Writing Papers That Are Easy to Grade:
APA Style and Format
Warren Sharp, PhD, PE
University of Maryland University College
MGMT 610, 29 May 2012
It is in the interest of students to submit papers that are easy for the instructor to grade. Not only do they make life easier for the instructor, but such effort on the part of the student makes it more likely they will receive a better grade. While the content of a paper is important, so is the style and format. University of Maryland University College (UMUC) requirements are that papers conform to standards of the American Psychological Association (APA). Essays should include four major sections: the Title Page, ...view middle of the document...
• Double space (this includes the References).
• Justify the text on the left margin with a ragged right edge
• Indent all paragraphs ½”.
• Use headings. See section on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Level Headings.
• Put a header and page numbers at top of page.
• Use the proper format for the Reference List and In-Text Citations.
• Avoid the use of the 1st person (“I” and “we”).
• Do not plagiarize. Give proper credit where credit is due.
Notice the format of the title page. Everything is centered on the page and the title is in bold, title case font (all 12 pt.). Now, notice that there is a running head (not to be confused with headings to be discussed later) and the page number is in the upper right-hand corner.
This page that you are reading now is the first of the text portion of the paper. The title is centered at the top. The first text following the title is assumed to be the introduction, so the heading “Introduction” is not required. This brings us to the subject of headings (not to be confused with headers).
Headings: Five Levels
Headings divide your paper into sections and sub-sections and make it easier to follow and easier to grade. Again, headings should not be confused with headers described above. Planning your headings before you write the paper is a good means of outlining and organization. There are five levels of headings, appropriately called: Level 1; Level 2; etc. The one immediately above is a Level 1 Heading; it is centered, boldface, and title case.
Level 2 Headings
As illustrated here, Level 2 Headings are flush left, boldface, title case. If you use Level 2, 3, 4 or 5 headings, there should always be at least two of them. We will call this “The rule of two.” However, here we will make an exception.
Level 3 headings.
Level 3 Headings are indented, boldface, and paragraph style. The first word is capitalized, and it ends with a period. Remember “The rule of two.”
Level 4 headings.
As shown above, Level 4 Headings are indented, boldface, italicized, paragraph style, ending in a period. Do not forget “The rule of two.”
Level 5 headings.
As shown above, Level 5 Headings are indented, not bold, italicized, paragraph style, ending with a period. And (you guessed it), “The rule of two” applies for Level 5 Headings also.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due (In the Proper Form)
Many sins can be forgiven, but, in academics, using ideas, concepts, or material from others without giving them proper credit is not one of them. This is plagiarism, and the consequences are dire. Even if you do not quote a source directly, but paraphrase or change a few words, you must credit the source. APA offers specific guidelines about how to do this.
The last page of your paper should be a list of your references, all presented in the proper format. When you consider the...