General Instructions For Writing An APA Doctoral Dissertation

If you are tasked with writing a doctoral dissertation in APA format, you should follow these general instructions so as to properly format the content you produce. This will ensure that your final piece is top notch.

The American Psychological Association style is also referred to as the APA style. It is one of the most commonly used citation methods especially for all social sciences. The American Psychological Association has issued a handbook that outlines all requirements for this style which you can use as a reference for your:

  • general format
  • in-text citations
  • footnotes
  • reference page

Title Page

The title page should have a shortened version of your title in the page header, which needs to be limited to 50 characters. All characters here should be in capitalized format.

All APA papers should contain four major sections including:

  • the title page
  • abstract
  • body
  • and references

Title Page

The title page should have the title of your essay, your name, and your academic institution. It needs to appear in the center of the page, in the middle of the page. Your title should contain normal upper and lower case letters. Your title can take one or two lines.

The Abstract

The abstract should start on the next page and contain the word “Abstract” in the middle of the page. The next line should contain your research topic, methods, results, analyses, and conclusion information. Do not indent the next line. The abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.

You can include relevant keywords if you want, beneath the abstract. These should be words used to catalogue your research in a professional database. If you do, start a new line beneath the abstract and italicize the word “keywords:” and include the words in normal font and typeface after that.

The Body

The next page should start the body of your text. It should include the title of your paper once more, centered at the top of the page. On the next line, you can start with your introduction. Make sure to indent all paragraphs after this point. When you write a new section (such as the methods or the results) you can place the word “methods” or “results” on a new line in bold text in the center of the line.


You should refer to the APA standards for references and in-text citation styles.

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