A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. Often student research in APA fields falls into this category. Your professor might ask you to write this kind of paper to demonstrate your familiarity with work in the field pertinent to the research you hope to conduct. While the APA Publication Manual does not require a specific order for a literature review, a good literature review typically contains the following components:.
Some instructors may also want you to write an abstract for a literature review, so be sure to check with them when given an assignment. Also, the length of a literature review and the required number of sources will vary based on course and instructor preferences. NOTE: A literature review and an annotated bibliography are not synonymous. While both types of writing involve examining sources, the literature review seeks to synthesize the information and draw connections between sources.
In many of the social sciences, you will be asked to design and conduct your own experimental research. If so, you will need to write up your paper using a structure that is more complex than that used for just a literature review.
We have a complete resource devoted to writing an experimental report in the field of psychology here. This structure follows the scientific method, but it also makes your paper easier to follow by providing those familiar cues that help your reader efficiently scan your information for:. Make sure to check the guidelines for your assignment or any guidelines that have been given to you by an editor of a journal before you submit a manuscript containing the sections listed above.
As with the literature review, the length of this report may vary by course or by journal, but most often it will be determined by the scope of the research conducted. If you are writing a paper that fits neither of these categories, follow the guidelines about General Format , consult your instructor, or look up advice in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here. Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper 8.
For a professional paper, this includes your paper title and the page number. For a student paper, this only includes the page number. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation. It acknowledges that many font choices are legitimate, and it advises writers to check with their publishers, instructors, or institutions for guidance in cases of uncertainty.
While the APA Manual does not specify a single font or set of fonts for professional writing, it does recommend a few fonts that are widely available. These include sans serif fonts such as point Calibri, point Arial, and point Lucida Sans Unicode as well as serif fonts such as point Times New Roman, point Georgia, point Computer Modern. Note: APA 7 provides slightly different directions for formatting the title pages of professional papers e.
The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name , and the institutional affiliation. A professional paper should also include the author note. A student paper should also include the course number and name , instructor name , and assignment due date.
Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. The title should be centered and written in boldface. APA recommends that your title be focused and succinct and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.
Beneath the title, type the author's name : first name, middle initial s , and last name. Do not use titles Dr. Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation , which should indicate the location where the author s conducted the research. A professional paper should include the author note beneath the institutional affiliation, in the bottom half of the title page. This should be divided up into several paragraphs, with any paragraphs that are not relevant omitted.
The second paragraph should show any change in affiliation or any deaths of the authors. The third paragraph should include any disclosures or acknowledgements, such as study registration, open practices and data sharing, disclosure of related reports and conflicts of interest, and acknowledgement of financial support and other assistance.