APA Style Simplified

APA Style Simplified  

To see sample APA papers from Write Source, click here

Online source for this information:  www.apastyle.org

Basic Format of Paper:

1. Student papers are double-spaced.

2. The paper needs to have one-inch margins. Do not right justify the right margin. Font size needs to be 12 point .

3. Past tense (e.g., “Carson (2001) showed”) or present perfect tense (e.g., “ Vestavia researchers have shown” is appropriate for literature review .

4. If your source has three, four, or five authors, the first time you cite them, you must list them all. After that, you list the first author followed by “et al.” for the rest of the paper.

5. For six or more authors, you can use “et al.” after the first author for the first and all cites in the body of the paper. On the reference page, you list them all if there are three to six authors.  If there are seven or more, you list the first six followed by et al. 

Example:  Smith et al. (1995) were investigating . . .

(note: since “et al.” stands for “and others,” it takes a plural verb).

6. Don't talk about "the research" or “the study” without giving a citation in first sentence of paragraph.

7. Don't refer to "the article." Refer to the authors. For example, don't say, "in the article it was found..." Instead, say "Carson and Adams  (2001) found..."

8. Be concise and specific.  For example, it is wordy to say, “The study conducted by Carson (2000) found. . . ”

It is more concise to simply say, “Carson (2000) found . . .”

9. When citing, only use the author’s last name. Don’t put first name, title of article, where the author works, etc.

10. you cannot change the order of the authors as they are presented in the article when you cite them. The last names cited in your text and on your reference page must follow the same order as they are listed on the publication.

Reference Page Formatting

Journal or Magazine Article
(use for journals that start each issue with page one)

Wilcox, R. V. (1991). Shifting roles and synthetic women in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Studies in Popular Culture, 13(2), 53-65.

Journal of Magazine Article
(use for journals where the page numbering continues from issue to issue)

Dubeck, L. (1990). Science fiction aids science teaching. Physics Teacher, 28, 316-318.

Newspaper Article

Di Rado, A. (1995, March 15). Trekking through college: Classes explore modern society using the world of Star Trek. Los Angeles Times, p. A3.

Article from an Internet Database

Mershon, D. H. (1998, November-December). Star Trek on the brain: Alien minds, human minds. American Scientist, 86, 585. Retrieved July 29, 1999, from Expanded Academic ASAP database.


Okuda, M., & Okuda, D. (1993). Star Trek chronology: The history of the future. New York: Pocket Books.

Book Article or Chapter

James, N. E. (1988). Two sides of paradise: The Eden myth according to Kirk and Spock. In D. Palumbo (Ed.), Spectrum of the fantastic (pp. 219-223). Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Encyclopedia Article

Sturgeon, T. (1995). Science fiction. In The encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 24, pp. 390-392). Danbury, CT: Grolier.

ERIC Document

Fuss-Reineck, M. (1993). Sibling communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conflicts between brothers. Miami, FL: Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 364932)


Lynch, T. (1996). DS9 trials and tribble-ations review. Retrieved October 8, 1997, from Psi Phi: Bradley's Science Fiction Club Web site: http://www.bradley.edu/campusorg/psiphi/DS9/ep/503r.html

Document available on university program or department Web site

Chou, L., McClintock, R., Moretti, F., Nix, D. H. (1993). Technology and education: New wine in new bottles: Choosing pasts and imagining educational futures. Retrieved August 24, 2000, from Columbia University, Institute for Learning Technologies Web site: http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/papers/newwine1.html

If a document is contained within a large and complex Web site (such as that for a university or a government agency), identify the host organization and the relevant program or department before giving the URL for the document itself. Precede the URL with a colon.

Electronic copy of a journal article, three to five authors, retrieved from database

Borman, W. C., Hanson, M. A., Oppler, S. H., Pulakos, E. D., & White, L. A. (1993). Role of early supervisory experience in supervisor performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 443-449. Retrieved October 23, 2000, from PsycARTICLES database.


Every reference cited in the text must be listed in the reference list; every reference listed in the reference list must be cited in the text.

TEXT CITATIONS:  Reference citations in text

  • Carson and Adams  (2001) compared choice of blue jeeps....
  • In a study of choice of  jeeps (Carson  and Adams, 2001), high school seniors chose....
  • In 2001, Carson and Adams compared high school seniors’ choice of jeeps....


  • Include the manuscript page header, page number, running head, title, author(s), and institution on the title page.
  • Type the manuscript page header in the upper right-hand corner five spaces to the left of the page number. The title page is page 1.
  • Type the running head (an abbreviated title) flush left at the top of the title page in all uppercase letters.
  • Type the title in uppercase and lowercase letters centered between the right and left margins and positioned in the upper half of the page. If the title is more than one line, double-space between the lines.
  • Type the name(s) of the author(s) using uppercase and lowercase letters, centered between the right and left margins, one double-spaced line below the title.
  • Type the institutional affiliation in full, (The University of  Alabama at Birmingham ) centered under the author's name, on the next double-spaced line.
  • The title page title, author name(s), and institution information should be in the upper half of the title page paper


(what goes in upper right header of page 1 - allow five spaces between title header and page number)

Seniors Choose     1

What goes in the upper left header (an abbreviated title) of title page?


What needs to be on the title page on the upper half of the sheet?

High School Seniors Choose Jeeps over Compact Cars for Safety Reasons

Dalton Carson and  Charlotte Adams

The University of Alabama at Birmingham


  • Arrange the items on your reference list alphabetically by author, interfiling books, articles, etc.
  • Indent the second and following lines 5 to 7 spaces or one half inch.
  • Use only the initials of the authors' first (and middle) names.
  • If no author is given, start with the title and then the date.
  • If you are using a typewriter that cannot produce italics, then use underlining instead.
  • Magazine articles: include the month (and day) as shown under Newspapers.
  • Websites: if the date the page was created is not given, use (n.d.).
  • The rules concerning a title within a title are not displayed here for purposes of clarity. See the printed version of the manual for details.
  • For documents and situations not listed here, see the printed version of the APA Manual or visit the APA’s website:    www.apastyle.org


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