Law Assignment Format Apa

General Format


APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).

Contributors: Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2018-02-21 02:26:13

Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA.

To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of all APA citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.

You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel.

General APA Guidelines

Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Include a page header  (also known as the "running head") at the top of every page. To create a page header/running head, insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" in the header flush left using all capital letters. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.

Major Paper Sections

Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Title Page

The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. Include the page header (described above) flush left with the page number flush right at the top of the page. Please note that on the title page, your page header/running head should look like this:


Pages after the title page should have a running head that looks like this:


After consulting with publication specialists at the APA, OWL staff learned that the APA 6th edition, first printing sample papers have incorrect examples of running heads on pages after the title page. This link will take you to the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in the APA's 6th edition style guide.

Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.

Beneath the title, type the author's name: first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD).

Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation, which should indicate the location where the author(s) conducted the research.

Image Caption: APA Title Page


Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center the word “Abstract” (no bold, formatting, italics, underlining, or quotation marks).

Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph, double-spaced. Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.

You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.

Image Caption: APA Abstract Page

Please see our Sample APA Paper resource to see an example of an APA paper. You may also visit our Additional Resources page for more examples of APA papers.

How to Cite the Purdue OWL in APA

Individual Resources

Contributors' names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL.

Contributors' names (Last edited date). Title of resource. Retrieved from http://Web address for OWL resource


Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderlund, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from

APA is a referencing method developed by the American Psychological Association and is version of the commonly used Author-Date system.

Which style does my Faculty or School use? 

Some Schools require a different style from the one outlined here.  Use the citation style required by your Faculty or School.

Why Reference your sources? 

It is important to reference the sources you use so that the reader can follow your arguments and check your sources. It is essential to correctly acknowledge the author when quoting or paraphrasing, as you are using other peoples' ideas in your work.

APA is a citation style create by the American Psychological Association. This guide is based on the following texts:

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).

              Washington DC: American Psychological Association.              

How to use APA 

Sources must be cited in two ways: 

1.    In-text citations are made like this:


In-text citations consist of the author's name and year of publication inserted at an appropriate point in the text.

Sternberg (1993) suggests results should be carefully analysed ...


... a discussion of results analysis (Sternberg, 1993)


According to the Publication Manual of the APA “When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide a page or paragraph number, especially when it would help an interested reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text.” (p. 171)

Note that this is a change from previous editions of the Manual.  Always check with your lecturer for their preferences.

 Direct quotations and in-text citations

  • Page numbers are always included in the in-text citation for direct quotations eg. (Hiebert, 2009, p. 69).

 Direct quotations 40 words or less should be typed within the text surrounded by double quotation marks.


Using graphics in an assignment has visual impact, but you need determine the purpose and importance of including them "The preparation of graphic materials requires careful attention to organization and content" (American Psychological Association, 2010 p. 126). 

  • Direct quotations more than 40words should be included as a separate paragraph, and indented from the left margin, without quotation marks (American Psychological Association, 2010, pp. 170-171).


...Frameworks are constructed by scaffolding master goal learning.

Placing an emphasis on mastery of new material, not just the performance of tasks, typifies the teacher who is focused on mastery goal orientation. In the classroom, concepts are introduced and then related to one another to form a complex web of knowledge. Students are able to explore topics in depth and at length, and they come away with a more nuanced understanding of the text that can then enhance future reading experiences.
       Even at the lower elementary grades, students are capable of learning multiple concepts and making connections among those concepts. Although at first they may appear more challenging, decodable texts that include conceptual knowledge are more likely to sustain student interest and foster curiosity, thereby creating engaged readers. (Hiebert, 2009, p. 69)


2.       Reference lists, at the end of your paper, are made like this:

A reference list entry includes information about the source such as author, publication date, title, place of publication and publisher, but may include additional information depending on the type of source.

  • The reference list starts a new page (APA, 2010, p. 37), and is arranged alphabetically by author's last name (APA, 2010, p. 181).
  • References are double spaced with the second and subsequent lines of each reference indented (APA, 2010, p. 37).
  • Include only the references that were used when writing the paper (APA, 2010, p. 180).
  • The title of the reference list 'References' should be centered (APA, 2010, p. 37).
  • In the reference list single authors go before multiple authors (APA, 2010, p. 182), for example:
    Fischer, K. W., (1992)... before Fischer, K., Demetriou, A., & Dawson, T. L. (1992)....



American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).
              Washington DC: American Psychological Association.      


Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger &

              F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory and consciousness (pp. 309-330). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.


Fischer, K., Demetriou, A., & Dawson, T. L. (1992). The development of mental processing: efficiency,
              working memory and thinking.
Boston: Blackwell Publishing.


Sternberg, R. J. (1993). The psychologist's companion (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



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