APA Level


An Abstract is a single paragraph, without indentation, that summarizes the key points of the manuscript in 120 words. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with a brief overview of the paper. You need to include information on each section of the paper.  If you are writing a lab report, be sure to include all sections of the report from the introduction to the conclusion. You should say something about the aims and hypotheses, method, results, whether your hypothesis was supported and the conclusion. References are not needed in the abstract.

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A Twelve to Fifteen Word Title Goes Here and Mentions the IV and DVs of Your Study in the Report

(Exactly as it appears on the Title Page)

This is where the body of your paper begins. This is the introduction to your report. The introductory paragraph should set the scene for the report, provide referenced key definitions, explain what problem you are addressing and why it is important. Refer to section 3.4 of the APA Manual for specifics on writing the introduction.

The main body paragraphs of the introduction follow directly on from the introductory paragraph.  Body paragraphs each contain information on the background literature you have read to help develop your study. This includes information to help the reader understand what you are observing, why and what method will be used to do this. Each body paragraph should include an introductory sentence to highlight its relevance, detail research to provide evidence for the point you want to make, and a concluding sentence to make your final point about that part of your argument leading into the next idea you want to raise.

The last paragraph of the introduction details the aims and hypotheses of the current study. These should logically flow on from what has been described above (i.e., the reader shouldn’t be surprised you have these expectations because you will have already presented information to justify why you think this might happen). The introduction does not have subheadings, should be in past tense and use the 3rd person (no ‘I’ or ‘we’ – rather “The current study aimed to…”).


The Method must contain 3 sections as detailed below (there typically isn’t any writing here between the heading Method and Participants). The purpose of the Method section is to allow someone to replicate your study in the future, judge if your results are applicable to any other groups of interest, and whether your study really does test the hypotheses you claim that it tests. Refer to section 3.6 of the APA manual for specifics on writing the Method.


This section needs to detail the characteristics of the participants/subjects in your study. For example, state the number of participants tested (and revised sample), the sampling technique employed, response rate (if known), any relevant demographic information such as age, gender, education or other features, exclusion/inclusion criteria, conditions, and incentives.


The materials should be described in sufficient detail so that someone would be able to replicate the study or acquire identical equipment. This section includes information about how the data were collected/recorded. If using questionnaires, outline the constructs being assessed such as the author(s), date of publication, what it measures, number of items, if there are subscales, example item(s), response options, how scored, what scores mean, and comment on the psychometric properties such as reliability and validity of scale (if appropriate). A justification for using the measure should also be presented.


This section provides all the details about how the study was conducted in order to collect data to test the aim and hypothesis. It also needs to include enough detail to let someone set up the same parameters to replicate the study at a later point. It would also allow a critical reader to evaluate the efficacy of your design in terms of its ability to accurately test the hypothesis (applies to all sections of the Method).


Data Analysis

This section describes how the data were treated to obtain the results (including explanation of data screening and cleaning, level of significance, assumptions tested and decision criteria). Justification of the main analyses conducted in the Results section should also be provided.


The results section must detail the data that will help you and your reader determine the outcomes of the study relevant to your research questions and hypotheses. You should report your results in the same order that you presented the hypotheses at the end of the Introduction section. This section needs to explain what kind of data it is and typically presents a Figure or a Table to assist interpretation. The Figure/Table should not contain the same kind of information, nor should they include information that is repeated in text.  Please remember to use the appropriate conventions of reporting statistical data. The next paragraph provides an example layout from a previous study. Refer to section 3.7 of the APA manual for specifics on writing the Results.

Figure 1 below depicts the mean refractive error observed between baseline and stress conditions in diopters.


Figure 1

Mean Refractive Error in Dioptres (D) and Standard Error, for Baseline and Stress Conditions

Figure 1 demonstrates that mean refractive error was greater in the stress condition in comparison to the baseline condition.

Discussion (APA Level Heading 1)

The Discussion needs to detail the outcomes of your investigation. Refer to section 3.8 of the APA manual for specifics on writing the discussion.

The first paragraph of the discussion restates the aim and hypothesis of the study and then make a statement as to whether the hypothesis was supported or not.

The next few paragraphs compare the outcomes of your study with those of literature presented in the introduction and possibly new literature to discuss why your results occurred – this is a discussion of the theoretical implications of the study, i.e., about what your results mean for the understanding of the phenomena under investigation.

The next paragraph discusses the main flaws (methodological limitations) that may have impacted the results. It is possible to make suggestions about how to fix these for next time if you wish.

This paragraph makes suggestions about the potential future directions for the study. This may include suggestions about using a different paradigm or method of measurement (be specific about what these may be). It also makes suggestions about what the next question to investigate may be.

The last paragraph of the discussion is the conclusion, and it ties up all aspects of the investigation. Think of it as a summary of the main points of your discussion.



Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book. Publisher.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, Volume(Issue), pp – pp. https://doi.org/XXXX



To review guidelines for citations of articles that you have read in text and how to list them in the References section at the end of the essay, refer to the APA manual, Library Referencing tool, the FSTE First Year Survival Guide, or the other resources discussed in class. It is ok to google APA format questions but remember to ensure that you are looking at 7th edition APA as it is the latest edition.

Take note of the “hanging indent” style for references. The easiest way to create hanging indents is to type your references without worrying about indentation and when you are finished, select all the references at once, right click, select ‘Paragraph’ and then select ‘Hanging’ from the dropdown menu under Specia in the Indentaion section. Click Ok.

The following resources can be utilised to assist you with APA 7th formatting:





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