probability-level.

Image of an APA format table.

An Example of a table in APA Format.

by Kendra Cherry,

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How to Write a Method Section

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The method section of an APA format psychology paper provides the methods and procedures used in a research study or experiment. You should provide detailed information on the research design, participants, equipment, materials, variables, and actions taken by the participants. The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

The method section should utilize subheading to divide up different subsections. These subsections typically include: Participants, Materials, Design, and Procedure.

Here’s How:

  1. Participants: Describe the participants in your experiment, including who they were, how many there were, and how they were selected.For example:

    We randomly selected 100 children from elementary schools near the University of Arizona.

  2. Materials: Describe the materials, measures, equipment, or stimuli used in the experiment. This may include testing instruments, technical equipments, books, images, or other materials used in the course of research.For example:

    Two stories form Sullivan et al.’s (1994) second-order false belief attribution tasks were used to assess children’s understanding of second-order beliefs.

  3. Design: Describe the type of design used in the experiment. Specify the variables as well as the levels of these variables. Explain whether your experiment uses a within-groups or between-groups design.For example:

    The experiment used a 3×2 between-subjects design. The independent variables were age and understanding of second-order beliefs.

  4. Procedure: The next part of your method section should detail the procedures used in your experiment. Explain what you had participants do, how you collected data, and the order in which steps occurred.For example:

    An examiner interviewed children individually at their school in one session that lasted 20 minutes on average. The examiner explained to each child that he or she would be told two short stories and that some questions would be asked after each story. All sessions were videotaped so the data could later be coded.


  1. Always write the method section in the past tense.
  2. Provide enough detail that another researcher could replicate your experiment, but focus on brevity. Avoid unnecessary detail that is not relevant to the outcome of the experiment.
  3. Remember to use proper APA format. As you are writing your method section, keep a style guide published by the American Psychological Association on hand, such as the Concise Rules Of Apa Style.
  4. Take a rough draft of your method section to your university’s writing lab for additional assistance.
  5. Proofread your paper for typos, grammar problems, and spelling errors. Don’t just rely on computer spell checkers. Check each section of your paper for agreement with other sections. If you mention steps and procedures in the method section, these elements should also be present in the results and discussion sections.

by Kendra Cherry, Guide.

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How to Write an APA Paper

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

If you are taking a psychology class, it is very likely that your instructor will ask you to write an APA paper at some point. What exactly is an APA paper? It is simply a written paper that follows APA format, the official writing format of the American Psychological Association.

If you’ve never written an APA paper before, the formatting rules and guidelines can seem daunting and difficult at first. While your instructor may have other specific formatting requirements for you to follow, here are some general guidelines for how to write an APA paper.

General Rules for an APA Paper:

First, start by observing some of the standard rules of APA format. Use standard-sized paper of 8.5 inches by 11 inches, and always use a 1-inch margin on all sides.

Your paper should always be typed, double-spaced and in a 12-point font. Times New Roman is one recommended font to use, but you may also use similar fonts.

Every page of your paper should also include a page header on the top left of the page as well as a page number on the top right of the page.

Sections of an APA Paper:

The exact structure of your paper will vary somewhat depending upon the type of paper you have been asked to write. For example, a lab report might be structured a bit differently that a case study or critique paper.

No matter what type of APA paper you are writing, there should be four key sections that you should always include: a title page, an abstract, the main body of the paper and a reference section.

  • The Title Page: Your title page should contain a running head, the title of the paper, your name and your school affiliation.
  • The Abstract: The abstract is a very short summary of your paper. This section is placed immediately after the title page. According to the rules of APA format, your abstract should be no more than 150 to 250 words. However, your instructor may issue specific requirements about the length and content of your abstract, so always check with instructions and grading rubric provided for your APA paper.
  • The Main Body of Your APA Paper: The exact format of this section can vary depending upon the type of paper you are writing. For example, if you are writing a lab report, the main body will include an introduction, a method section, a results section and a discussion section. Check with your instructor for more specific information on what to include in the main body of your APA paper.
  • The Reference Section: The reference section is where you include any and all references that were used to write your APA paper. Remember, if you cited something in the main body of your paper, it must be included in the reference section. This section should begin on a new page, with the word “References” centered at the very top of the page.

Final Tips for Writing an APA Paper:

While writing an APA paper may seem difficult or confusing, start by breaking it down into more manageable steps. Begin by doing your research and writing your paper, but be sure to keep a careful record of all your references. Next, write the abstract section of your paper only after you are completely finished writing your paper. Finally, put all of your references together and create a title page. Once you have completed these steps, spend a little time editing your paper reviewing your finished APA paper to be sure that all of the formatting is accurate.

If you need additional help with APA format, consider purchasing a copy of the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

by Kendra Cherry, Guide.

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Electronic Sources in APA Format

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Electronic References Are Similar to Other References:

The basic format of an electronic reference is very similar to that of any other reference. However, you do need to include the date the reference was retrieved from the Internet as well as the online location of the document. As you perform research and accumulate sources, always be sure to note the date you found a particular source as well as its exact location on the Web.

Electronic sources in APA format

by Kendra Cherry, Guide.

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