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MVNU Writing Guide: APA Sample Paper

Sample APA Paper

Comment Guide

  • Red: Your title must follow the proper capitalization rules (see APA Overview) and can take up 1-2 lines. If your title includes a subtitle (ex: "Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children") make sure it goes on a new line after the colon.
  • Red: The hook is often one of the most difficult parts of a paper to write. This hook leans into humor to draw the reader in then switches to a more severe tone throughout the rest of the introduction. Good hooks can include relevant statistics, anecdotes, quotes, etc. Just make sure the hook improves the reader's experience and introduces your reader to why you are writing the paper.
  • Green: Here is the first example of a citation for this paper, a statistic from a 2018 paper. This is a paraphrase of a work with only one author so the citation has the format of (Author Last Name, Year). There is no specific page number because the statistic is used throughout the paper rather than one specific instance.
  • Blue: This is the Thesis Statement for the paper. There are two main sections of this paper, each of the with their own subsections, so the Thesis takes up two sentences. For papers less than ~8 pages, the Thesis can usually just be one sentence. Notice how the Thesis provides a brief overview of what the paper accomplishes so that the reader has a good idea of what information to expect (and the order that the information is provided!)
  • Yellow: Many terms have abbreviations. This paper includes a few: TBI, GCS, TAI, etc. The first time you introduce something with an abbreviation, write out the full term and then include the abbreviation in parenthesis. Subsequent uses of the term can just be the abbreviation.
  • Red: APA style has specific rules about writing numbers. Numbers should be written out as words if they are between zero and nine, if the number is the first word of the sentence (try to avoid doing this), or if the number is part of a common fraction/phrase (one-half). Otherwise, write the number out with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc)
  • Green: This is a good example of a direct quotation. The quotation is weaved into an already-existing sentence which makes the quote flow better and demonstrates understanding. Because the author and year are stated at the beginning of the sentence, only the page number of the direct quote is needed in parenthesis. Also note that the period at the end of the sentence comes after the quotation mark and parenthetical citation.
  • Blue: This is a heading marking the start of a new section, and should always be bolded/centered. Using section dividers like these often improves the structure of your paper and guides the reader through the paper. If you are including a subsection within a section, the title should be bolded and left-aligned.
  • Red: Note that this citation is from a quote that takes up more than one page. To include multiple pages in a citation, change "p." to "pp." and hyphenate the first and last page that the quote is found on.
  • Green: Try to incorporate your quotations into sentences rather than leaving a quotation as a standalone sentence.
    • Tip: Read your paper out loud and decide if your quote feels natural.
    • Tip 2: Pick a part of a sentence to quote rather than the full sentence if possible.
  • Red: This sentence enforces the structure of the paper. Longer papers need to continually remind the reader where they are to prevent confusion. Utilize your outline to craft your argument and stick to it-- your reader will thank you.
  • Green: Tips for successfully writing more intricate sentences like this one can be found in the Grammar Guide!
  • Red: This is an example of a simple and effective transition. It references the previous information and relates it to the upcoming information. It also acts as a subtle reminder to the reader reminding them how these specific details relate back to the larger argument.
  • Green: This is an effective utilization of source material. It concisely introduces the source by relating to a previously explained source: "Taylor et al. (2002) conducted a similar study..." Then it explains the methodology and results of the study in order to supplement the argument. Rather than just saying "children with TBIs have worse writing and math skills," this paper links the statement to a credible study to increase its argumentative power.
  • Blue: This conclusion takes the last three pages of detailed explanation and leaves the reader with a sharp impression of the conclusions drawn in them. Notice how it does so without reusing any of the language.
  • Yellow: You should always be thinking about the logic of your essay. This essay has spent the last eight pages going into detail regarding the impacts of Traumatic Brain Injuries on children. Now, with that information in mind, the essay looks at bicycle helmet laws and helmet-related statistics because its readers are now able to better understand their neurological and psychological importance.
  • Red: This is a statistic that could only be found using a website. In College Writing, ask your professor before using any website as a source. For upper-level courses, use discretion and choose reputable web sources only when they are relevant.
  • Green: This conclusion restates the main points of the essay and ends on an appeal to emotion. The very best conclusions will leave the reader with a lasting impression of the paper's ideas and their significance.