How to Format Keywords in APA

The American Psychological Association (APA) format is used to structure essays and research papers related to the social sciences and scientific writing, as well as to cite references and sources. APA style requires four main sections: title page, abstract, main body and references, with one-inch margins on all sides. Keywords are formatted on the abstract page of an APA paper and must follow a specific set of guidelines.

Skip a space after the last sentence in the abstract and type the word "Keywords" in italics followed by a colon. Justify the word with the left margin that is aligned down the page.

Enter the first keyword in lowercase letters, add a comma, and enter the next word. For example in a paper about television's effect on youth violence you could write, "Keywords: violence, guns".

Write the last keyword without using a period or any other punctuation at the end of the word. The list could look like this: "Keywords: guns, violence, television, inciting".


Though not required, you can alphabetize the keywords to make them easier to read.

Do not italicize the keywords or use uppercase letters in any word.

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