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APA Format Research Paper Sample: Introductory Section


The style suggested by the American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the two most popular academic writing styles in social sciences such as anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. It is also applied to research works in the sphere of education, nursing, and business.

The APA guides researchers through formatting and structuring of their papers, so all works in the scientific field are unified in terms of layout and format. The latter should meet a set of particular requirements to make the research paper easily readable. On top of everything else, the paper should include four major structural elements: the title page, abstract, main body, and references.

The main body of the report starts with an introduction. Its purpose is to:

  • Describe the aim of the research.
  • Show that the study carries on from the previous research in that subject area.
  • State the hypotheses.

When it comes to the end of the introduction, it is advisable to describe the purpose of the study in a way that leads to the hypotheses, which is the axis of the whole paper.

The following sample illustrates the format requirements and general layout of the introduction, as stated in APA standards:

Introduction[1] [2]

At least 1,000 people die each year from Anorexia Nervosa, which is said to be “one of the least explored and most insusceptible of medical treatment illnesses” (Schindehette, Sandler, Nelson and Seaman, 2003, p. 136) [3]. A lot of people have to fight against this disease their entire lives. Researchers found out that about 5 to 10 [4] percent of all women have body image issues, but only 1 to 2 percent of those women are anorexic. If Anorexia Nervosa is diagnosed early [5], the patient can make a complete recovery when treated correctly (Cooper, 2001) [6]. A lot of scientists, however, state that research has been exhausted in this direction and should be stopped (Kaplan, 2002; Hendricks, 2003) [7].

[1] The research paper should be double-spaced, and printed on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins on all sides. The font recommended by APA should be 12 pt. Times New Roman.

[2] The title should be centered. Subheadings can be used only if they comply with the style of the research work.

[3] Elements such as the author, year, and page number are required for a direct quote.

[4] Numbers are used to represent statistical or mathematical functions.

[5] Passive voice is more preferable than active.

[6] Elements such as the author and year are required to a paraphrase a quote.

[7] Two authors in a citation should be separated by a semicolon.