Writing Across the Social Sciences

APA Writing Style

Probably one of the most anxiety provoking topics in writing for the Social Sciences is APA Style.

APA Style refers to a publication by the American Psychological Association which establishes the writing guidelines for researchers who wish to submit their articles for publication in professional journals. (Some journals still promote their own unique take on the APA style so there is sometimes confusion about this.)

If you are planning to go on and get a degree in the Social Sciences you will likely need to eventually buy this manual.

Writing papers for classes however, is not the same as writing papers for publication, and therefore, we don't need to be that "picky" about every aspect of the APA Style

For the sake of Social Sciences here at KVCC we are going to focus on specific aspects of the APA Style that we are going to require. The three areas we will focus on include:

  • Title Pages
  • In-text citations of resources
  • Reference pages

I've included here a "Sample Paper" that is from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/)

This paper includes all aspects of a paper and brief explanations of the style.

This is a detail-oriented task...details like where to put a period and how to style the running head are IMPORTANT in order to be in compliance with a style.

It is a form of "discipline" which is not too different from the type of discipline it takes to think about questions like a social scientist...we have a certain way of doing that and it helps focus our work and make it valid

Click HERE to download the sample paper...i.e. make your paper LOOK a LOT like this one!
(With the exception of the Author Note...ask your instructor if they want you to include an Abstract)

Other Styles

In your college studies you may be exposed to other styles of writing...MLA (Modern Language Association) and Chicago or examples of this.

APA Style is QUALITATIVELY different in many ways...but it is in the details. It is a task to get used to APA when you have been writing in MLA...but it is worth it. If you stay in the Social Sciences nearly every paper you ever write is going to have to be formatted this way.


Visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab for extensive tutorials and guidance on APA writing style.

APA Style

In-text Citations
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

Below you will find links to identical files, one is in MS Word the other is in PDF format. These documents provide you with information related to the task of formatting your papers to have APA styled running headers and page numbering in compliance with the latest edition of the APA manual.

Running Head and Page Numbering (MS Word 07)

Running Head and Page Numbering (PDF)