Writing a paper can be fairly easy unless you have to file a specific style guideline. The basic research paper structure APA [American Psychological Association] formatting is simple to follow if you take a look at this easy style guide.


APA has specific guidelines when it comes to how your paper is formatted. A research paper should be typed on a standard paper size using 1-inch margins. 12 times new Roman font is the recommended font for all APA papers. Some instructors may allow you to use Courier, but that does not go with the guidelines set by the APA.

Headers and Footers

All APA style papers must include a page header. The heading of the paper should include the title of your paper and your page number. When this is set up usually use a running head format that shortens the title of your paper to not exceed 50 characters.

Paper Organization

When structuring your paper using APA format, you should include four main sections. We will break down each four of the sections that you can use when writing in APA format.

Title Page

The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author’s name, the institutional affiliation or instructor’s name and this should all be centered on the first page. When writing your name. You do not need to include titles like Dr. or degrees, like PhD.


Your abstract should begin on a separate piece of paper than your title page was written on. The abstract should allready include your running head, so you should not have to add that. The word abstract will appear in the center on the top line of the paper. The abstract serves to summarize the key points of your paper. It should be doublespaced, and a single paragraph. Usually, abstracts range from word lengths of 150 words to 250 words.

Main Body

The main body of your paragraph should include all of your information. APA encourages the use of first-person when explaining how research was conducted. However, they discourage editorial use the first person. APA recommends the use of active voice, rather than passive voice.
APA follows a list of serialized headings to organize your paper.

  • A Level-One Heading will be Centered with Bold Face Type in Upper and Lowercase.
  • A Level-Two Heading will be Aligned Left, Boldface, Uppercase, and Lowercase Headings.
  • A level-3 heading will be indented, bolded, lowercase with a period.
  • Level-4 headings will be indented italic lowercase with a period.
  • The final level for headings should be indented with italicized type a lowercase heading.


All APA papers require a reference page. The style that the reference will be written depend on the type of reference you use.
Now you have the general research paper structure needed for writing in APA format. If you follow this mini style guide, you will be able to keep your paper within the guidelines.