A Detailed Tutorial on Organizing an APA Style Research Paper Outline

The APA style of writing and formatting research papers is among the most commonly used styles in academics. Since its inception in the 1970s, the APA has undergone a number of revisions to make it the cohesive standard preferred for use in the social sciences. The following detailed tutorial shows you all you need to know about organizing a proper outline in APA:

APA Research Paper Basics

The margins of a research paper written in APA should now be set to 1-inch on all sides. The font should be 12-pt and type face should be something that is easily legible both in print and on the computer screen. Some of the most highly recommended type faces are Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri. Double space the entire research paper, including footnotes, tables, figures, etc. You should also only have one space after each periods, commas, semi-colons, etc. Indent each new paragraph half an inch from the left hand margin.

Ordering the Required Sections

A research paper written in APA for any of the social sciences will have a number of required sections that need to be ordered appropriately; and doing this when organizing your outline will make writing the final document much easier. The required sections are as follow: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, and Reference List. Using these as your top-line items for your outline will make it easy to structure your research paper and organize the material to fit in its right place. You should be fairly familiar with what each of these required sections should include, but if you aren’t certain then using a sample document will help you see exactly what type of information needs to go into each section.

Incorporating Tables and Figures

Finally, some research papers will require the use of tables and figures. Visual materials such as these can be very helpful in conveying complicated pieces of information in a concise and efficient manner. Tables and figures should all appear on a separate page with notes about two or three lines long explaining the information. When you’re creating your outline you probably don’t need to include each table and figure you plan to use, but it’s a good idea to name each one appropriately (or assign a number) and include a short reference within the text so that you know exactly where your table or figure will go.