APA Style Basics: Sixth Edition
Yonnie Chyung, Ed.D. and Linda Huglin, Ph.D.
Instructional & Performance Technology
College of Engineering
Boise State University
All fields of study use a particular
for scholarly writing and publication. A
is simply a set of rules that a given field follows to prepare manuscripts and
express ideas. Following these rules provides a body of literature that is consistent in
form, and is accepted by and familiar to a broad readership of that field. The field of
Instructional and Performance Technology uses the style rules of the American
Psychological Association (APA). The APA has published a new 6
edition in the fall of
2009 (copyright in 2010), primarily to reflect the changes due to the increase of
documents that are available electronically (see page 21 in this document for a
partial list of changes in the 6
edition as compared to the 5
APA style requires a page header and page number at the top right-hand corner
of each page of your document. The first page of your manuscript is the title page,
which is numbered page 1. The title page consists of three parts: the running head,
the title, and the byline. The running head is an abbreviated title specified by the
author that would be used if the article was published. It should be typed flush left at
the top of the title page in all caps, and should not exceed 50 characters. Your
instructor may not require a running head—check with your instructor for details.
In the upper half of the title page, the title should be typed, centered, in title
case (i.e., all significant words in the title should be capitalized). If the title exceeds
one line, the lines should be double-spaced. The name of the author appears one
double-spaced line below the title. Institutional affiliation, where appropriate, should
be centered below the author’s name on the next double-spaced line. Nothing on the
title page should be bold or underlined. See Figure 1 for an example of a title page.
If you are writing a formal research paper, you will need to include an abstract.
The second page, numbered page 2, should contain only the abstract. The word
“Abstract” should be centered at the top of the page, and should be in bold type. The
abstract should be in block form (i.e., no indentation) and its word limit is typically
from 150 to 250 words. The abstract should be double-spaced. If you are uncertain if
your assignment requires an abstract, ask your instructor.
If you have included an abstract page, the text of the article begins on the third
page and should be numbered as page 3 (obviously, if you have not included an
abstract, the article begins on page 2 instead). Type the title of the paper centered
at the top of the page, double-space, and then type the text. NOTE: Do not use the
word “Introduction” at the beginning of your paper; the APA manual (2010) states
that because “the first part of a manuscript is assumed to be the introduction” (p.
63) it need not be labeled.