APA Style -6th edition

  • Sample APA Paper
  • General Guidelines
  • A. One Author or Editor
  • B. Two Authors or Editors
  • C. Three to Five Authors or Editors
  • D. Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
  • E. Article in a Reference Book
  • F. No Author
  • H. Edition other than the First
  • I. Translation
  • J. Government Publication
  • A. Journal Article with One Author
  • B. Journal Article with 2 Authors
  • C. Journal Article with 3-5 Authors
  • D. Journal Article with 6 or more Authors
  • E. Magazine Article
  • F. Newspaper Article
  • A. Basic Web Page
  • B. Web Page from a University Site
  • C. No Author
  • D. Blog Post
  • E. Entry in a Reference Work
  • F. Government Document
  • A. Motion Picture
  • B. Youtube Video
  • C. Audio Podcast
  • A. Electronic Image
  • A. Interview
  • D. Classical Works
  • E. Secondary Sources
  • F. Legal Materials
  • Evaluating Sources
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Sample APA Formatted Paper

  • Sample APA Formatted Paper How to format your paper in APA style

Sample Reference List

  • Sample End of Text Citations
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APA Research Paper Formatting: APA 6th Edition Resources

  • Home of APA 7th Edition Resources
  • APA 6th Edition Resources

APA (American Psychological Association) style was developed by social and behavioral scientists to standardize scientific writing. It is used for term papers, research reports, empirical studies, literature reviews, theoretical articles, methodological articles, and case studies. (APA website)

Writers in the following disciplines usually use APA style:

  • Social sciences- psychology, sociology, economics, criminology

*IMPORTANT NOTE: In October 2019 the American Psychological Association released the latest edition of the APA format - the 7th edition. For Spring term 2021 many instructors will have shifted to using APA 7th edition, while some may still request (or allow) students to choose APA 6th edition. It would be a good idea to verify which edition your professor will be requiring.  

As of January 2021, the APA citation generators in the Gale and Ebsco databases are formatting APA citations in 7th edition instead of 6th edition.

This Library Guide will also be updated throughout Spring 2021, to add additional resources for the 7th edition and links that should remain accessible for the 6th edition. 



APA - Publication Manual

(In 2021 most instructors will be using the 7th edition instead.)

APA 6th ed. Template & Paper Sample

  • APA 6th ed. Paper Sample (including headings)
  • APA Template - 6th Edition You are going to love this! Save this template somewhere safe or e-mail it to yourself. Then resave it immediately with the name of your new document. This will keep your template safe and ready to reuse again for future assignments.

How to Use the APA Template

How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?

  • Thesis Statement Help - Owl @ Purdue

Free Citation Creation Tools on the Web

  • BibMe BibMe is a free automatic bibliography generator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting.
  • Citation Machine Select APA citation style. Then choose they type of resource to cite.
  • CiteFast APA citation generator. Choose APA tab at top (if not already selected). Then select the source to be cited.
  • KnightCite APA citation generator. Choose type of resource on the left.

How to Generate Citations Using CiteFast

Parenthetical References or In-text Citations

  • APA Parenthetical (In-text) Citations - Purdue OWL
  • APA Parenthetical (In-text) Citations - EasyBib

Everything APA - 6th Edition

  • APA Style - Official 6th Edition Archive
  • Purdue OWL - APA 6th ed.

APA Inclusive Language Guidelines

American Psychological Association's Inclusive Language Guidelines and related information can be found here:

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

APA Changes 6th Edition

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Note:  This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. The equivalent APA 7 page can be found here .

The American Psychological Association (APA) updated its style manual in the summer of 2009. This resource presents the changes made between the fifth and sixth editions. Please note that the first printing of the APA sixth edition contained misprints; if you are using the APA manual, make sure you are using at least the second printing of the sixth edition. Traditionally, psychologists were the main users of APA, but recently, students and writers in other fields began using APA style. Therefore, the sixth edition was written with a broader audience in mind. The changes made to the sixth edition reflect this broader audience. This resource was created following the APA manual’s “What’s New in APA,” is organized according to the APA manual chapters, and highlights updates to the sixth edition that most concern student writers instead of those interested in publishing manuscripts. For a more complete discussion of the changes, please visit this site .

Levels of Heading

Headings are used to help guide the reader through a document. The levels are organized by levels of subordination, and each section of the paper should start with the highest level of heading.

Fifth Edition (Section 3.31 in the APA manual)

Sixth edition (3.03).

For example, in a scientific report following APA style, a report contains three sections: Method, Results, and Discussion. Each of these sections start with level 1 headings:

Methods (Level 1)

Site of Study (Level 2)

Participant Population (Level 2)

Teachers. (Level 3)

Students. (Level 3)

Results (Level 1)

Spatial Ability (Level 2)

Test one. (Level 3)

Teachers with experience. (Level 4)

Teachers in training. (Level 4)

Test two. (Level 3)

Kinesthetic Ability (Level 2)

Reducing Bias in Language (3.11)

Using precise language is expected in scientific writing, and the sixth edition offers new ways in which to talk about research participants (note that “subjects” is still an acceptable term to use, but “participants” is more representative of the individuals’ roles in the research project).

Refer to participants at the appropriate level of specificity. The manual provides the example of using "women and men" to refer to all human beings instead of only using man. "Man" is appropriate to use when referring to one man, but not when referring to a population that includes men and women.  The APA Style Blog also includes a page that discusses the use a singular “they.” You can find it here .

Refer to participants how they wish to be called. Try to avoid labels if possible, but if this is not avoidable, be respectful. Focus on the people and not the label. For example, instead of labeling a group “the elderly" or "the arthritic," labels in which individuals are lost, try “older adults" or "a woman with arthritis."

Acknowledge participants’ participation while still following the rules in your field. For example, a cognitive psychology student might use the term “subjects” in her research report, but a nursing student might use the term “patients” to refer to those who participated in his research. Whatever term you choose to use, be sure you are consistent throughout your paper and with your field’s guidelines.

The Mechanics of Style

Spacing (4.01). Regarding punctuation in manuscript drafts, APA suggests using two spaces after periods ending sentences to aid readability.

One space: “Previous research shows that patients are interested in palliative care. This research project explores how to discuss palliative care with patients.

Two spaces: “Previous research shows that patients are interested in palliative care.  This research project explores how to discuss palliative care with patients.

Approximations (4.31-32). Use words to express approximations of days, months, and year.

I started spelunking about four years ago.

Reporting statistics (4.35, 44, and 10). Use a zero before the decimal point with numbers less than one when the statistic can be greater than one.

Do not use a zero before the decimal point when the number cannot be greater than one.

Include effect sizes and confidence intervals with statistics. This will allow the reader to more fully understand the conducted analyses.

Use brackets to group together confidence interval limits in both the body text and tables (5.15).

95% Cls [-7.2, 4.3], [9.2, 12.4], and [-1.2, -0.5]” (p. 94)

Displaying Results

The sixth edition includes a section (5.01) on the purpose of displaying data. This section can help you decide when and how to display your data. For example, your data might show that you are exploring data and information, or your data may serve a storage purpose for later retrieval. More than likely, though, your data will serve either a communication purpose to show you have discovered meaning in data and you want to show/communicate to others this meaning. Figures. Figures include graphs, charts, maps, drawings, and photographs. As a general rule, only include figures when they add to the value of the paper. If the figure merely repeats what is written in the paper, do not include it, as it does not add any new information to the paper. The sixth edition also emphasizes the importance of clearly labeling electrophysiological, radiological, and genetic data (sections 5.26 – 5.28 in the Publication Manual).

Direct Quotations (6.01-21)

The sixth edition provides explicit rules for direct quotations and states that you must credit the source when “paraphrasing, quoting an author directly, or describing an idea that influenced your work” (p. 170). If the quotation is less than 40 words, incorporate the quotation into the text and place quotation marks round the quotation. Cite the source immediately after the quotation and continue with the sentence.

Porter (1998) has stated that “The internetworked classroom has the potential (not yet realized) to empower students” (p. 5), and this research project examines this potential.

If the quotation you are using falls at the end of the sentence, enclose the quotation with quotation marks without including the quotation’s original punctuation. Here’s a sentence as it appears in the original text:

“Semantic frames/domains represent one of the two major organizing principles for conceptual structure” (Croft & Cruse, 2004, p. 32).

Here’s what the sentence looks like when quoted within a text:

In arguing for frame semantics, Croft and Cruse (2004) asserted, “Semantic frames/domains represent one of the two major organizing principles for conceptual structure” (p. 32).

If the quotation has more than 40 words, use a block quotation. Begin the quotation on a new line and indent a half-inch from the left margin. Double-space the entire quotation, and at the end of the quotation, provide citation information after the final punctuation mark.

John Nicholson (1820) anticipated this effect when discussing farming methods in the nineteenth century:

Perhaps it would be well, if some institution were devised, and supported at the expense of the State, which would be so organized as would tend most effectually to produce a due degree of emulation among Farmers, by rewards and honorary distinctions conferred by those who, by their successful experimental efforts and improvements, should render themselves duly entitled to them. (p. 92)

The Reference List

References that appear in the text must appear in the references list in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, with the exception of personal communication; only cite personal communication in the text, not in the reference list. Electronic sources (6.31). Because electronic publishing has become a standard in research, the sixth edition provides an overview of electronic sources and how to reference them, specifically with URLs and DOIs. URLs, more commonly known as a web address, locate information housed on the Internet. The fifth edition specified that references to electronic sources should refer to the article’s or document’s URL. However, they are prone to “breaking” or deleting, and to resolve issues associated with the unstable nature of URLs, publishers have started using DOIs with articles. For more details on how to cite electronic sources with following the sixth edition, consult your APA manual or the OWL’s resource on citing electronic sources . While citing from a webpage, you may not be able to find a page number to refer to, i.e., there is no pagination. Instead, refer to the paragraph number from which you are citing where you would usually insert a page number by using “para.” instead of “p.”. Be sure to include the author’s/s’ name/s and year, too, if applicable.

“The Purdue University Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement” (Purdue OWL, 2010, “Mission,” para. 1).

“Mission” is used here to refer to the section in which this quote was found.


  1. APA Format (6th ed.) for Academic Papers and Essays [Template]

    Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr. The most important APA format guidelines in the 6th edition are: Use 12 pt Times New Roman. Set 1 inch page margins. Apply double line spacing. Insert a running head on every page. Indent every new paragraph ½ inch.

  2. APA Sample Paper

    Cite your source automatically in MLA or APA format. Cite. Using citation machines responsibly. Powered by. Media File: APA Sample Paper. This resource is enhanced by an Acrobat PDF file. Download the free Acrobat Reader. Click this link to download the PDF handout of the APA Sample Paper.


    1. Annotated APA Sample Paper and Style Guide for Student Writers (6th Edition) Center and double-space your title, author(s), and institutional affiliation in the top half of your first page (p. 23). If your title runs more than one line (here and on page 3), you may insert a break wherever you want or can just let your title wrap onto a new ...

  4. APA Formatting and Style Guide (6th Edition)

    Types of APA Papers. APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

  5. APA Sample Paper

    Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper , APA Sample Professional Paper This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader. Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student and professional papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication).

  6. Quick Answers—Formatting (6th edition)

    Publication Manual (6th ed., section 2.01, p. 229; section 8.03, pp. 229-230) From the APA Style website: How do I format my paper so that the phrase Running head appears on only the first page? From the APA Style Blog: Mysteries of the Running Head Explained. Running Head Format for APA Style Papers

  7. APA Style Sixth Edition Resources

    The sixth edition APA Style blog was launched in June 2009, on the same day that the sixth edition of the Publication Manual was published. In the 10 years that the blog was active, we discussed all aspects of APA Style, and we answered thousands of questions (in nearly 5,000 comments). Those original posts and comment conversations are still ...

  8. LibGuides: APA Style -6th edition: Sample APA Paper

    APA Style -6th edition; Sample APA Paper; Search this Guide Search. APA Style -6th edition. This guide provides resources for learning how to cite your sources using APA Style guidelines. Overview; General Guidelines; Books Toggle Dropdown. A. One Author or Editor ; B. Two Authors or Editors ; C. Three to Five Authors or Editors

  9. PDF Sample Paper: One-Experiment Paper

    Sample One-Experiment Paper (continued) emotional detection than young adults, or older adults could show a greater facilitation than. young adults only for the detection of positive information. The results lent some support to the. first two alternatives, but no evidence was found to support the third alternative.

  10. APA Research Paper Formatting: APA 6th Edition Resources

    APA 6th Edition Resources. APA (American Psychological Association) style was developed by social and behavioral scientists to standardize scientific writing. It is used for term papers, research reports, empirical studies, literature reviews, theoretical articles, methodological articles, and case studies. (APA website)

  11. APA Style (6th Edition)

    APA Style Workshop. This workshop provides an overview of APA (American Psychological Association) style and where to find help with different APA resources. It provides an annotated list of links to all of our APA materials and an APA overview. It is an excellent place to start to learn about APA format.

  12. Sample Papers & Other APA Resources

    Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition by American Psychological Association Call Number: Ref BF76.7 .P83 2010 Lesley/Sherrill Stacks Concise Rules of APA Style, Sixth Edition by American Psychological Association

  13. Sample papers

    These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

  14. General Format

    After consulting with publication specialists at the APA, OWL staff learned that the APA 6th edition, first printing sample papers have incorrect examples of running heads on pages after the title page. This link will take you to the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in the APA's 6th edition style guide.. Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in ...

  15. PDF Hi, APA Styler! your paper or assignment

    Hi, APA Styler! Thank you for using the APA Style annotated sample student paper for guidance when wri ng your paper or assignment. This sample paper PDF contains annota ons that draw aten on to key APA Style content and forma ng such as the tle page, headings, in-text cita ons, references, and more. Relevant sec ons of the seventh edi on of ...

  16. APA Changes 6th Edition

    APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the ...

  17. Title page setup

    Follow the guidelines described next to format each element of the student title page. Place the title three to four lines down from the top of the title page. Center it and type it in bold font. Capitalize major words of the title. Place the main title and any subtitle on separate double-spaced lines if desired.

  18. Frequently Asked Questions About Sixth Edition APA Style

    The seventh edition of the Publication Manual has the most current guidelines for APA Style.. The Style and Grammar Guidelines page on the APA Style website has resources for learning the new seventh edition style.. We have archived the sixth edition frequently asked questions for authors, editors, and students working on papers in the previous style.