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term paper writing manuals

Set Specific Goals

Writing a research paper is a lot easier on you, the student, when you set yourself certain goals. All of this takes place before you start the research and the writing. The saying goes that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. So rather than rushing in to begin writing your research paper, stop, take stock of the situation and list your goals. Here are a few possible specific goals.

  • set up a timetable
  • create an ideal topic
  • create an ideal thesis statement
  • become an expert note taker
  • create an outstanding plan
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How to write papers in APA format and keep the needed writing style?


Many colleges use the American Psychological Association format for written papers. The idea behind using a similar format for all papers is to make sure that everyone’s paper is written in a similar format so that they can be graded equally. For example, if your professor asks you to write a ten page paper and you are using a font style and font size that makes you actually write an extra page or two it really isn’t fair.

There are some specifics for writing in APA format that are true for all types of papers. Let’s look at the basic requirements so that you have an overall idea of what the format looks like.

  • The average page size is 8 ½ “ x 11 “.
  • The margins should be set at 1” on all sides.
  • The font style should be Times New Roman.
  • The font size should be 12.
  • The paper should be double spaced.
  • There are four main sections in your paper which include a title page, an abstract page, the main body of paper, and a reference page.
  • A running head is required at the top of every page located in the left hand corner.
  • A page number should be in the header section of every page in the right hand corner.
  • The title page should include the name of the paper, your name, the name of your school, the name of your class, the name of your instructor, and the date.
  • The words “Abstract” and “References” should be centered and on their own page. There should be no underlining, bolding, italicizing, or any other modifications to these titles.
  • The abstract should include the key points of your paper in no more than two hundred words. This is not indented.

I do realize how intimidating this must seem but once you have done it a few times, it becomes like second nature. Start every paper by setting it up in APA format first just to get you started. There are also a lot of different sources to help you set up your papers in APA formatting. Most college libraries will format citations in APA formatting and may also have programs that will get you set up correctly. Check out your writing center to see if your school offers any of these programs.

Paper Structure Guides

Citation Styles

Research Sources

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