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OTA Program: APA Research Paper Formatting tips

This library guide details the library resources available for Occupational Therapy Assistant students.

On This Page:

  • How to Format an APA Research Paper
  • How to format the APA Reference Page
  • How to alphabetize citations 

General Formatting

Margins: Your paper should include 1 inch margins on all sides.

Font: Your paper should only utilized Times New Roman font, size 12. Unless otherwise instructed by your professor.

The Title Page

  1. Begin your title page by centering the title for the paper about 1/3rd down the page. Titles should be no more than 12 words, typed in uppercase and lowercase letters.
  2. Next, type your name
  3. Last, include your institutional affiliation (Your College's Name)


The Page Headings

  1. In your page header menu,Insert your page number, aligned on the right hand side of the page.
  2. Type "TITLE OF PAPER"


The Abstract

Abstracts are not always required for your research paper. Be sure to review your assignment instructions to verify that it is required. The abstract appears alone on the 2nd page of your research paper. See more about the abstract below.


[The abstract should be one paragraph of between 150 and 250 words.  It is not indented.  Section titles, such as the word Abstract above, are not considered headings so they don’t use bold heading format.  Instead, use the Section Title style.  This style automatically starts your section on a new page, so you don’t have to add page breaks.  Note that all of the styles for this template are available on the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Styles gallery.]

Keywords:  [Click here to add keywords.]

The Hanging Indentation (References Page)

A hanging indentation is a specialized indentation that creates a one half inch indentation on the 2nd and all subsequent lines of a citation entry. There are many ways to format a hanging indentation.

(Tip: In Microsoft Word, try selecting your citations with your mouse & then press (CTRL & T), [Mac users press Command & T]

Alphabetizing Citations (The Reference Page)

Once you've got all of your citations formatted together on your References page. It is important that you alphabetize them. Microsoft Word has a "Sort" feature. You can find it on the Home menu, grouped with your paragraph options.


To sort, highlight all of your citations & then click the sort button (see image above). Then, be sure that your options are set to sort by "Paragraphs" & "text" in "Ascending order (see image below). Then click "OK."

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