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APA Style Essentials




APA Style Article
APA Style Proposal

APA Style Essentials
Last modified May 4, 2010

Douglas Degelman, Ph.D.
Vanguard University of Southern California

Print version (PDF)

Document Guidelines
Title Page
Text Citations

APA Publication Manual

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., 2010) and the APA Style web site ( provide a comprehensive reference guide to writing using APA style, organization, and content. To order a copy of the Publication Manual online, go to To view “PDF” documents referenced on this APA Style Essentials page, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download the free Acrobat Reader, go to


The purpose of this document is to provide a common core of elements of APA style that all members of an academic department can adopt as minimal standards for any assignment that specifies APA style. This Web document is itself not a model of APA style. For an example of a complete article formatted according to APA style, go to For an example of an undergraduate research proposal, go to To download a Microsoft Word template of an APA-style paper, go to

  1. General Document Guidelines
    1. Margins: One inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, right)
    2. Font Size and Type: 12-pt. Times New Roman font
    3. Line Spacing: Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, references, appendixes, footnotes, tables, and figures.
    4. Spacing after Punctuation: Space once after commas, colons, and semicolons within sentences. Insert two spaces after punctuation marks that end sentences.
    5. Alignment: Flush left (creating uneven right margin)
    6. Paragraph Indentation: 5-7 spaces
    7. Pagination: The page number appears one inch from the right edge of the paper on the first line of every page.
    8. Running Head: The running head is a short title that appears at the top of the pages of a paper or published article. The running head is typed flush left at the top of all pages. The running head should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation and spacing. Using most word processors, the running head and page number can be inserted into a header, which then automatically appears on all pages.
    9. Active voice: As a general rule, use the active voice rather than the passive voice. For example, use “We predicted that …” rather than “It was predicted that …”
    10. Order of Pages: Title Page, Abstract, Body, References, Footnotes, Tables, Figures, Appendixes
  2. Title Page
    1. Pagination: The Title Page is page 1.
    2. Running Head: The running head is typed flush left (all uppercase) following “Running head:”
    3. Key Elements: Paper title, author(s), institutional affiliation(s), author note.
    4. Paper Title: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the page.
    5. Author(s): Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the title.
    6. Institutional affiliation: Uppercase and lowercase letters, centered on the line following the author(s).
    7. Author Note: Provide information about the author’s departmental affiliation, acknowledgments of assistance or financial support, and a mailing address for correspondence.
    8. Example of APA-formatted Title Page:
  3. Abstract: The abstract is a one-paragraph, self-contained summary of the most important elements of the paper.
    1. Pagination: The abstract begins on a new page (page 2).
    2. Heading: “Abstract” (centered on the first line below the running head)
    3. Format: The abstract (in block format) begins on the line following the Abstract heading. The abstract word limit is set by individual journals. Typically, the word limit is between 150 and 250 words. All numbers in the abstract (except those beginning a sentence) should be typed as digits rather than words.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Abstract:
  4. Body
    1. Pagination: The body of the paper begins on a new page (page 3). Subsections of the body of the paper do not begin on new pages.
    2. Title: The title of the paper (in uppercase and lowercase letters) is centered on the first line below the running head.
    3. Introduction: The introduction (which is not labeled) begins on the line following the paper title.
    4. Headings: Five levels of headings are available to be used to organize the paper and reflect the relative importance of sections. For example, many empirical research articles utilize two levels of headings: Main headings (such as Method, Results, Discussion, References) would use Level 1 (centered, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters), and subheadings (such as Participants, Apparatus, and Procedure as subsections of the Method section) would use Level 2 (flush left, boldface, uppercase and lowercase letters).
    5. Example of APA-formatted Headings:
  5. Text citations: Source material must be documented in the body of the paper by citing the author(s) and date(s) of the sources. The underlying principle is that ideas and words of others must be formally acknowledged. The reader can obtain the full source citation from the list of references that follows the body of the paper.
    1. When the names of the authors of a source are part of the formal structure of the sentence, the year of publication appears in parentheses following the identification of the authors. Consider the following example:

      Wirth and Mitchell (1994) found that although there was a reduction in insulin dosage over a period of two weeks in the treatment condition compared to the control condition, the difference was not statistically significant.

      [Note: and is used when multiple authors are identified as part of the formal structure of the sentence. Compare this to the example in the following section.]

    2. When the authors of a source are not part of the formal structure of the sentence, both the authors and year of publication appear in parentheses. Consider the following example:

      Reviews of research on religion and health have concluded that at least some types of religious behaviors are related to higher levels of physical and mental health (Gartner, Larson, & Allen, 1991; Koenig, 1990; Levin & Vanderpool, 1991; Maton & Pargament, 1987; Paloma & Pendleton, 1991; Payne, Bergin, Bielema, & Jenkins, 1991).

      [Note: & is used when multiple authors are identified in parenthetical material. Note also that when several sources are cited parenthetically, they are ordered alphabetically by first authors’ surnames and separated by semicolons.]

    3. When a source that has two authors is cited, both authors are included every time the source is cited.
    4. When a source that has three, four, or five authors is cited, all authors are included the first time the source is cited. When that source is cited again, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used. Consider the following example:

      Reviews of research on religion and health have concluded that at least some types of religious behaviors are related to higher levels of physical and mental health (Payne, Bergin, Bielema, & Jenkins, 1991).

      Payne et al. (1991) showed that …

    5. When a source that has six or more authors is cited, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used every time the source is cited (including the first time).
    6. Every effort should be made to cite only sources that you have actually read. When it is necessary to cite a source that you have not read (“Grayson” in the following example) that is cited in a source that you have read (“Murzynski & Degelman” in the following example), use the following format for the text citation and list only the source you have read in the References list:

      Grayson (as cited in Murzynski & Degelman, 1996) identified four components of body language that were related to judgments of vulnerability.

    7. To cite a personal communication (including letters, emails, and telephone interviews), include initials, surname, and as exact a date as possible. Because a personal communication is not “recoverable” information, it is not included in the References section. For the text citation, use the following format:

      B. F. Skinner (personal communication, February 12, 1978) claimed …

    8. To cite a Web document, use the author-date format. If no author is identified, use the first few words of the title in place of the author. If no date is provided, use “n.d.” in place of the date. Consider the following examples:

      Degelman (2009) summarizes guidelines for the use of APA writing style.

      Changes in Americans’ views of gender status differences have been documented (Gender and Society, n.d.).

    9. To cite the Bible, provide the book, chapter, and verse. The first time the Bible is cited in the text, identify the version used. Consider the following example:

      “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Psalm 86:5, New International Version).

      [Note: No entry in the References list is needed for the Bible.]

  6. Quotations: When a direct quotation is used, always include the author, year, and page number as part of the citation.
    1. A quotation of fewer than 40 words should be enclosed in double quotation marks and should be incorporated into the formal structure of the sentence. Consider the following example:

      Patients receiving prayer had “less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated” (Byrd, 1988, p. 829).

    2. A lengthier quotation of 40 or more words should appear (without quotation marks) apart from the surrounding text, in block format, with each line indented five spaces from the left margin.
  7. References: All sources included in the References section must be cited in the body of the paper (and all sources cited in the paper must be included in the References section).
    1. Pagination: The References section begins on a new page.
    2. Heading: “References” (centered on the first line below the running head)
    3. Format: The references (with hanging indent) begin on the line following the References heading. Entries are organized alphabetically by surnames of first authors. Most reference entries have the following components:
      1. Authors: Authors are listed in the same order as specified in the source, using surnames and initials. Commas separate all authors. When there are eight or more authors, list the first six authors followed by three ellipses (…) and then the final author. If no author is identified, the title of the document begins the reference.
      2. Year of Publication: In parentheses following authors, with a period following the closing parenthesis. If no publication date is identified, use “n.d.” in parentheses following the authors.
      3. Source Reference: Includes title, journal, volume, pages (for journal article) or title, city of publication, publisher (for book). Italicize titles of books, titles of periodicals, and periodical volume numbers.
      4. Electronic Retrieval Information: Electronic retrieval information may include digital object identifiers (DOIs) or uniform resource locators (URLs). DOIs are unique alphanumeric identifiers that lead users to digital source material. To learn whether an article has been assigned a DOI, go to
    4. Example of APA-formatted References: Go to
    5. Examples of sources
      1. Journal article with DOI

        Murzynski, J., & Degelman, D. (1996). Body language of women and judgments of vulnerability to sexual assault. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 1617-1626. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.1996.tb00088.x

      2. Journal article without DOI, print version

        Koenig, H. G. (1990). Research on religion and mental health in later life: A review and commentary. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 23-53.

      3. Journal article without DOI, retrieved online [Note: For articles retrieved from databases, include the URL of the journal home page. Database information is not needed. Do not include the date of retrieval.]

        Aldridge, D. (1991). Spirituality, healing and medicine. British Journal of General Practice, 41, 425-427. Retrieved from

      4. Book

        Paloutzian, R. F. (1996). Invitation to the psychology of religion (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

      5. Informally published Web document

        Degelman, D. (2009). APA style essentials. Retrieved from

      6. Informally published Web document (no date)

        Nielsen, M. E. (n.d.). Notable people in psychology of religion. Retrieved from

      7. Informally published Web document (no author, no date)

        Gender and society. (n.d.). Retrieved from

      8. Abstract from secondary database

        Garrity, K., & Degelman, D. (1990). Effect of server introduction on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 168-172. Abstract retrieved from PsycINFO database.

      9. Article or chapter in an edited book

        Shea, J. D. (1992). Religion and sexual adjustment. In J. F. Schumaker (Ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 70-84). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

      10. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

        American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.

  8. Footnotes: Content footnotes are occasionally used to support substantive information in the text. A content footnote may be placed at the bottom of the page on which it is discussed or on a separate page following the References.  
    1. Pagination: Footnotes begin on a separate page.
    2. Heading: “Footnotes” is centered on the first line below the running head.
    3. Format: Indent the first line of each footnote 5-7 spaces and number the foonotes (slightly above the line) as they are identified in the text.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Footnotes:
  9. Tables: A common use of tables is to present quantitative data or the results of statistical analyses (such as ANOVA). See the Publication Manual (2010, pp. 128-150) for detailed examples. Tables must be mentioned in the text.
    1. Pagination: Each Table begins on a separate page.
    2. Heading: “Table 1″ (or 2 or 3, etc.) is typed flush left on the first line below the running head. Double-space and type the table title flush left (italicized in uppercase and lowercase letters).
    3. Example of APA-formatted Tables:
  10. Figures: A common use of Figures is to present graphs, photographs, or other illustrations (other than tables). See the Publication Manual (2010, pp. 150-167) for detailed examples.
    1. Pagination: Figures begin on a separate page.
    2. Figure Caption: “Figure 1.” (or 2 or 3, etc.) is typed flush left and italicized on the first line below the figure, immediately followed on the same line by the caption (which should be a brief descriptive phrase).
    3. Example of APA-formatted Figure:
  11. Appendixes: A common use of appendixes is to present unpublished tests or to describe complex equipment or stimulus materials.  
    1. Pagination: Each Appendix begins on a separate page.
    2. Heading:If there is only one appendix, “Appendix” is centered on the first line below the manuscript page header. If there is more than one appendix, use Appendix A (or B or C, etc.). Double-space and type the appendix title (centered in uppercase and lowercase letters).
    3. Format: Indent the first line 5-7 spaces.
    4. Example of APA-formatted Appendix:

Changes in ESL Endorsement Certification


Changes in ESL Endorsement Certification

New Regulation 16 KAR 2:200

Add a probationary certificate program for English as a Second Language.(Use Form C-EL)


This allows a teacher to enter a probationary program and have two years to complete the


ESL endorsement while teaching ESL.


We anticipate that institutions now offering ESL endorsement will take part in this.


Restrict the issuance of emergency certificates to current year only, allowing only


one re-issuance in cases where the emergency certificate was:


–issued after February 15 OR


–was used for less than 50% of the teacher’s schedule during the first issuance.


EFFECTIVE July 1, 2011


–This change means that all emergency certificates issued for the 2010-11


school year will likely not be able to be reissued again to the same person FOR




–These teachers must enroll in a teacher certification program to continue


in the classroom for your district in 2011-12.


 Contact the Division of Certification at: (for supts and HR directors)

Colleges Extend Conditional Admissions to Pull In More International Students


The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Monday, August 9, 2010

August 8, 2010

Colleges Extend Conditional Admissions to Pull In More International Students

Candidates with strong academic backgrounds but weak language skills find more options in the U.S.

Colleges Extend Conditional Admissions to Pull In More International Students 2

Ray Husum (left) teaches at a center run by ELS, a language-instruction company that forms partnerships with colleges.

By Karin Fischer

Rasheed Alanazi’s ambition was to study in the United States.

Standing in the way of the Saudi Arabian student’s dream was the reality that his English skills weren’t strong enough to allow him to keep pace in an American college classroom. In fact, Mr. Alanazi, 21, had had just two months of English instruction before he came to the United States, in February.

But he was able to win admission to Plymouth State University, in New Hampshire—with the stipulation that he raise his language proficiency before starting classes. Already, Mr. Alanazi, who has a scholarship from the Saudi government, has moved from a beginner to an intermediate level of English-language instruction and hopes to begin studying for a business degree next year.

“America is the best country is the world for studying,” he says, in clear and careful English. “The best universities are here.”

Enlarge Image Colleges Extend Conditional Admissions to Pull In More International Students 1

Photographs by Owen Riley Jr. for The Chronicle

Zepeng (Spark) Xue (left and below, right), a student from China who was conditionally accepted to Clemson U., practices English with Ray Husum at a center run by ELS, a language-instruction company.

close Colleges Extend Conditional Admissions to Pull In More International Students 1

Photographs by Owen Riley Jr. for The Chronicle

Zepeng (Spark) Xue (left and below, right), a student from China who was conditionally accepted to Clemson U., practices English with Ray Husum at a center run by ELS, a language-instruction company.

No firm statistics exist for the number of foreign students who, like Mr. Alanazi, are offered conditional admission to an American college even though their English-language skills might not meet entrance standards. With a provisional offer in hand, students then polish their English at the college or at an approved language school before taking an English-proficiency exam.

Still, international-admission counselors, overseas recruiters, and English-language instructors say the practice is growing in popularity. Some colleges, like Plymouth State, have embraced conditional admission as a way to expand foreign-student numbers.

And institutions with longstanding provisional-acceptance programs say interest is increasing sharply. At Iowa State University, which has offered conditional admission for three decades, intensive-English enrollments have tripled in recent years, says Patricia J. Parker, assistant director of admissions.

“It’s the wave of the future,” says Robert (Bert) Barry, director of international services at Saint Louis University, which expects to enroll as many as 200 conditionally admitted students in its intensive-English program this fall.

Much of the demand is being driven by the record number of Chinese undergraduates pouring into American colleges. Some of these students need extra English instruction, while others simply do not have time to sit for the English test as well as their high-school exit exam and China’s rigorous national university-entrance exam.

The practice also appeals to students who think a conditional-admission offer will help them get an American visa more easily than if they applied to go to the United States for language study only.

Studying in America “is a huge investment in these economic times,” says Tara Kelley, director of the ELS Language Center, on the Clemson University campus. “Students want a guarantee.”

For U.S. colleges, conditional admission is gaining acceptance as yet another recruiting tool in an increasingly competitive global marketplace for top foreign students. American institutions “used to be prepared to let students enter only on our own terms,” says Mitch Leventhal, vice chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York.

Now a growing number of colleges see conditional admission as “part of a comprehensive recruiting strategy,” Mr. Leventhal says. “If you don’t do it, you could cut off a substantial part of your market.”

Learning the Language

International educators emphasize that conditionally admitted students meet all other university entrance requirements.

“Our conditional admits are not because we think there’s any academic deficiency,” says Sara Allaei, assistant dean for international affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, who notes that the institution’s international students, on average, earn higher grades than their domestic counterparts. “They’ve definitely met our level of academic performance.”

IUPUI may provisionally admit a student who does not meet the university’s required scores on the Toefl or its competitor test, the International English Language Testing System, better known by its acronym, Ielts, Ms. Allaei says.

Like many other institutions that give conditional admissions, IUPUI honors the offer for a year. Some students require a full year to become proficient, while others need just a semester or a summer to hone their skills.

Historically, only those institutions with homegrown intensive-English programs, like Iowa State and IUPUI, were able to issue provisional acceptances.

Today an increasing number of colleges have formed partnerships with independent providers. ELS Educational Services Inc., one of the largest, has some 55 centers nationwide, most on college campuses, and has admission agreements with hundreds more.

The University of La Verne, in California, signed on with ELS four years ago. Jeffrey L. Nonemaker, director of international-student recruitment and admissions, says going with the private company allowed La Verne to more rapidly expand its international enrollment without taking on new administrative burdens.

While students apply for admission to both the university and the language center, ELS staff members deal with much of the paperwork and issue entry documents, known as I-20 forms, to students.

ELS also handles the English-language instruction. Students in its program, which has 12 levels, from beginner to advanced, take classes 30 hours a week, for four-week sessions each. Students learn vocabulary and grammar, get practice speaking, listening, and writing, and are tutored in American culture and customs, the company’s Ms. Kelley says. At upper levels, they use typical college texts.

For college admission, students must typically complete the ELS course work, retake and pass an English-proficiency exam, and, at some institutions, sit for a university-specific placement test.

Some colleges develop their own curricula. Saint Louis, for example, requires its intensive-English students to do community-based service-learning projects to give them speaking experience, outside the classroom and pairs them with honors students for additional one-on-one conversation practice, Mr. Barry says. More-proficient students are also able to enroll in some regular academic courses at the private college even before they have completed the language program.

Percy Ho, vice president for overseas development at Aoji Education Group, a Chinese recruiting company, says American college administrators have told him they think conditional admission can be useful for students whose English-language skills mainly need fine tuning.

“Studying English in a classroom is different than when a student has to learn and live in a total-immersion environment,” Mr. Ho says, adding that intensive-English programs frequently prepare international students for American academic culture, teaching them study skills and basic research methods. “These students often perform better.”

Appealing to Students

This spring Aoji and ELS jointly sponsored a recruitment fair in Beijing, one of several the English-instruction company organized for its partner colleges. ELS gives little-known colleges access to its agent network, advice on recruiting overseas, and exposure to students, parents, and schools, says Susan Kassab, the company’s director of university admission services.

Plymouth State, which participated in the Beijing fair, had struggled to recruit internationally, says Dick Hage, who recently stepped down as vice president for student affairs. “We’re just not a household name.”

After signing with ELS last September, Plymouth State received 58 international applications by the end of 2009. The college typically enrolls only about 70 overseas students in total.

Like Plymouth State, other U.S. colleges are under pressure to attract more international students as a way to globalize at home and, in an increasingly tight budget environment, to bolster their bottom lines. Some institutions see conditional admission as a method to tap a new group of foreign students. George daPonte, director of international admissions at the University of Tampa, says several colleagues in recent months have asked for a copy of his conditional-admission letter to use as a model for programs at their own institutions.

Mr. Nonemaker, of La Verne, says he also gets inquiries about conditional admission from international students. “They have friends who got a conditional letter, and they’re interested, too,” he says.

One of the main reasons for overseas demand, he says, is that students believe a university acceptance, even provisional, will help them get an American visa. (For their part, U.S. State Department officials have said they do not discriminate against students seeking language study only.)

Most of the colleges contacted by The Chronicle said Chinese students were by far the largest group of provisionally admitted students. “Our bread and butter,” says Ms. Parker of Iowa State, who adds many are bright students who did not want to “dilute” their studies for the national university entrance exam by preparing for the English-language test at the same time.

Other sending countries include Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam—nations with an expanding middle class or with large government-sponsored scholarship programs for overseas study, Ms. Kassab says. Interest, she says, tends to drop off as English proficiency improves in a country and as students and their parents gain greater sophistication about overseas study. The number of Korean students, for one, has fallen off as that market has “matured,” she says.

A Viable Option

But turning a conditional-admission offer into a full-fledged acceptance doesn’t come cheaply for students. While less expensive than regular undergraduate tuition, English-language programs are costly. Intensive-English students at Saint Louis, for example, pay $11,010 in tuition for a nine-month program, with fees rising to around $25,000 with living expenses factored in. The expense means that conditional admission may not be a viable option for many international students.

Offering provisional acceptances also works far better for undergraduate than graduate students, as most upper-level students must already have greater English proficiency to do well on the GRE. In addition, graduate programs, particularly on the doctoral level, tend to take on just a handful of students each year and therefore can be choosier.

At least one university that previously offered conditional admission has backed away from the practice. Golden Gate University’s conditional-admission program was a moneymaker, says Karen McRobie, director of the San Francisco institution’s Preparation for Language and University Studies, or PLUS, program, but it was halted in 2003 out of concern that it “wasn’t integrated well enough into the university’s mission.”

The conditional-admission students were “free agents,” Ms. McRobie says; as a result, few eventually enrolled at the university. By contrast, the PLUS program—which pairs regular course work with English-language instruction and intensive academic support—has a 90-percent retention rate, she says.

International-admissions officials at other colleges dismiss such concerns. At Saint Louis, more than 80 percent of the students offered conditional admission enroll at the university, Mr. Barry says.

“The message we give is,” he says, “if students are likely to succeed, we don’t want English to be a barrier.”

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