Tips on Writing APA Style

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If you’re a student in one of Concorde’s more than 20 health care programs, you probably have been or will in the future be asked to write a paper using APA style. That can seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you’re unaccustomed to it. So, as you pursue your health care training, we thought we’d offer some tips to help you familiarize yourself with APA style.

What is APA format?

Whether you’re taking an introductory or a graduate-level class, chances are that you will have to write at least one paper. In almost every case, you’ll need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association.

APA format dictates presentation aspects of your paper, including spacing, margins and how the content is structured. Not only does adhering to APA style allow readers to know what to expect, it also means your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors.

The website VeryWell.com recently published an article that offered some basic tips on how to correctly utilize APA style as you pursue your health care training.

Basics of an APA format essay

  • There should be a uniform margin of one inch at the top, bottom, left and right margins of the paper.
  • Use double spacing.
  • Every page of the paper should include a running head at the top left. The running head is a shortened form of the title and should be no more than 50 characters.
  • Every page should include a page number in the top right corner.
  • Every essay should have a title page that includes the title, your name and school affiliation. In some instances, your instructor might require additional information such as course title, instructor name and the date.
  • Titles should be concise and succinct and should be no longer than 12 words.
  • You must include a reference list at the end of the paper of all sources cited. They should be listed alphabetically by the last name of the author.
  • The first word of each paragraph should be indented one-half inch.
  • The APA recommends using Times New Roman size 12 font.
  • While formatting requirements might vary, APA-style essays typically include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion and reference sections.

Tips for writing a health care training essay in APA format

The first tip for writing a strong APA-formatted paper seems simple enough. Choose a good topic to write about. Select a subject that is specific enough to let you fully research and explore the topic, but not so specific that you have a hard time finding sources of information.

Start doing research as early as possible. Begin by looking at some basic books and articles on your topic. Then, create a source list of material you might end up using.

Be sure to keep a detailed list of the sources that you cite. They must be included in the reference section. Conversely, any source listed in the references must be found somewhere in the body of your paper.

After you have prepared a rough draft, it’s time to revise, review and prepare a final draft. In addition to making sure your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, check carefully for typos, grammar errors and possible problems with the APA format.

Final thoughts

You’re pursuing your health care training, and there are a lot of things to keep track of and monitor. By adapting APA style and learning its nuances and formats, it can take a lot of the guesswork out of writing research papers and simplify your health care training life. Always remember, however, to consult the directions provided by your instructor for each assignment.

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