Parts of an APA Research Paper: Total Formatting Guide

The APA referencing style is crucial for preparing a B.Sc. degree paper or presenting your research in social sciences. As such, you should master the APA writing style for good grades in your essays.

This guide covers the parts of an APA paper and various rules to acquaint you with proper APA formatting.

What is APA Format for Writing a Paper?

The American Psychological Association (APA) formatting style is standard for presenting academic work in behavioral and social sciences. It is also the most common referencing style taught in college and high school and is set apart from other techniques in that:

  • There are no breaks between the introduction, abstract, result, and discussion.
  • They put a significant emphasis on the date of the cited resources.
  • They are written in the past tense, 12-font, with double spacing and one-inch margins all around.
  • A page header (containing the title of your paper) is included in all pages of your work. This header is known as the running head.

APA Research Paper Structure

The basic research paper sections are: a title page, an abstract page, the body, and reference pages.

The Title Page

This page contains the title of the paper, your name, the name of the institution, and the running head. These should adhere to the spacing and font of an APA paper and be centered.

The running head should highlight the topic of the paper. You should also add a header containing the running head. However, unlike the title page, the header does not include the words' running head'.

On the right side, the header should also indicate page numbers. Student work should also include the registration number, student name, instructor's name, and the due date.

You should organize the title page as:


Authors name

Institution affiliation

Registration number

Instructor's name

Due date


The abstract is written in one block format and should highlight the key arguments presented in your body. This section should not exceed 250 words. It is vital to note that the abstract does not have paragraph indentations.

You may also cover the keywords used in your paper after the abstract section.


This section should be under the title of your paper. For instance, if your paper is about the factors affecting education in developing countries, the introduction placeholder should be:

Factors affecting education in developing countries

The introduction should cover your key points logically, leading to your hypothesis. Preferably, organize your introduction to hook your reader by covering a thought-provoking aspect of your paper in the introduction.


Here, your goal is to describe the process used in research in a precise manner that another expert can replicate. Within this section, cover the participants and procedure used.

When discussing your procedure, including the reasons for your experiment's various actions.


Here, present your findings and highlight the methods you used to derive various conclusions. You may use a chart to visualize your results better and refer to your conclusion from the chart.


The discussion covers your main findings and shows the implications of the results towards your study and theories that could explain various anomalies in your research.

Finally, state why your paper was essential and its contribution to your field.


This is the final section in an APA paper. Unlike other portions in the body, references should take a new page.

Unlike other referencing methods, references in APA are arranged alphabetically. The general structure of the citation is also different from that of other citation methods.

Suppose you are quoting a book named human anatomy by John Silver, published in 2021 by Locum publications in Los Angeles, California. You will write the reference as:

Silver, J. (2021). Human Anatomy. Los Angeles, CA. Locum Publications.

You will write the in-text APA citation for research paper as: (Silver, 2021).

Final Take

Writing a paper in APA format is a must for students in social, behavioral, and business disciplines. This APA guide should come in handy to help you format your paper and avoid minor errors that could impact your score. We wish you all the best in your writing!

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