The Writing Center

APA Proofreading

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:

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