Students who have written papers in MLA for their first year often have trouble switching over to APA. Here are a number of things to check before turning in a paper in APA style.
Within the Paper
- Check your verbs—they should be in past tense for the reporting of any information (e.g., Researchers found . . . . )
- Check that your citations have 3 items if you are giving a direct quote: a last name, a year, and a page number with the p. or pp. For example: (Shannon, 2008, p. 43). It is ok to put the name and/or the year in the sentence itself, but all three items should be referenced if you give a direct quote. Sometimes the page number is not available, but it needs to be included when possible.
- Watch your headings. Level 1 headings are centered with uppercase and lowercase capitalization. Do not leave extra spaces between paragraphs and do not underline or boldface level 1 headings. If you go to another level of headings, those are italicized.
- Make sure you include a Running head in the upper left-hand margin and a page number in the upper right hand margin.
- Check that you use the ampersand (&) in in-text citations with two authors but the word “and” in the sentence itself.
- APA has an entire chapter on numbers—watch that yours are correct.
- If you are citing a web site, put the title of the web site in quotation marks; do not put the URL in the text.
The Reference Page
- Are the titles of books and journals in italics?
- Are article titles left alone (no quotation marks, no underlining)?
- Watch your capitalization of articles: in APA, make sure only the first word in the title, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns are capitalized. All the others are in lower case. Example: Studies of orphanages in Indonesia: One variable is resilience.
- Is the 2nd line and subsequent lines indented 5 spaces?
- Is the ampersand (&) used between two or more authors?
For more help with APA, please see the following web site: