How to Write a Term Paper in APA Format
If you are taking a graduate-level or introductory psychology class, you should know how to write a term paper in APA format because you will most likely be required to write at least one paper in this format by the time you complete your studies. APA format refers to the American Psychology Association format. It is the official style that is used in writing papers in different disciplines of social sciences. This format dictates how elements should be presented in an APA format paper. Follow the link for more information.
You should know how to write a term paper in APA format to craft professional papers
APA format is widely used in writing research and scientific papers in psychology, business, sociology, criminal justice, nursing, economics and mathematics. It provides guidelines that writers should follow in creating a document that is consistently formatted. These guidelines instruct writers on how to cite references, format title page, display statistics in tables and figures as well as create headings. By following these guidelines, writers come up with a document that readers can read and understand with ease. A professional and quality academic paper in any social science field should be written in APA style. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with APA format guidelines if you are pursuing a career in a social science field.
Key pointers of an APA format paper
Before you begin the journey of mastering how to write a term paper in APA format, you need to know the basics of this format.
Here are the things that you should note about this format:
- Everything should be double-spaced.
- Margins should be 1-inch wide in all sides.
- Several headings should be used in separating different sections of an APA format term paper.
- Some headings can be bolded.
- One space should be left after every punctuation mark with the exception of periods that come after each sentence where two spaces can be used.
- The upper-left side of every page should have a running head written in capital letters.
- Page numbers should be on the upper-right side of the pages.
Pay close attention to these details while writing the paper and while going through it before submitting it for marking.
A seven steps guide on how to write a term paper in APA format
Step 1: Create a title page for your term paper
Compose a title page for your paper with a title, your name and institutional affiliation. The title page should have a page header flushed left and a page number flushed right. Follow the link for more information.
Step 2: Write the abstract or executive summary
Craft an abstract that gives an overview of the term paper. Use between 150 and 200 words to summarize the research presented in the paper- follow the link for more information. Although the abstract is optional, it ought to be one paragraph written in block without indentation. Come up with a good abstract because it is the first section that most journal readers read to determine whether they should read the entire paper. Therefore, describe the major parts of your paper in the abstract.
Step 3: Write the introduction
Craft an introduction that begins with a clear topic paragraph introducing the problem. The first paragraph of your introduction should make the importance of your topic clear. The introduction’s bulk is the background information of the topic you are writing on. Therefore, write the introduction after conducting literature review to get empirical and theoretical basis of your research. Come up with an introduction that offers adequate information so that readers can see the importance of your research and that your hypotheses are strong or reasonable. Cite some sources in the introduction and state the purpose of your research. Make sure that your introduction has a clear thesis statement near the end.
Step 4: Write the method section
It is important to note that how this section is written may vary depending on the instructions from the professor or instructor. While writing some papers, you may have to review literature and therefore your paper will not have a method section. However, the method section has four subsections though the number can be higher. They can use these subheadings or different subheadings depending
These subsections are as follows:
This subsection describes the individuals who took part in the study. They are referred to as participants and not subjects. Their number should be mentioned in this section and the percentage of male and female participants should be included. Other aspects that should be included in this section include the cultural or ethnicity background of the participants and their mean age.
- Research Design
In this subsection, describe the design of your study. This entails describing independent and dependent variables.
Here, describe the instruments or measures that you used in collecting data. For instance, you can describe the used questionnaire. You can also describe the validity and reliability of results.
In this subsection, describe the procedures used to collect data in details. Tell readers how you recruited participants, whether they took part in the study in groups or alone and how their assent or consent was obtained. Let your readers know what you asked the participants to do and their compensation if any.
Step 5: Write the results section
This can be the most difficult step to handle when mastering how to write a term paper in APA format. However, if you practice statistical analysis’ reporting, writing this section becomes easy. In this section, you should present the results of your analysis of the collected data. You can use tables to describe the results especially if you want to report voluminous data such as standard and means deviation. While writing this section, you can find reminding writers the hypothesis that you stated in the introduction helpful. Also tell readers about the data analysis that you did. However, do not explain or interpret the results in this section. Just state the results and whether they supported the hypothesis. Again, do not explain the reason why the results did not support the hypothesis in this section.
Step 6: Write the discussion section
In this section, explain and interpret the results of your study in details. Explain why the study found the results that it did. Tell readers whether the results are what you had predicted or not and why. Think about the findings in a meaningful, theoretical way. Tell readers how the findings fit in the previous literature and theory. Explain whether the results of your study are inconsistent or consistent with the findings of other similar or closely related studies while explaining the cause of the variation. Ensure that your interpretation and explanation forms the largest part of your discussion section.
Also include the limitations of your study in the discussion section. Tell readers about the possible compromises of the external and internal validity of the study. For instance, could the study have used a biased sample? How problematic were your measures? Tell readers what you would do differently in the next study on the same topic. Also describe your findings’ implications to practice and theory. Explain how the study adds to a given psychological theory. Additionally, explain practical applications that the findings can be put into. You can also provide more directions and suggestions for future studies.
Step 7: Cite your references
The last page of an APA format term paper should have a detailed references list. This includes all the sources that you used in writing the paper. The second as well as the subsequent lines of every entry should be indented ½ inch though the first line should be left-justified. The reference list should be alphabetized. The last name of each author of the source should be listed first followed by the first name.
Bonus tips on how to write a term paper in APA format
- Choose the topic of your term paper wisely
Choose a topic that allows you to explore and research more about the subject of your study without making it hard for you to find information sources.
- Start conducting research early
Start by finding articles and books on the topic that you choose early. This will enable you to familiarize with the subject. Take notes of the sources that you find relevant for your study because your paper will need a reference list.
- Revise your paper thoroughly
Do not submit your paper without revising or editing it. Go through your paper once you are done writing it. Make sure that it is free of all errors and that the provided information is supported by adequate sources. Also ensure that you have followed all APA format guidelines in writing the paper.
- Use sample APA term papers
Sample papers will give you important ideas on how to structure your APA format term paper. You can find such samples online especially on the websites of companies that offer academic paper writing services. Use this sample term paper as your writing guide; The Best Accounting System Online.
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