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SW 3130 Child Welfare & Family Service / Prof. Sonali L. Zoracki

An APA Format Paper

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is a recognized standard for publications in most of the social sciences.

The manual gives detailed instructions for all aspects of manuscript structure, style mechanics, and crediting information sources.

Scholarly discussion is usually in the form of:

  • Empirical Studies
  • Literature Reviews
  • Theoretical Articles
  • Methodological Articles
  • Case Studies 

Empirical Studies

Elements of an APA Empirical Study Paper

Title "A title should summarize the main idea of the manuscript"
Author's Name & Institutional Affiliation "Every manuscript includes the name of the author and the institutional affiliation of the author when the research was conducted."
Author's Note "An author note appears with each printed article to identify each author's departmental affiliation, provide acknowledgements, state any disclaimers or perceived conflict of interest, and provide a point of contact for the interested reader."
Abstract "An abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the article; it allows readers to survey the contents of an article quickly and, like a title, it enables persons interested in the documents to retrieve it from abstracting and indexing databases."
Introduction &
Literature Review

"The body of a manuscript opens with an introduction that presents the specific problem under study and describes the research strategy."  [There is no need for the heading, "Introduction."]

The introduction includes answers to these questions:

  • Why is this problem important?
  • How does the study relate to previous work in the area?  If other aspects of this study have been reported previously, how does this report differ from, and build on, the earlier report?
  • What are the primary and secondary hypotheses and objectives of the study, and what, if any, are the links to theory?
  • How do the hypotheses and research design relate to one another?
  • What are the theoretical and practical implications of the study?
Method "The Method section describes in detail how the study was conducted, including conceptual and operation definitions of the variables used in the study."
Results "In the Results section, summarize the collected data and the analysis performed on those data relevant to the discourse that is to follow."
Discussion "After presenting the results, you are in a position to evaluate and interpret their implications, especially with respect to your original hypotheses.  Here you will examine, interpret, and qualify the results and draw inference and conclusions from them"
References "References acknowledge the work of previous scholars and provide a reliable way to locate it."