The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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APA Style Citation (Short) Guide

Organization by Sections

APA formatted papers are divided into distinct sections that serve very specific purposes. Usually these sections are also named in headings in the paper.

Title Page

  • This page contains the title of the piece, your name as well as the institution you are connected with. Your title should be about 12 words long, and should be very straight-to-the-point. Don’t include abbreviations or excess words.
  • You must create a “running head” for your piece. This page header will be placed on the top of every page of the work and is a shortened version of your actual title. On the title page only you will write “Running Head: SHORTENED TITLE OF PAPER”


  • This should include key points of the research (questions, participants, methods, results, analysis of data and any conclusions or implications). Approximately 150-200 words.
  • Possible to also list key words in your paper below your Abstract paragraph

Main Body

The body of the essay will vary depending on the discipline as well as the content of what you are writing about. These sections can include:

  • Literature Review
  • Methods
  • Findings
  • Discussion

In-text citations

  • In text citations should be as follows: (Last Name, Year of Publication)
  • The complete reference must show up at the end of the paper in the References page
  • If you are using a direct quote you must include the page number in the in-text citation: (Last Name, Year, Page Number)

Reference Page (Common Types of Sources)


Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

Articles/Chapters in books

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.

Online Periodicals

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from [insert URL]

Online Scholarly Journal Article

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number, page range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or


  • Note that the tone of APA should be very clear and concise. Avoid using artistic language. It will confuse your reader and perhaps distract them about the research being discussed.
  • It is okay to use “I” or “we” when discussing research steps that were taken by yourself and co-authors
  • Word choice should be chosen appropriately in order to match the common language used in the social sciences (example: “participants” rather than “subjects”)


[Adapted by Rachel Ferry, Dec. 2015, from Purdue OWL]