Careful adherence to these conventions is likely to make a good initial impression on the reader, while carelessness may have the opposite effect. When the major sections of a paper are carefully arranged in the appropriate order, the reader may be more inclined to show an interest in the paper’s ideas.

How should the major sections of an APA-style paper be arranged?

  • Title Page: acts as the first major section of the document
    • Presents a running head and begins the document’s pagination
    • Includes the paper’s full title centered in the upper half of the page
    • Contains the name(s) of the writer(s) and their institutional affiliation
  • Abstract: acts as the second major section of the document
    • Presents a single-paragraph summary of the paper’s contents
    • Contains approximately 150 to 250 words
    • Includes select keywords for easy access by researchers
  • Main Body: acts as the third major section of the document
    • Presents a report of the writer(s)’ research and findings
    • Includes four sections (typically): the introduction, method, results, and discussion
    • Provides the reader with pertinent information about the paper’s topic
  • References page: acts as the fourth major section of the document
    • Presents a compilation of the sources cited in the paper
    • Provides a comprehensive list of works that appear as in-text citations in the paper
    • Details the full source information for each entry