University of Houston-Victoria

Curriculum and Student Achievement

APA Quick Reference Guide: Section II

Title Page

A sample title page is shown on p. 9 of this guide. Elements of the title page will include minimally a running head, title, author’s name, and institutional affiliation. Some documents may require an author’s note. However, for most class papers, the author’s note is not required. If you do need one, see pages 24-25 in the APA Manual.

Tips for the Title Page

In the header position type a running head on the left margin. This should be titled “Running head:” and be followed by a shortened version of the title written in all capital letters, as shown on the sample page. (Quotation marks should not be included around Running head:.) The running head should not exceed 50 characters, including spaces and punctuation. On the right margin of the header include the page number; for a title page this should be 1. Center the paper’s title, your name, and the university’s name in the upper half of the page. For more information on title pages, visit pages 23 and 229 in the APA Manual.


The abstract of an APA paper should follow the format shown on p. 10 of this guide. The abstract provides a brief description of the contents of your paper.

Tips for the Abstract

  • The abstract should have the running head in the header position and the page number 2. Omit the words “Running head:” on all but the title page.
  • Three lines below the header type the word Abstract (without italics). Center it horizontally.
  • Double space between the word Abstract and the text.
  • Do not indent the text on this page; keep it all one unindented paragraph.

Tips for Writing the Abstract

  • Write your abstract last, after you have written the paper.
  • Keep it short—150 words is about average. It should range from 150-250 words.
  • Double space your abstract and do not indent the first line of text. You should have 1 paragraph with no indentation.
  • Use only your own words and do not use any outside sources. The only time that outside sources should ever be noted in an abstract is if the document replicates or expands a prior study.

The exact content of the abstract may vary based on the type of study that the document provides. For a list of suggested elements see pages 26-27 of the APA Manual.

First Page of Text

The first page of your text should follow the format shown on page 11 of the Quick Guide.

Tips for the First Page of Text

  • The running head should appear in the header position along with the number 3. Omit the words “Running head:” on all but the title page.
  • Three lines below the header type the complete title of the paper (the same title that appears on your title page). The title should be written in standard font, no italics or bolding.
  • Double space between title and text, and continue double spacing throughout the text.

References Page

The purpose of the references page is to enable readers to retrieve and use the sources, so the information provided should be as complete and accurate as possible. Writers are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their reference lists. Entries for sources from print media and electronic media both send readers to the source’s location, but electronic source entries often have more parts because they require more information to get readers to the source. A sample reference page, including sample references, can be found on pages 12-13 of the Quick Guide.

Parts of the basic print entry

Author(s). (Date). Title(s). Publication data.

Parts of the basic electronic entry

Author(s). (Date). Title(s). Print publication data. Access data (including URL or DOI if available)

For more specific information on electronic entries and guidelines on what to do if your source is different from the kind of source illustrated in the basic entry model we provided above, see pages 187-192 in the 6th edition of the APA Manual.

Note: The bold text on the sample reference page indicates the type of source referenced and should not be included in your references page.

Tips for the Reference Page

  • Arrange entries in alphabetical order.
  • Maintain double spacing on the reference page, with no extra spaces between references.
  • Begin reference entries flush left. Indent the second and subsequent lines of each entry.
  • Pay special attention to APA's conventions for capitalization.
  • Many journal articles contain a DOI which is a universal identification number. If the article, whether print or online version, has a DOI, this number should be provided in the references.

Tips for Citing Electronic Sources on the Reference Page

  • Ideally, Internet entries should have an author. At the very least, Internet sources should provide a document title and description, date, and Web address.
  • Use “retrieved from” to indicate information obtained from a document on the Internet.
  • Finish the retrieval element with a period unless it ends with a Web address.