APA Style for Dummies

APA style for dummiesUsing specific formatting styles when writing papers sets the mark between a good grade and a bad grade, regardless of the content. And we are here to look at one of the most commonly used writing styles – APA – to prevent students from making mistakes and getting a bad grade. What is APA and how should students use it to write great papers and get the highest scores? APA is a specific formatting style used by college students when citing social science sources in their papers. If you haven’t heard of APA before and you’d like to know more about it, the following APA style for dummies guide should help you out.

What Formatting Should Students Use?

APA papers should be typed on a standard 8.5” x 11” paper size with 1” margins on all sides and double-spaced type (meaning that each row of a text has white space between it that is 2x the height of your letters). Using a clear font such as Times New Roman sized at 12pt is a must. Include a “running head” (or “header”) in your paper. This means writing the name of your paper at the top center of every page. It cannot be longer than 50 characters, otherwise it’s against APA standards and considered too long.

What Style of Writing Should Students Use?

When writing APA papers, it is encouraged to use first person and active voice (“We deducted” instead of “It was deducted”). Be clear and explain your research; don’t use vague words, be specific. Avoid metaphors and analogies; use plain language that anyone can understand when they pick up your paper.

What Sections Should Students Include When Using APA?

Students should have the title page, the abstract, the main body and references. These are the main parts that are essential to produce a fully-featured completed paper.

How Should the Title Page Look Like?

Title page should have a header on the top left. The title, author’s name and affiliation should be in the 1/3 of the page height. The title should be less than 12 words long and in one or two lines. Below that is the author’s name: name, middle name, last name, no titles. Below the author’s name is the institutional affiliation, or the place where the research took place.

What Is the Structure of the Abstract?

The abstract exists to show key points of the research paper without going through it. The word “Abstract” should be centered below the header, as the title of the page. The abstract should be 150-250 words long and contain your research topic, questions you ask, methods, results and conclusion. You can also add keywords to the abstract by adding “Keywords” in italics after the abstract paragraph and typing all the keywords you’d like your paper to be recognized by.

Should the Main Body Look Like the Previous Sections?

Following the same guidelines as the first two sections of APA papers – students must use the same font and size with double-spaced type and running heads on each page.

How Should the Headings Look Like?

Headings in main body of an APA style paper are divided into five levels; depending on how many subheadings you have in your text.

  • Level 1: Centered, Bold type.
  • Level 2: Left-aligned, Bold type.
  • Level 3: Indented, Bold type, with period at the end.
  • Level 4: Indented, Bold type, Italic, with period at the end.
  • Level 5: Indented, Italic, lower case with period at the end.

We hope that these guidelines create the right image of the APA citation style and will be very useful for you while writing academic papers. The main trick here is to be attentive and not to miss details, the rest is easy. So, be focused and write excellent papers!

And if you still have troubles, try our Free Citation Generator! It will speed up formatting of your essays!

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6 Reasons to Love and Hate MLA 7th Edition

2 - mla 7th editionThe 7th edition of the MLA (Modern Language Association) handbook for writers or research papers recently came with a few very important updates. Some students will hate these changes; others will love them. The writing style is aimed at students who need to write papers and the give proper citations to original sources.  Here are 6 reasons to love or hate MLA 7th Edition, the choice is up to you.

  1. Underlining vs Italics

Works that are complete no longer require underlined titles. Students must use italics instead. While some will love this change as italics is a more elegant type of font, other students will probably hate it. Underlined titles may seem more compelling; whereas italics may not seem that attention grabbing.

E.g. Fitzgerald, Scott F. This Side of Paradise, Scribner, 1998. Print….

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How to Write an MLA Bibliography

MLA BibliographyWriting a research paper can be difficult, not only because it requires “research” and dedication, but also because writing styles vastly vary from field to field. Students can often get lost in details not because the subject of the research is difficult, but because the rules and regulations of a specific research paper style are painful to follow up on, and an MLA bibliography section is just one of them.

More often than not, students cut corners and hope for the best, not because of laziness, but because they’ve had enough and feel like their actual work will suffer because of the rules. What ends up happening is that the paper is either graded poorly because of the lack of proper styling and citation or the student gives up on turning over the paper all together, pushing for more time and further deadlines, which again create problems. Well, take a look at how it can be amended with MLA bibliography formatting. So, how should an MLA style bibliography look like?…

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay on Medicalization as a Social Concept

If you are writing an argumentative essay on medicalization as a social concept, there are steps you should follow.


  • As you begin doing research for your argumentative essay on medicalization as a social concept it is important that you have certain questions in mind. These questions should drive your research with precision and guide your overall paper. Use libraries and the internet to your advantage. Both have viable resources available. If you do use the internet be sure to double check any web address you put as a reference. After you type it into the reference page, click on the link and see if it leads to the page you want it to lead. The worst thing is to write it down incorrectly and have your grade suffer as a result.

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20 Topics on Medicalization as a Social Concept for an Argumentative Essay

If you have to write an argumentative essay on medicalization as a social concept, you need a topic. There are twenty potential topics listed below which might help.

Remember though that these are only a smattering of potential topics available to you and should be viewed in relation to your instructions.

  1. Social Construction of Illnesses in Medical Sociology
  2. Social Constructionist Tradition of Medicalization Understanding
  3. Social Constructionism as a Counterpoint to Deterministic Illness Approaches
  4. The Study of Medical Sociology as Revealing Medicalization Trends
  5. Illnesses and Their Cultural Meanings Throughout History
  6. Social Construction of Illnesses Based on How Individuals Learn about Their Illnesses
  7. The Social Construct of Illnesses at the Experiential Level
  8. Social Construction of Illnesses Based on How Individuals Learn to Live With Their Illnesses
  9. Medical Knowledge about Illnesses Constructed by Pharmaceutical Companies
  10. The Medicalization of Natural Inflammation Processes in the Body
  11. Medical Knowledge about Illnesses Constructed by Policy Makers
  12. Negative Ramifications of Treating Aging Process as a Medical Issue
  13. Negative Ramifications of Treating Emotions as a Medical Issue
  14. Negative Historical Impact of Treating Homosexuality as Mental Illness
  15. Historical Treatment of Sexuality as Health Illness or Disease
  16. The Trends in Medicalization as a Social Concept
  17. Historical Influencers and Parties in Medicalization as a Social Concept
  18. The Link Elements between Pharmaceutical Profits and Medicalization as a Social Concept
  19. The Linking Elements Between Pharmaceutical Research for Medicalized Illnesses Compared and Other Illnesses
  20. The Current Growth Levels of Medicalization as a Social Concept

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay on Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

An argumentative essay is usually assigned to help a student develop critical reading and thinking skills. Instructors rely on them to teach how to use evidentiary support to develop a logically sound thesis/claim.

An argumentative essay presents a balanced view of a topic. If you are assigned with a topic that is relatively controversial and incites strong levels of support or opposition, for example writing about the book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser, you will find lots of for and against claims. It is your job to read the primary source material (in this case, the book), examine all the evidence presented, form an opinion about it, and then present it in a logically structured and coherent manner.

This handy guide will provide you with an outline and detailed instructions about the sections your instructor will expect to see in your argumentative essay. However, if your instructor has given you a specific outline, the rules of that will supersede the following outline….

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20 Topics on Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser for an Argumentative Essay

Coming up with topics for argumentative essays can be quite challenging for students, especially if you’ve decided to work on it a few days (or a few hours) before the deadline. If your next assignment is to write an argumentative essay on Eric Schlosser’s book, “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal”, you can easily take on this challenge if you have the right topic in mind. To get your creativity going here are 20 topics you can use.

  1. Should Hospitals Ban Fast Food Outlets?
  2. Healthier Fast Food Choices and Awareness Will Improve Health
  3. Low Work Wages in the US Fast Food Industry Are Costing Taxpayers
  4. Is Fast Food Cheaper Than Home-Cooked Meals?
  5. The Hidden Costs of Obesity and Excessive Junk Food Consumption
  6. Is Fast Food as Addictive as Drugs?
  7. Should Governments Impose More Taxes on Junk Food?
  8. Junk Food Packaging Should Come with Health Warnings
  9. Famous Public Figures Should be Banned from Promoting Soda and Junk Foods
  10. As Bad as Smoking: Should There Be an Age Restriction On Eating Fast Food?
  11. The Link Between Fast Food and Child Obesity
  12. The Fast Food Industry Needs a Paradigm Shift
  13. Fast Food’s Effects on the Brain’s Pleasure Centers
  14. The Psychology of Fast Food Marketing
  15. How McDonald’s Utilized Disney’s Marketing Approach
  16. Eating Fast Food Can Make You Depressed
  17. Overcoming Fast Food Addiction: Time for Extreme Measures
  18. Do Healthy Options on Fast Food Menus Help?
  19. Causes of The Rapid Rise of Fast Food Restaurants
  20. Eliminating The Junk Out of Junk Food: Can We Turn the Fast Food Industry Around?

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10 Facts on Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser for an Argumentative Essay

“Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” is a 2001 book by Eric Schlosser.

Published in 2001, it goes over the mechanizations of the fast food industry. The book further goes to investigate the working conditions of a fast food industry employee as well as how fast food has become a cultural export. If you have to write an argumentative essay on this great read, here are 10 facts that can inspire your subject choice….

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How to Write a Literary Analysis on Native American Literature

When it comes to writing a literary analysis on Native American literature, you may have a tough time if this is your first time drafting one. After all, it needs to be structured, clear and sharply focused for your instructor to give you a good grade. While your work may be cut out for you once you have selected a topic to write on (get inspired by our facts on Native American literature or pick a topic from our list of 20 unique topics), you need to focus on the technical aspects of your analysis as well.

Outline for Your Literary Analysis

The first thing you should do after finalizing your topic is create a rough outline. You can create your own or simply use the one provided below.

  • Introduction/Thesis
  • Body of The Essay
  • Main Idea 1
    • Support
    • Evidence
    • Example
  • Main Idea 2
    • Support
    • Evidence
    • Example
  • Main Idea 3
    • Evidence
    • Example
    • Support
  • Conclusion
  • Idea 1 + Idea 2 +Idea 3

Keep in mind that the analysis of any literature will involve textual evidence and support. Also, make sure to pay attention to the major themes and literary device the author uses. Note down any ideas you find interesting and then find the interconnecting threads which run through the work….

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20 Topics on Native American Literature for a Literary Analysis

Literary analysis assignments are designed to give you an in-depth view of a piece of writing and its writer’s motivation. Some instructors will give you specific aspects which you need to focus on.

However, if you have carte blanche, examine the literary elements of the text, formulate your central thesis, and then prove your idea by providing arguments/evidence from the text.

If your assignment involves studying Native American literature from a critical and analytic perspective, any of these topics will serve your purpose. Some of these are quite specific, so you can simply choose one, look up the appropriate sources listed at the end of this page, and get started. There are also some general topics in the following list. You can use these as a guide to think up your own specific topic….

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