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In academic writing, adhering to a specific format is crucial.

In academic writing, adhering to a specific format is crucial. The American Psychological Association (APA) style is one of the most commonly used formats. As of 2023, the APA 7th edition is the latest, and it specifies guidelines for in-text citations, reference lists, footnotes, and more. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to format your paper in APA style.

**1. General Format**

Your paper should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides. The font used should be a readable serif font (Times New Roman is recommended) in 12 pt. The text should be aligned to the left margin, leaving a "ragged" right margin.

**2. Title Page**

The title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and your institutional affiliation. In addition, it should also contain a page header, often referred to as a "running head," at the top of every page. This running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and should be at most 50 characters, including spacing and punctuation.

**3. Abstract**

An abstract is a summary of your research following the title page. It should be concise and limited to 150-250 words. It should start on a new page and contain the title "Abstract" at the top.

**4. Main Body**

The main Body of the paper follows the abstract and begins with the article's title, centered and not bolded. The sections in the main Body will depend on the nature of your paper. It may contain an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, or other sub-sections depending on the requirements of your article.

**5. In-text Citations**

When you reference other works in your paper, you must give credit to the original author. In APA style, an in-text citation includes the author's last name and the year of publication, for example, (Smith, 2020).

**6. Reference List**

The reference list provides a full citation for every source your paper mentions. It should be on a new page, titled "References," and entries should be listed alphabetically by the author's last name. Each entry should include the author's name, publication year, the title of the work, and publication data.

**7. Tables and Figures**

Tables and figures should be used sparingly and only when necessary to convey information. Each should be numbered and titled with clear headings and placed as close as possible to the references in the text.

**8. Footnotes**

In APA style, footnotes should be used sparingly. They are a way to provide additional information or clarification that fits outside the main text. Footnotes should appear at the bottom of the page on which they are referenced.

Remember, these are general guidelines for formatting your paper in APA style. Depending on your instructor's or the publication's requirements, there might be some variations. Always check with your instructor or the publication guidelines if you need more clarification. With practice, following these guidelines will become second nature and will help your papers look professional and scholarly.

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