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A Great Example for a Research Paper in APA Format- Mistakes to Avoid

Clear, concise, and organized writing is the hallmark of a good writer, something which most people tend to deviate from by making some common mistakes in their papers. An official document, especially one like a research paper, needs to be written according to the exact specifications of the style guide. Thus, here are some mistakes to avoid while writing a research paper in APA format:


  • Most people use resources very lightly, but the truth remains that references are one of the most important parts of a paper.
  • When you take information from a resource, keep in mind that you are taking the help of someone else’s work. Thus, it is important for you to credit the author of the source appropriately. Therefore, use the proper formatting and ways to cite your references.

Running Heads and Page Numbers

  • These are the things that you should plan out even before you start writing your paper. Most people who write papers do not format their running heads properly or don’t use them at all. Additionally, many do not number their pages as well.
  • Always include running heads and page numbers in your paper, and format them correctly according to the 6th Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
  • Take care of the correct font, font size, alignment and style.


  • Just as they are in articles, keywords are important for a research paper, as the appropriate keywords help the paper pop out on search engine filters to be displayed as results.
  • Thus, when writing a paper, always include keywords and use them wisely.


  • As is the case with running heads and page numbers, most students often do not format their abstracts correctly, or do not include one at all.
  • The abstract is the piece of text that provides a background to the paper, and is extremely important. Thus, one should always remember to include an abstract and format it correctly.

Citations in the Text

  • There is a difference between using references and using in-text citations, and unfortunately, most students often get the two mixed up. Some do not provide in text citations at all, while others do not adhere to the proper format.
  • Keep in mind that you write the name of the author first, followed by a comma, which is then proceeded with specifying the year of the publication. If you are using multiple references in the same parentheses, cite them in alphabetical order. Additionally, see to it that you spell the name of author(s) right, for incorrect citations, for whatever reason, might land you in serious trouble.

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Writing Advice

Make sure you always follow the specific finalizing instructions from your teacher, because they will be marking your research paper and looking for those things.

Don’t rely completely on your word processor’s spell check, because it won’t catch everything. Print your research paper if you can, and give it a good old fashioned proofread.

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Research paper writing advice