APA Key Elements

This checklist is designed as a guide to the key elements of APA 6th ed. style required for student papers at
Ashford University (AU).


The entire document is double-spaced, from title page through references.
Margins are 1" on all sides and 12 pt Times New Roman font is required according to Ashford guidelines.
There are no bold, oversized, or decorative fonts used in the document.
"I", "we", "our" should only be used rarely in a research document. The writing needs to be objective and impersonal and in the third person unless otherwise stated in the assignment guidelines. It is also preferred that students not refer to themselves in the third person.
  • Always spell out a number in words if it begins a sentence.
  • Generally spell out the numbers one through ten in words. Use figures for numbers above ten unless they begin a sentence.


The title page should be in the following order:
  • Title
  • Your name
  • Course
  • Instructor
  • Date Submitted
Please note that Ashford University APA guidelines require title pages to include the course instructor's name and date. This requirement is specific to Ashford and is not included in the APA publication guidelines as outlined in the APA Publication Manual (6th edition).


All papers must include a Running head. It needs to be left justified, and on the same line as the page number throughout the document.
The term "Running head: YOUR TITLE" appears on first page (Title Page) in the header.
The shortened title always appears in all capital letters in the header throughout the rest of the paper.


It is on page two of the document (the first page after the Title Page) and starts a new page.
The title appears at the beginning of the page and is centered.
The word "Introduction" is not used as a heading.
The introduction is written in a "funnel fashion," moving from broad to specific as it relates to your topic and study.
The last sentence or paragraph is a clear statement of the research paper's purpose and what was found.


The symbol "&" is used inside parentheses; the word "and" is used in text..
The author's last name and the year of publication should appear in any in text citation.
Be aware of how to cite a work with multiple authors, and how this format will change after the first citation.
Only the source you actually read should appear in the References.


Start a new page..
The title of the page (References) should be centered and not underlined
The page should be double-spaced; bring each new reference to the margin and indent the remainder of the reference.
Only use last names and first initials, not full first names.
Only references cited in your paper appear in the References. Likewise, anything cited in your paper must appear in the References.
If you did not actually read an article but read about it (secondary sources), you must cite the article of interest and the source you read utilized within the text of your paper. Only the source you actually read appears in the References


Watch this webinar to learn about APA style and how to format your paper in Microsoft Word 2010, according to Ashford University guidelines and APA style.