The American Psychological Association gives formatting, stylistic and citation guidelines to medical and social science writers publishing in academic journals. Many high school teachers and college professors ask English composition students to use APA guidelines when formatting research paper assignments. "The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" defines various aspects of a paper's format, including font size and style, margin size and the use of headers.
"The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" explicitly states that the correct margin size for all APA-formatted papers is one inch on all sides. One-inch margins are currently the default setting in most word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer and WordPerfect.
"The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" tells writers to use word processing software to type their manuscripts. It requires that writers use standard 8.5 by 11 inch paper. It also states that writers should divide their papers into four sections: title page, abstract, body and reference list.
The publication manual also recommends, though it does not explicitly require, that writers use 12 point Times New Roman font. On the abstract page, the manual suggests that writers create a set of keywords. To format your keyword list properly, place the word "Keywords" in italics, put a colon after it and center align the list.
Citations are an another important component of American Psychological Association Style. All writers working in APA Style must cite their sources in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the publication manual. All proper APA citations are comprised of two parts: an in-text citation that gives, at the minimum, the author's last name and the year she published her research, and a reference list entry that gives publication information about the book or journal the researched was published in.