How to Write an APA Research Paper Outline

How to Write an APA Research Paper Outline

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If you are a Psychology student and you’ve been tasked with writing a research paper, then you will have to use the APA format to organize your paper. In the event that you have never used this format before, you might find that it’s slightly different from some of the formats and guidelines you’ve made use of in the past. Although it might take you some time to get used to it, learning how to write a research paper outline apa is a valuable skill that will serve you well whether you’re in your first social science class or even a psychology major.

Origin of the APA Research Paper Outline Template

The APA style is the official writing format of the American Psychological Association and is utilized to cite sources in education, social sciences, and other social sciences. It first surfaced in an article published in 1929 in the Psychological Bulletin which provided the basic guidelines. These guidelines were ultimately developed into the APA publication manual. The main question therefore is, why is this format so significant in the field of psychology and other social sciences? By utilizing this writing format, researchers writing about psychology can convey information regarding their ideas in a consistent format. Adhering to a coherent format enables readers to know what to search for as they go through journals and other kinds of psychological writing.

If you’ve never attended any social science class before, chances are that you’re used to writing using a different format like MLA. Most first-year students are often surprised to find that after using one format for several years, most university classes instead prefer the APA format. It might be challenging for them as they try to adjust to the new format when they want to write a research paper outline template apa. Grasping the basics of how to come up with an apa research paper outline and bookmarking several important resources can enable students to learn this format easily.

Research Paper Outline Template Apa

Mostly, your APA research paper outline should be made up of four key segments:

Title Page

The title page of your paper ought to have a running head, title, writer’s name, and institutional affiliation. The primary objective of your title page is to enable a reader to immediately know what your paper is all about and who wrote it.

Abstract of Your Research Paper Outline APA

The abstract can be referred to as simply a summary of your research paper that directly follows the title page. In line with the APA style, an ideal abstract should be between 150 and 250 words, even though this can change depending on your professor’s instructions or the particular publication.

The Body

For your apa research paper outline template, the main body will include the main content of your essay. In case you’re composing a lab report, the body will then be divided into further segments.


The reference segment of your research paper will contain a list of the sources that you used in your research paper. If you cited any information in your essay, you have to reference it properly in this section. One important thing to note is that any source that is cited in your essay has to be included in the reference segment. Moreover, any sources in your reference section should also be mentioned somewhere in your research paper.

How to Deal With In-Text Citations

While writing your research paper, it is vital that you incorporate citations in the text that identify where you found the information that you’re using. These citations are also known as in-text citations. With the APA format, whenever you cite using it in your essay, use the writer’s name followed by the date of publication. For instance, if you were to cite Charles Darwin’s book The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals, the following format should be utilized: (Darwin, 1872). The extended information on the source ought to be listed in the reference section.

Crucial Guidelines for APA Format Reference Pages

In your research paper outline template apa, take note of the following crucial tips:

References should start on a new page. This page should be titled ‘References’ and the title text should be centered at the top of the page.

All the sources should be listed in alphabetical order.

The first line of any reference ought to flush left. Every extra line should be indented. This can be done using the TAB key.

Whereas past versions of APA needed one space after every sentence, the latest version recommends two spaces.

The reference segment ought to be double-spaced.

With regards to your apa research paper outline, all your sources must appear in-text and also on the reference section. Any reference that appears in your paper’s text should be cited in the reference section. In addition, anything that appears on your reference page should be incorporated somewhere in your research paper’s text.

The titles of journals, magazines, and books must be in italics.

The precise format of every reference might change depending on whether you’re referencing an author(s), an internet source, or a book or article. Take your time to look at the exact requirements for every reference before you format your source list.


In case you’re having difficulties with this APA research paper outline template format, or you’re in search of an ideal way of collecting and organizing your references while working on your research paper, you can seek assistance online. There are online tools that can assist you to generate APA style references. However, you need to double-check for accuracy purposes.

Also, you can look for your copy of the Publication Manual of the APA. It will greatly assist you when coming up with your research paper outline apa as you’ll be able to learn more about the APA format. Although APA may appear complicated, it will definitely become easier once you acquaint yourself with the rules and format. The general format might be the same for many papers; however, your professor might have his or her specific requirements that may change depending on whether you’re composing a research paper or essay.

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