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In the world of writing, there are different ways and standards of citation of compiling assignments. Some of the different writing and citation styles include Harvard, MLA, Chicago, APA, and Turabian. However, the American Psychological Association (APA) is the most common writing styles used by students to write an essay or term paper. This writing style contains four main sections; the title page, abstract, the main body and references. Most importantly, when compiling a paper using the APA style, each of the sections should be written of a separate page. This essay will discuss in detail the key sections and sub-sections found within an APA paper.
The title page acts as the introductory page of the APA paper. Just like other sections of the paper, the title page is written on twelve letters to display what the paper is addressing. The title page contains the title of paper or topic; for instance “The consequences of economic turmoil”, the name of the student, and the name of the university. All these three components should be double spaced.
On the title page, it is extremely vital to ensure that the lettering and size of the letters to be spread in a uniform manner. This means that the title or topic of discussion, the name of the student and the name of the university should be written on twelve letters, double spaced and centered. Besides, contents of the title page should not be underlined, bold or written in italics (Anderson & Widdifield, 2007).
The title page also contains a running head, which is a shorter version of the topic of discussion. The running head should be written at the top left of the page, and should be in caps. It should be distinguished that a running head is not the same as the page header found in other pages. For example, if the topic of discussion is “the consequences of economic turmoil in third world countries”, the running head should be shorter than this. For instance, the running head can be “Economic turmoil” while the page header in other pages can contain the entire wording of the topic. The title or topic of the paper should be placed almost half way down the page to for easy viewing by the reader. The shorter version of the title appears in all subsequent pages, and written in caps with the objective of informing the reader (Schwartz & Gurung, 2012).
The abstract comes on the second page of an APA paper. Quite often, the word “Abstract” should be centered on the page, followed by a 100 to 120 word summary of the paper. Schwartz & Gurung (2012) explain that the main objective of the abstract page is to give an overview of the main concept of the paper. The abstract touches on every section of the paper by highlighting what the paper will contain. The content of the abstract page solely depends of the contents of the paper and the coverage. Therefore, an argumentative paper will contain a different abstract from an essay. However, it is essential to keep the abstract short, precise and to the point.
The body of an APA paper is the most significant as it contains the main contents of the essay. Just like other referencing styles, the body of an APA paper should be written in a straight forward language, which is easy to comprehend for the reader. When using quotes within the paper, the APA format requires that a writer uses the author’s last name, the year of publication and the page number if available. All this information should be placed directly after the quotation and separated by commas. For example, a proper citation in APA format can read as follows: Recent studies have shown “drug abuse among teenagers has increased tremendously, thus affecting their school work.” (Smith, 2010, p. 115).
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In the main body of an APA essay, when the author’s name is mentioned outside the parentheses, there is no need to repeat in again. However, the format will change but contain the same information. For example, the sentence above will change to read like this: Smith (2010, p. 115) argues that drug abuse among teenagers has increased tremendously, thus affecting their school work.
When writing an APA paper, students are encouraged to paraphrase other people’s ideas, come up with their own work. This is vital because it helps students to avoid using page numbers all the time in citations. Although the author remains in paraphrased sentences, it is not necessary to use the page number. For example, drug abuse is a menace in society, which has affected student performance in school (Smith, 2010).
The reference page contains a list of all the authors used in the in texts of the paper. When writing the references, the author’s surname is mentioned first, followed by the abbreviations of the first name separated by commas (Anderson & Widdifield, 2007). This is then followed by year of publication of the book, which is bracketed. The title of the book is then written in italics, followed by the city of publication, and the publishers come last. In case information is accessed from a website, the link should be provided, and the date of access. Below is an example of referencing a book or a website in APA format.
Smith, A. (2010). Drug abuse among teenagers. London: Macmillan.
Drugs in schools (n, d). Retrieved March 10, 2013 from http//cnn.com/drugs-in-schools
The APA style of referencing is most commonly used among students. The basic guideline is that an APA paper should be written using Times New fonts, twelve points spacing and double spacing throughout the text. On both sides of an APA paper, it should have one inch margins and always written in the past tense all the time.
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