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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Sample Paper

Sample Paper & Reference List

This sample student paper shows you how to format your document and how to include your student information, in-text citations, and a Reference list in APA format. It can be used as a template to set up your assignment. Please note that the sample paper is meant to help you with formatting only, and does not reflect the length or expectations of an academic paper.

The sample paper reflects the following general formatting rules for APA:

  • Font: Use the same font set at the same size throughout your paper. Acceptable fonts include 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX).
  • Margins: Use 1-in. (2.54 cm) margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right) of each page.
  • Spacing: Double-space the entire paper, including the title page, text, headings, block quotations, table and figure notes, appendices, and References page.
  • Page numbers: Insert page numbers in the top-right corner of your document’s header, beginning on your title page. 
  • Alignment: Align the text of the paper to the left and leave the right margin uneven; do not use full justification.
  • Indentation: Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 in. (hit “Tab” on your keyboard).
  • Headings: Format the title, headings, and any subheadings in bold.


If your instructor requires you to use APA style headings and sub-headings, this document will show you how they work.


If you are adding an appendix to your paper there are a few rules to follow that comply with APA guidelines:

  • The Appendix appears after the References list
  • If you have more than one appendix you would name the first appendix Appendix A, the second Appendix B, etc.
  • The appendices should appear in the order that the information is mentioned in your essay
  • Each appendix begins on a new page

APA End of Paper Checklist

Finished your assignment? Use this checklist to be sure you haven't missed any information needed for APA style.

Quick Rules for an APA Reference List

Your research paper ends with a list of all the sources cited in the text of the paper. Here are nine quick rules for this Reference list.

  1. Start a new page for your Reference list. Centre the title, References, at the top of the page and set it in bold.
  2. Double-space the list.
  3. Start the first line of each reference at the left margin; indent each subsequent line half an inch (this is called a hanging indent).
  4. Put your list in alphabetical order. Alphabetize the list by the first word in the reference. In most cases, the first word will be the author’s last name. Where the author is unknown, alphabetize by the first word in the title, ignoring the words a, an, the.
  5. For each author, give the last name followed by a comma and the first (and middle, if listed) initials followed by periods.
  6. Italicize the titles of these kinds of works: books, audiovisual material, internet documents and newspapers, and the title and volume number of journals and magazines.
  7. Do not italicize titles of most parts of works, such as articles from newspapers, magazines, or journals; essays, poems, short stories; or chapter titles from a book; or chapters or sections of an Internet document.
  8. In titles of non-periodicals (i.e., books, videotapes, websites, reports, poems, essays, chapters, etc.), capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, and all proper nouns (names of people, places, organizations, nationalities).
  9. If a web source (not from the library) is not a stable archived version, or you are unsure whether it is stable, include a statement of the accessed date before the link.