How to Write in APA in 2024 – Guide

The most important thing to master when writing essays is how to format them in the required manner. The following short essay will offer several hints that are useful when the instructor has asked you to format your work using the APA format. Whether it is a research paper, an expository essay, a narrative, a descriptive essay, and so forth, effectively citing them, referencing, and using the right layout will attract some marks from the professor/ instructor.

What is APA Format?

APA is an acronym for the “American Psychological Association,” which is a writer and date style, and the weight is placed on the author and the date that uniquely identifies a unique portion of work. It is utmost commonly used in the social sciences. APA style is commonly used in the USA, just as the name suggests.

Features of APA Formatting

Running head:

This I often the shortened form of the title of the paper.

Points to note when writing a running head:

Should NEVER exceed 50 characters.

Should NEVER be completely different from the title of the paper

It should ALWAYS be in upper case letters

The page numbers should be flush right, and the running head ought to be flushed left

Running head should ONLY be on the papers’ title page and Must include the words “Running Head” that is followed by a full colon (:). The pages that follow should repeat the running head without the words “Running Head.”Title page:

It should be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font.; however, it must never be underlined, bolded, or even italicized. It should also be in the title case (the non-notional parts of speech must be capitalized). The title of the paper should always correspond with the essay and must be reflected in the running head. The title of the paper should be followed by the names of the students and the institutional affiliations, which should be centered, as shown above.

The abstract:

If the paper is long, or the instructor asks for the paper to have a brief summary of the writings, then the paper should have an abstract. Its main aim is to summarize the paper and allow the readers to have a quick grasp of what the papers’ main points are. It should be limited within 150- 200 words. It can include the acronyms and keywords that are used in the paper as well.

The first/ second page:

After the abstract, you should have your first page, or when the abstract is not needed, it should follow the title page. It should begin with the title of the paper and should be centered, no bolded or italicized. 
In-text citations:

The APA format incorporates an author-date method to in text cite the work that is used as a reference; the author’s last name is trailed by the publication year and the page number; for example, (McCarthy, 2017, p. 170).  If you have paraphrased the source, the page number should be excluded in the in-text citation: (McCarthy, 2017).


A tort is the infliction of the injury on the plaintiff as a result of the civil wrong done, and vicarious liability is where someone else may be held accountable for the civil wrong done by another person (Peak, 1998).


According to Peak (1998), a tort is the infliction of the injury on the plaintiff as a result of the civil wrong done and vicarious liability is where someone else may be held accountable for the civil wrong done by another person.

If the author is unknown, the source should be cited by the title or the first two words in parenthesis.


(“Annual Report”, 2018).

If the date and year of publication are not given in the work being cited, you should use the initials “n.d,” which means “no date.”

To cite multiple authors, a semicolon should be used


Bla Bla Bla (James, 2019; Dewey, 2014).


They should be on the last page of the document. The name reference should be centered and not bolded. It should also be in sentence case. The references should be hanging.


Peak, K. J., & Giacomazzi, A. L. (2019). Justice administration: Police, courts, and corrections management (9th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Peak, K. J. (1998). Justice administration. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

How Titles Should Be Formatted in References

Italicized In quotation marks
  • Books
  • Movies
  • albums
  • television series
  • edited collections
  • documentaries
  • journal articles
  • edited articles collections
  • episodes of television series
  • titles of songs

Referencing Authors

Number of Authors In the text of the paper In the parenthesis Comments
2 Authors According to Keith and brown  (2018) (Keith &Brown, 2018) “&” is referred to as the ampersand
3-5 Authors According to Keith, Brown, and Hudson (2018) (Keith, Brown, &Hudson, 2018) The three authors must be listed
6 Authors and above According to Keith et al. (2018) (Keith et al., 2018) There must be a period after ‘al.’ and nothing after ‘et.’
Title Level Formatting
Level 1 Centered, Tile case headings, bolded.
Level 2 Should be left-aligned, (Flushed left), be in bolds, have title case heading
Level 3 Should be indented, be in bolds, have a sentence case with a period. The text should begin immediately after the period.
Level 4 Should be left indented, be in bolds, and italicized. The first letter should be capitalized and have a period in the end. The text should begin immediately after the period.
Level 5 Indented to the left, italicized, first letter should be capital, with a period in the end. The body text should begin after the period.


This is how to apply APA style in the essay or a research paper you are writing. It is one of the common formatting styles, and with just a little practice, you will have it at your fingertips. This guide gives the guide according to APA 6th edition, APA 7th edition should be out soon, with some minor changes. I hope you enjoyed reading this guide, and you have learned almost all there is to know about citing your work in APA 6th edition. You can always ask for consultation in such writing service agencies as youressaygeek which offer help at a reasonable rates.