What makes APA research paper outline format unique

Research papers unlike other essays are they more sophisticated and require more work for the student to think critically and present an informed argument. It is important to know which type of format to use as there are many formats for writing academic research papers and they include: MLA, APA, Chicago and. Harvard. When it comes to writing research papers, the style you choose is very important as it acts as guidelines to structure your thoughts and allow flow of information throughout the paper. MLA and APA research paper outline format are the most common preferred formats for social sciences for documenting their research data. However they have some minor differences and they include:

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The APA research paper outline format was developed by the American Psychological Association for writing reports, hence the acronym APA. It differs from other formats in that when quoting an author directly you have to write the name, the date of publication and page immediately after e.g.  (Gregory, 1991, p.687).


If you are paraphrasing or summarizing an authors work then just put the year and date (Gregory, 1991). If paraphrasing an author who is mentioned in the sentence you put the year of publication in a bracket, that is, Gregory (1991). Also if you are direct quoting an author also mentioned in the sentence only the pages will be in brackets, that is, Gregory, 1991 (p.687). It is important to note that APA research paper outline format demands that only the surname of the author should be used when quoting. When quoting the page one can either use ‘p. ‘or’ pp.’ just before the page numbers in the parenthesis.



Unlike other styles the APA research paper outline format has their bibliographic page at the back and it’s known as the Reference page. In the reference page the authors Surnames/Last names, rather than the first names, should follow each other alphabetically. In a case where the name of the author is not known, one can use the title of the article instead. The authors name is followed by the publication date then the titles of the publication which instead of being surrounded by quotation marks they are underlined. The first line is flush left while subsequent lines after it are indented five spaces or one tab in the same entry.


In the APA research paper outline format, the only time ‘P.’ or ‘pp.’ has to be used is to indicate the page where a reference was made from a newspaper or an article within a collection within a collection or anthology. For Magazines and journals, the publication title and the volume number have to be underlined except the issue number which follows next.


The APA research paper outline format for writing an academic paper is not as complicated as it sounds and anyone can easily use it to do their research papers. Anyone especially those who will continue to do research throughout their careers particularly in the field of social sciences, will find this style absolutely invaluable to master.




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