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APA Sample Paper
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Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper
This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader
Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.
However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in student style and one in professional style.
Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7.
APA 7 Student Paper:
Apa 7 professional paper:.
APA 7th Edition: Student Papers & Professional Papers
- What's New in the 7th Edition
- Student Papers & Professional Papers
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Student & Professional Papers Are Different
The APA 7th ed. specifies distinct criteria for student papers and professional papers. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure you select using the correct format. This page gives you an overview for each type including an in-depth video on setting up your paper.
Seventh Edition for Students
In the new edition, APA has created a student paper which is broad and flexible because students submit their papers to institutions rather than to an APA journal.
Student papers should include:
- Paper title Author
- Course name & number (PSY204)
- Instructor name
- Due date (November 4, 2020)
- Page number
- Reference List
Student papers do not typically include a running head, author note, or an abstract, unless required by their instructor.
To see an example of the official format of a student paper, click the student sample paper link below:
For those who prefer to watch, listen, and learn this video may be helpful for learning how to set-up your student paper.
Student Paper APA 7 Checklist
- Concise Student Paper Formatting Quick guide for formatting your student paper in accordance with the APA 7th ed. Style Guide.
Seventh Edition for Professionals
Paper elements appear in various combinations depending on the nature of the work. Author's seeking publication should refer to the journal's instructions that are different from or in addition to those specified by APA style.
Manuscripts submitted for publication by professionals should always include:
- Paper title
- Author name
- Author note
- Running head
- Page numbers
- Reference list
Papers may also include keywords, footnotes, tables, figures, appendices, and/or supplemental materials.
To see an example of the official format of a professional paper, click the professional sample paper link below:
APA Style 7th Edition: Professional Paper Formatting
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These guidelines are adapted from the student paper specifications from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
- In the 7th edition, APA created a simplified version of their paper format for student papers, which omits previously required elements (sect. 2.2, p. 30). Items that APA states are not typically included in a student paper and are not, therefore, covered in this guide include: Running head, author note, and abstract.
- This guide is not exhaustive; refer to the Publication Manual for additional details and for specific details for professional papers.
Always defer to your professor or instructor’s guidelines for an assignment – it's essential that you understand their expectations and ask questions about any guidelines that are unclear or confusing. This includes whether they would like you to use the student or professional paper format.
- Margins: 1 inch on all sides
- Sans serif fonts: 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode
- Serif font: 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Georgia
- Line Spacing: Double-spaced, including title page, abstract, text, headings, block quotations, reference list, table and figure notes, and appendices. See p. 45 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for exceptions.
- Indentation : First line of each paragraph should be indented 0.5 in. Exceptions: Abstract and block quotes
- Alignment : Left align all text. Exceptions: headings (see section about headings.)
- Page numbers should appear in the upper right-hand corner of the header.
- Use "View" → "Header" in Microsoft Word to set page numbering
- Formatting an APA 7th Edition Student Paper in Word (Video) This video shows you how to set-up your APA 7th edition student paper in Microsoft Word
- Formatting an APA 7th Edition Student Paper in Google Docs (Video) This video shows you how to set-up your APA 7th edition student paper in Google Docs
- Title of Paper : Centered on the page, bold.
- Author(s) : Centered on the page, underneath the title
- Author(s) Affiliation : Typically department and institution (e.g., Department of Psychology, Towson University), centered underneath author(s) name(s)
- Course Number and Name : E.g., PSYC314: Research Methods, centered underneath author affiliation
- Instructor Name : Confirm preferred name and honorific with your professor, centered underneath course number and name
- Due date : APA recommends spelling out the month, e.g., December 4, 2019, centered underneath instructor name
Note: Refer to the APA Publication Manual (7th ed) if your professor requires you to use the professional title page format. APA no longer requires elements such as the running head and author note for student papers.
The body of the paper "contains the authors' main contributions to the literature" ( APA Publication Manual [7th ed], p. 39).
Components and structure of the paper vary depending on your assignment. For example, original research reports include the following sections: "Introduction," "Methods," "Results," and "Discussion."
Refer to the APA Publication Manual or your assignment instructions for the details about the type of information that is included in each section.
Most papers will use the following general guidelines:
- Starts on a new page after the title page or abstract
- Include the title of the paper as a Level 1 heading
- For instance, the "Methods" and "Results" section are equal, and they are both formatted as Level 1 headings.
- If you discuss "Participants" and "Measures" in your "Methods" section, then you format each of those as Level 2 headings, and so on.
- Begin your text in a paragraph below the heading for Levels 1, 2, & 3. Begin the text of your paragraph in the same line with the headings for Levels 4 & 5.
- Starts on a new page
- The word "References" should appear centered on the page, capitalized, and in bold
- Use a hanging indent - the first line of each reference entry should be flush to the left side, all lines after the first line of each entry should be indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
- Double space all reference entries
- Alphabetize entries by the first authors' last names
- Two or more works by the same author should be ordered by publication date, with the oldest entry listed first. For additional order rules, see sections 9.44-9-49 in the APA Manual (7th ed.).
- Format reference entries according to type – refer to the citation examples on other pages within the APA Style Guide
Refer to the APA Publication Manual for guidelines related to formatting tables, figures, and appendices.
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APA Style Guide
- Student Paper Format
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- Tables and Figures
- Periodicals (Journals, Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs, Etc.)
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- APA Sample Papers Use these sample papers developed by the APA to see how your paper should be formatted.
Basic Paper Formatting
Formatting for all pages:
- Footnotes are always single spaced
- Words within a table or describing a table or image can be single, one-and-a-half, or double spaced, whichever creates the most effective presentation.
- The lines before and after an equation can be triple or quadruple spaced.
- All pages have the page number in the header with right justification (last name is NOT included with the page number in APA). Use automatic page-numbering:
- How to add page numbers in Microsoft Word
- How to Add Page Numbers in Google Docs
- A running head (abbreviated paper title in capital letters at the top left of the page) is NOT required for student papers unless requested by the instructor.
- Any font is allowed as long as it is accessible to your readers.
- Size of font depends on font type being used.
- Recommended fonts and sizes: Times New Roman (12 point), Calibri (11 point), Arial (11 point), Lucida Sans Unicode (10 point), or Georgia (11 point).
- Use the same font and size throughout the paper, except for footnotes, which are usually size 10.
- Use letter-sized paper (8.5" x 11")
- Margins are 1-inch on all sides.
- Indent the first line of a new paragraph by 0.5" (this is usually the default setting for hitting the tab key once).
- Do not hyphenate words in order to separate them onto two lines.
- Footnotes can be located at the bottom of the page in which the reference occurs or at the end of the paper in their own section after the reference list (often called "endnotes"); do not put footnotes in both places in the same paper.
Order of Pages:
- Starts on page 1
- Title (bold)
- [Blank line]
- Author(s) (e.g. Thomas A. Anderson and John Shaft I)
- Department, University (e.g. English, Sacramento State University)
- Course number and title (e.g. ENGL 5: Accelerated Academic Literacies)
- Name of instructor (e.g. Dr. Jane Goodall)
- Due date written month day, year (e.g. April 1, 2020)
- Not required for a student paper unless requested by your instructor.
- An abstract is a summary of the content and findings that will be presented in the paper.
- Start on a new page with the word "Abstract" centered and in bold at the top.
- Single paragraph of less than 250 words.
- Do not indent the first (or any) line of the paragraph.
- Start on new page with title of paper centered and in bold before the first paragraph
- The organization and sections will depend on the type of paper; however, all papers should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion or discussion.
- The sections in a brief student paper do not need to be labeled with headings. If your paper is longer and/or headings are required, use proper APA formatting.
- Detailed Instructions on Labeling Paper Sections
- Start on new page with the word "References" centered and in bold at the top.
- List full citations in alphabetical order with hanging indents.
- Not required unless requested by instructor.
- Start on a new page with the word "Footnotes" centered and in bold at the top.
- Start on a new page with the word "Table A" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent tables start on a new page and are titled "Table B," etc.
- May also be embedded within the text.
- Start on a new page with the word "Figures" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent figures start on a new page and are titled "Table B," etc.
- May also be embedded within the text.
- Appendices provide supplemental data supporting the content presented in paper.
- Start on a new page with the title "Appendix A" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent appendices start on a new page and are titled "Appendix B," etc.
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APA Style (7th ed.)
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Format Your Paper
Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .
- APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.
- APA 7th ed. Template Document A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly according to APA 7th edition.
- APA 7th ed. Annotated Bibliography template A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography.
Or, view the directions for specific sections below:
Order of sections (section 2.17).
- Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
- Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
- Appendices (including tables & figures)
Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)
- 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
- Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
- Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
- Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin
Text Format (section 2.19)
- Times New Roman, 12 point
- Calibri, 11 point
- Arial, 11 point
- Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
- Georgia, 11 point
- Double-space and align text to the left
- Use active voice
- Don't overuse technical jargon
- No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.
Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
- Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
- Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
- Notes go below tables and figures
Title Page (section 2.3)
- Include the title, your name, the class name , and the college's name
- Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
- No periods or abbreviations
- Do not italicize or underline
- No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
- Center horizontally in upper half of the page
Body (section 2.11)
- Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
- As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
- Usually, include sections like these: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
- Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
- Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
- Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times
Headings (section 2.26-2.27)
- Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case
- Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
- Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
- Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
- Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)
- Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
- For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
- When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
- Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote
References (section 2.12)
Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.
- References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
- Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
- List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
- Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
- Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
- Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
- No quotation marks around titles of articles
Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)
- Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
- Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
- For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
- If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
- If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
- Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)
Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..
- Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.
These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are not required for student papers:
Abstract (section 2.9).
- Abstract gets its own page
- Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
- Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
- Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper
Running Head (section 2.8 )
- Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
- In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
- On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number]
More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog
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