APA Style Checklist – 6th Edition

APA Style Checklist – 6th Edition

APA Style Checklist – 6th Edition 

As you write your APA Style paper, these tips may help you remember everything that is needed to put your paper together successfully.
The list is not a complete guide and should be used in conjunction with the current Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition, 2009), herein as the APA Publication Manual.
If you are in any doubt, check the APA Publication Manual or ask your instructor/advisor.

Title Page

The title page is the very first page of your paper. It must follow these guidelines;

  • The header must be flush left, 1/2 inch from the top.
  • Page number 1 is flush right on the same line.
  • The title should match the paper title but shortened if needed. No more than 50 characters in length, including spaces.
  • Title. This must be Centered in the upper half of the page. Double spaced, use font Times New Roman 12pt. Use upper and lowercase letters. i.e., the first letter of any major words capitalized (4 words or higher). Do not use bold, italics, underlining, or any abnormal font size.
  • The institutional affiliation is double-spaced under your name. Do not use bold, italics, underlining, or any abnormal font size.
  • Any other information required by your program is double-spaced under the institutional affiliation.


General Formatting

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman font.Note: This is not the default in Microsoft Word 2007, so make sure to change the font and size.
  • The whole document must be double-spaced
  • Margins must be 1 inch all around
  • Text must be flush with the left margin. Do not justify lines.
  • Paragraphs must be indented 0.5 inch (use the tab button once ) Do not leave extra space between paragraphs.
  • Leave two spaces after a full stop, one space after a comma.
  • Do not use contractions, ( example: use do not instead of don’t)
  • It is strongly suggested you do not use personal pronouns or any slang.
  • Lists can be alphabetized, enumerated, or bulleted
  • Use of numbers. Zero to nine should be written in text and 10 plus use Arabic numerals.
  • Use numerals for units of measurement (15 mg, 7 cm)
  • Do not begin a sentence with a digit, spell it out.
  • Each page must have a header with the title in all caps, starting from the left margin and the page number flush right, all on the same line.
  • The Header matches what was used on page 1 but the part, Running head, is omitted for the remainder of the pages.
  • An example of a sequence of your paper is:
    Title Page, Abstract, Table of content
    Body of Paper,
    References, Tables, Figures, Appendices.
    (Please note not all of the above are required.)
  • The paper title is repeated in full on the first page of the body of the paper. The first letter of any major words are capitalized (4 words or greater).
  • Use the spell check on your word processor and read through the paper carefully several times to catch any typos, left out words, punctuation issues, etc. (please note your spell checker will not find all errors)
  • Once you start typing the body of the, do not use page breaks until you have finished the body of the paper and are ready to type the References list.
  • Use abbreviations only if they will make your paper easier to read. You will need to write it out completely the first time you use it and follow it immediately with the abbreviation in parentheses. For example:
    According to research from the United Nations (UN)


The abstract is a summary of your paper, and it will usually refer to the purpose, the methodology, and the highlights of your research

  • The abstract is always on Page 2.
    The abstract should be 1 page. The header is the same as the cover, the text is in all caps, and page number 2 is flush right margin. All are on the same line.
  • The page title Abstract must be centered, 1 inch from the top of the page. It is not in bold, not in capitals, and standard 12 pt.
  • The abstract should be 150-250 words.

Levels of Headings

APA style uses different heading to organize the information in your paper.

The following table is from the Publication Manual (P62)





Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading


Flush Left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading


       Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


       Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


       Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading ending with a period.


In-text citations

If you use information in your paper that is from another source, you must state this, using an inline citation and reference it on the references page.

  • All quotations under 40 words are enclosed in quotation marks. The in-text parenthetical phrase comes before the ending punctuation.
  • All quotations above 40 words are shown as an indented block quote with no additional beginning paragraph indenting. The parenthetical phrase comes after the punctuation.
  • Paraphrasing is a restatement of the original source in my own words.
  • Direct quotations include the author (or title if no author), the date, and specific part of the source (page #, paragraph # or section title).
  • For any multi-author sources, for any sources with more than 3 and less than 6 authors they are all written out the first time, but subsequent use, I can use the first author followed by et al.
  • APA style uses the author-date system for citing references in the text of your paper. Each reference cited in the text will appear alphabetically in your reference list. A helpful chart of basic citation styles appears in the Publication Manual. (P177)

Direct quotations

In addition to the author and the date, direct quotations must also include the page number (or paragraph number for nonpaginated sources). For example, (Anderson, 2015, p. 68) or, for a nonpaginated source such as online material, (Smith, 2016, para. 12). Use the abbreviation pp. for multiple pages.


Page or paragraph numbers should also be included when paraphrasing to help your reader locate the material you used in the original source.
Author’s name in tagline
Patterson (2013) studied motor inhibition in baseball players.
Author’s name in parentheses
Complex motor skills were studied in a baseball batting simulation (Patterson, 2013).

Two authors

You need to cite both the author’s names every time you refer to work by two authors. If the names are mentioned to in the text, only the year appears in parentheses. If the names are not referred to in the text, include them in the parenthetical reference, joined by an ampersand (&).
Bishop and Hamilton (2017) found a high rate of depression in the participants. A high rate of depression was found among the participants (Bishop & Hamilton, 2017).

Three, four, or five authors

You must cite all authors, either in text or parenthetically, the first time they are referred to. From then all, use only the surname of the first author, followed by et al. Notice in the following examples that et al., which means and others,is not italicized and ends with a period.
First-time authors referred to in the text:
Best, Finney, and Myers (2014) presented participants with conflicting information.
Subsequent references to the same authors in the text:
Best et al. (2014) found that the subjects were unable to make decisions.
First-time authors referred to in the parenthetical reference:
Participants in the study were presented with conflicting information (Best, Finney, & Myers, 2014).
Subsequent parenthetical references to same authors:
The subjects in the study were unable to make decisions (Best et al., 2014).

Six or more authors

When there are six or more authors, use the last name of the first author followed by et al. for the first citation in the text, as well as subsequent citations. Follow the same format for the parenthetical reference.
For example, the article Inequality, Discrimination, and the Power of the Status Quo: Direct Evidence for a Motivation to See the Way Things Are as the Way They Should Be, which appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, has seven authors.
Following are examples of citing this work in text. This format is used for the first citation in-text, and all subsequent citations.
Key et al. (2012) studied the power of the status quo.
A recent study examined the power of the status quo (Key et al., 2012).
There are different rules for the reference list. The reference list will show all authors up to and including seven authors. See page 13 of this handout for the reference list citation for the above.
When there are more than seven authors, you will cite them in-text as shown above, but the reference list will not show them all.

Secondary sources

Use material from original sources whenever possible. If you need to cite something that was mentioned or quoted in someone else’s work, mention the original work in the text of your paper, but list the secondary source in your parenthetical reference and in the reference list.
For example, if Pike’s work is cited in Smith’s work and you did not read Pike’s work, you will mention Pike’s work in the text of your paper, but reference Smith’s work, both parenthetically and in the reference list.
Pike’s study (as cited in Smith, 2017) . . .In the above example, Smith’s work will be the one listed in your reference list.
Work listed by title

If no author is given, use the article title (in quotation marks) or book title (italicized) in the text of your paper and in the parenthetical reference. You may use just the first several words if the title is lengthy. For example, a parenthetical reference to the article. Remember the Factual information by Cramming With Fat which appeared in New Scientist without an identified author, would be shown as (Remember the Factual information, 2007).

Personal communications

Personal communications that are not recoverable, such as personal or phone interviews, e-mail messages, and memos, are cited in the text only and are not included in the reference list.
(H.J. Hick, personal communication, November 16, 2016)
Ellipsis points (three spaced periods) are used to designate that material has been omitted from the source material.


Errors in source material

If there is an error in the original source which might be confusing to the reader, you may add sic, which is Latin for thus, to assure your readers that the quote is accurate, even with the error. Do not correct the error. The word sic should be inserted immediately after the error and should be italicized and bracketed, like this: [sic].
Citing more than one source in a single parenthetical reference
Following are some examples.
Two works by the same author (arranged by year of publication)
(May, 1999, 2007)
Two works by different authors (arranged alphabetically by the first author’s surname and separated by a semicolon) (Jones, 2016; May & Barton, 2017)

Group authors

Names of group authors, such as corporations, associations, and government agencies, are to be spelled out in full the first time they are mentioned in the text of your paper. You may choose to abbreviate the name in the parenthetical reference if the group’s name is long or if the group has a familiar or easily understandable acronym. If the group’s name is short, or if the group does not have a readily understandable abbreviation, write out the name each time you use it.
For example, write out the name United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) the first time you mention them in the text of your paper. Since this group is readily identified through abbreviation, you may use an abbreviation in the parenthetical reference, such as (UNHRC, 2016). When you mention this group later in your paper, you may refer to them as the UNHRC, both in the text of your paper and in the parenthetical reference. If you did not mention the group in the text of your paper, but need to reference them parenthetically, your first citation will be formatted as in this example: (United Nations Human Rights Council [UNHRC], 2016). Subsequent citations will be shown as (UNHRC, 2016).

Block quotation

If a quotation is 40 or more words, set it off by beginning a new line, indenting it one tab from the left margin. Double-space the quotation and do not use quotation marks. The parenthetical reference appears at the end of the block quotation, following the ending punctuation mark. Example:
In 2006, Ray English reviewed the rationale for open access: The movement for public access to government-funded research is based on simple but powerful principles. Taxpayers who fund research have a right to easy and effective access to the research that they pay for through tax dollars. In the age of the Internet, in which research can be shared instantaneously, it makes no sense for federally funded research to be accessible only through expensive journals that are available only in a limited number of research libraries. (p. 412)
If the author and date were not mentioned in the introductory text, they would need to be included in the parenthetical reference at the end of the quotation. Example: (English, 2016, p. 412)

Table of content

  • The table of content should be page 3.
  • The page should have the page title at the top, centered and bold.
  • Below should details the main section of the paper, far left and page number far right.

List of tables

If you have a large number of tables in your paper, you should form a list of tables. This would be the page just after the table of content, page 4, usually.
If not, you should list the page number of each table on the table of contents. Using the title “Table 1”, “Table 2, etc.

List of Appendices

If you have a large number of appendices in your paper, you should form a list of appendices. This would be the page just after the table of content, page 5, usually.
If not, you should list the page number of each appendix on the table of contents. Using the title “Appendix A”, “Appendix B”


These should follow on after the references page at the end of the paper. Use 1 page per table and give it the title”Table 1″, “Table 2, etc. top center.


These should follow on after the Tables page at the end of the paper. Use 1 page per appendix and give it the title”Appendix A”, “Appendix B” top center.


This should be the final part of the paper an up to date resume of the writer.


Plagiarism is using someone else’s work and submitting it as your own, failing to give appropriate acknowledgment when directly quoting or paraphrasing another, or presenting another’s line of thinking without giving credit. It is very easy to detect plagiarised work, as there is a lot of software available now.

Do not repeat the author’s keywords or sentence structure when paraphrasing.
Commonly-known or understood material, such as a scientific truth or historical dates, do not have to be documented, nor do proverbs, sayings, and clich’s.

When writing, keep the following in mind:

  • Differentiate between paraphrase or summary and directly-quoted material.
  • Do not copy and paste content directly from a source without citing it.
  • Memorable or key phrases must be reworded unless directly quoted.
  • Document or cite all lines of argument or reasoning.


Reference Page

The page title, References, must be centered, 1 inch from the top of the page and starts a new page. The standard 12-point font should be used, without effects such as bolding, italics or underlining.

  • All sources listed in the References have at least one corresponding in-text citation.
  • References are listed in alphabetical order.
  • All lines are double-spaced, and for each entry, the hanging indent is used.

    Order of references in the reference list:

  • When alphabetizing, remember that “nothing precedes something.” In the above reference list, Brown precedes Browning.
  • If you are citing two or more works by the same author, always repeat the author’s name and order them by year of publication, with the earliest first.
  • One-author entries appear in the reference list before multiple-author entries beginning with the same surname, regardless of the year.
  • For entries beginning with the same name, but with different coauthors, alphabetize by the last names of the second author listed.


    Publication Manual pages 183-192, examples on pages 202-205

    Citations for books include the following:

  • Author’s name (initials are used for the first and middle names)
  • Year of publication (in parentheses)
  • Title of work italicized (capitalize only the first word of the title, the first word of the subtitle, and any proper nouns)
  • Publication information

    Place of publication

    List the city and state as shown on the title page. If the publisher is outside of the United States, list the city and country


  • If the publisher is a university and the name of the state is included in the university’s name, do not repeat the state in the publisher’s location
  • Use the official two-letter U.S. Postal Service abbreviation for U.S. StatesPublisher’s name. You may use a brief form of the publisher’s name, as long as it still clearly identifies the publisher.
  • Write out the names of associations, corporations, and university presses
  • Omit terms such as Publishers, Co., Corp., Inc.
  • Retain the words Books and Press

    Book by a single author or editor

    Fair, J. D. (1999). Muscletown USA: Bob Hoffman and the manly culture of York Barbell. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Gallagher, G. W. (Ed.). (1989). Fighting for the Confederacy: The personal recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

    Wood, E. W., Jr. (2006). Worshipping the myths of World War II: Reflections on America’s dedication to war. Washington, DC: Potomac Books.

    Book by two or more authors

    Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2003). The craft of research (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    If there are more than seven authors, list the first six authors’ names, followed by three ellipses, and then add the final author’s name. See the example in the scholarly journal article section of this handout.

    Book by a corporate author

    A corporate author can be an association, a committee, or any group whose members are not identified individually. When the author and the publisher are the same, use the word Author as the name of the publisher.

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

    American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

    Chapter in a book

    Begin the citation with the information for the chapter you are using, followed by the information for the book. Notice the page numbers for the piece you are citing appear after the title of the book.

    Putnam, J. W. (2009). Cooperative learning for inclusion. In P. Hick, R. Kershner, & P. T. Farrell (Eds.), Psychology for inclusive education: New directions in theory and practice (pp. 81-95). London, England: Routledge.

    Article from a reference book

    Begin the citation with the author for the entry you are citing. If no author is given, begin the citation with the title of the entry.

    Moore, C. C., & Munroe, R. L. (2000). Cognitive anthropology. In A.E. Kazdin (Ed.), Encylopedia of psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 132-135). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Reber, A. S. (1995). Phenomenology. In The Penguin dictionary of psychology (2nd ed., p. 564). London, England: Penguin Books.

    Article from an online reference book

    Hajek, P. (2006). Fuzzy logic. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2009 ed.). Retreived from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2009/entries/logic-fuzzy/

    Accessed through Gale Virtual Reference Library, a library subscription database

    Cameron, J., & Pierce, W. D. (2008). Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. In N. J. Salkind & K. Rasmussen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of educational psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 555-560). Retrieved from www.go.galegroup.com


    Publication Manual, pages 183-192, examples on pages 198-202

    APA style recommends including the digital object identifier (DOI) for both print and online sources, if it is available. The DOI is a unique identifier assigned to articles as a way to help readers locate the content online through registration agencies, such as CrossRef.org. The DOI is usually found on the first page of the article, near the copyright notice.

    Citations for articles usually include the following:


  • Author’s name (initials are used for the first and middle names)
  • Year of publication (in parentheses) for scholarly journal articles
  • Year and exact date of publication (in parentheses) for magazines and newspapers
  • Title of the article (capitalize only the first word of the title, the first word of the subtitle, and any proper nouns)
  • Periodical title (use uppercase and lowercase letters and italicize the title)
  • Volume number (italicized)
  • Issue number (include, in parentheses and not italicized, only if each issue of the journal is paginated separately)
  • Inclusive page numbers
  • Digital object identifier (for both print and online sources, if available) DOIGuidelines for articles obtained through a library subscription database
  • When a DOI is used, no further retrieval information is necessary. Most scholarly journal articles will have a DOI.
    If a DOI is not available, include the URL for the home page of the journal, magazine, or newspaper (do not include a period at the end of this URL). Do not include the name of the database in the citation.This retrieval statement may not seem accurate to you, since you are stating the article was retrieved from the journal’s home page, when you actually retrieved it from a library subscription database. However, the intent of the APA rule is to lead a reader as closely as possible to the source. Since not everyone will have access to the same databases, and the journals included in a particular database are subject to change, the decision was made not to include database information in citations. This is true even if you cannot access the article online through the journal’s website.The exception to the above rule involves material of limited circulation, as well as articles from discontinued journals that are archived in a database such as JSTOR, and articles that have been informally published in ERIC.

    Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied © 2009 American Psychological Association 2009, Vol. 15, No. 2, 91-105 1076-898X/09/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0015591

    A Model of Motor Inhibition for a Complex Skill: Baseball Batting

    Rob Gray Arizona State University

    13 English, R. (2006). Open access to federally funded research: The time is now. Portal: Libraries and the

    Academy, 6, 249-252. doi:10.1353/pla.2006.0036
    Gray, R. (2009). A model of motor inhibition for a complex skill: Baseball batting. Journal of

    Experimental Psychology: Applied, 15, 91-105. doi:10.1037/a0015591

    Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Peach, J. M., Laurin, K., Friesen, J., Zanna, M. P., & Spencer, S. J. (2009). Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 421-434. doi: 10.1037/a0015997

    If there are more than seven authors, list the first six authors’ names, followed by three ellipses, and then add the final author’s name.

    Harden, K. P., Lynch, S. K., Turkheimer, E., D’Onofrio, B. M., Waldron, M. D., Martin, N.G., . . . Emery, R. E. (2007). A behavior genetic investigation of adolescent motherhood and offspring mental health problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 667-683. doi:10.1037/0021- 843X.116.4. 667

    Scholarly journal article, journal paginated by issue

    Baard, P. P. (1994). A motivational model for consulting with not-for-profit organizations: A study of church growth and participation. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 46(3), 19-31. doi:10.1037/1061-4087.46.3.19

    Informally published, from ERIC

    Herman, W. E. (2009). Understanding psychology within the context of the other academic disciplines. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED505273)

    Magazine article

    Hemp, P. (2009, September). Death by information overload. Harvard Business Review, 87(9), 83-89.

    Jaret, P. (2009, September). The new middle age. Prevention, 61(9), 98-105.
    Remember the facts by cramming with fat. (2009, May 2). New Scientist, 202(2706), 15.

    From a library subscription database
    Agnew, T. (2008, November). Nursing homes make the best classrooms. Nursing Older People, 20(9), 8-

    9. Retrieved from http://nursingolderpeople.rcnpublishing.co.uk/

    Cloud, J. (2009, June 1). Why your memory may not be so bad after all. Time, 173(21), 53. Retrieved from http://www.time.com

    Despite the fact the above articles were accessed through ProQuest, the retrieval statement will show the home page for the magazine, even if the full text of the article is not available from the magazine’s website.

    Scholarly journal article with continuous pagination

    Newspaper article

    Use the abbreviations p. or pp. preceding the page numbers for newspaper articles.

    Hafner, K. (2009, May 26). Texting may be taking a toll. The New York Times, p. D1.

    From a library subscription database
    Hafner, K. (2009, May 26). Texting may be taking a toll. The New York Times, p. D1. Retrieved from


    Online from the paper’s website
    Hafner, K. (2009, May 25). Texting may be taking a toll. The New York Times. Retrieved from


    You can see that the citations for the library database and the paper’s website are almost identical, with the exception of the page number and the date.


    Publication Manual, pages 205-206

    Corporate author, government report

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003). Your guide to lowering blood pressure. (NIH Publication No. 03-5232). Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/hbp_low/hbp_low.pdf

    Corporate author, task force report

    American Psychological Association, Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice with Children and Adolescents. (2008). Disseminating evidence-based practice for children and adolescents: A systems approach to enhancing care. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/cyf/evidence.html


    Publication Manual, pages 209-215

    In addition to the sources shown above, you can find examples in the Publication Manual for the following types of sources:

    Section 7.07 Section 7.08 Section 7.09 Section 7.10 Section 7.11

    Audiovisual Media
    Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus
    Unpublished and Informally Published Works
    Archival Documents and Collections
    Internet Message Boards, Electronic Mailing Lists, and Other Online Communities

If you require assistance with your paper, please take a look at our APA Style Page

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