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Tuesday, 25 November 2014 00:00

How to Write an APA Psychology Essay

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Your Psychology professor has assigned your class with a research paper that is due in a month. She wants the paper to be done in APA format. Being a person who wasn’t exposed to APA format while growing up, you are looking for a guide to help you with research papers. This article will teach you how to write psychology essays in APA style.

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. The difference between APA and other papers is that APA papers are notable in the behavioral sciences, education, and social sciences.

Whenever you are undergoing your research for your psychology essay, a wise idea would be to write down important information on note cards. The information can range from quotations to sentences and paragraphs. If you are copying sentences and paragraphs, be sure to paraphrase the information in your psychology essay so that you will not be accused of plagiarism. Also, be sure to write down the source of the material for your reference page at the end of your report.

After you are finished with your reading and investigating material for your research paper, it is time to write your rough draft. For your research paper, you should use 8.5” by 11” paper with 1” margins on all sides. You need to double space the paper on each line. The fonts you should use are 12-point Times New Roman or Courier (serif typeface). Figure labels need to use 12-point Arial, Helvetica, or any sans serif typeface.

Each page should be numbered, beginning with the title page. Pages with figures or artwork are not numbered. Put your page numbers in the upper right corner of your psychology essay. The first words of the title should be in the right corner of every page, except for pages with figures and artwork. Next, the running head is the shortened title which should be at the top of every page of the manuscript. The length of the running head should be 50 characters and in all capital letters located on the upper left corner of the title page. The order of your paper should be Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References, and Appendices.

The title of your psychology essay should be ten to twelve words and concise. Center the title on the top of the page and type the title in upper and lower case letters. On the new line, center your first name, middle initial, and last name. If you have a suffix in your name (like Jr. or III), put a space between the last name and the suffix. Next on a new line, the name of your college or university should be listed underneath your name. If the place where you conducted research is not at a college or a university, list the city and state. If your location is outside the United States, list the city, state or province, and the country.


The abstract is a clear, short summary of your psychology essay. The paragraph should be at most 120 words, starting at page two. The most important details of your paper should be highlighted. Abbreviations and special terms (except units of measurement) should be labeled in this section. If you have previous research on your topic, it needs to be cited in this section.

The third page is the introduction. You place the background information and purpose of your psychology essay, present your problem, explain why the problem is important, and identify works which are applicable to the paper. You also put your hypothesis and your variables in this section as well.

In the method section, you mention information so that the reader can repeat your experiment. Separate the section into three categories: participants, materials, and procedures. In the participants section, tell about how you selected the participants, the number of the participants you selected, and the number of participants in each sample. In the materials section, tell about the tools that you used. For the procedure, make sure that you have an outline of your research paper.

The fifth section, the results section, gives a synopsis of the statistics and data you incorporated into your paper. Place the tables and data in this section.

For your discussion page, start with a statement which contradicts or supports your original hypothesis. If others have done similar research, compare and contrast their research with yours. And, make a statement on your conclusions.

Next, your references page is where you list the sources of your research paper. To properly cite your references, go to the Purdue OWL Writing Lab (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/).

With the following page, the appendices detail the information which would not be proper to incorporate into the main body of your research paper. If you have appendices, name them with “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” et. cetera.

Your psychology essay is a composite of the information you have gathered and the results that you have discovered. This article can help properly format your essay in APA format.

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You are here: Home Blog Academic How to Write an APA Psychology Essay