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Types of APA Papers

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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).

Note:  This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. There is currently no equivalent 7th edition page, but we're working on one. Thank you for your patience. Here is a link to our APA 7 "General Format" page .

There are two common types of papers written in fields using APA Style: the literature review and the experimental report (also known as a "research report"). Each has unique requirements concerning the sections that must be included in the paper.

Literature review

A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. Often student research in APA fields falls into this category. Your professor might ask you to write this kind of paper to demonstrate your familiarity with work in the field pertinent to the research you hope to conduct. 

While the APA Publication Manual does not require a specific order for a literature review, a good literature review typically contains the following components:

Some instructors may also want you to write an abstract for a literature review, so be sure to check with them when given an assignment. Also, the length of a literature review and the required number of sources will vary based on course and instructor preferences.

NOTE:  A literature review and an annotated bibliography are  not  synonymous. While both types of writing involve examining sources, the literature review seeks to synthesize the information and draw connections between sources. If you are asked to write an annotated bibliography, you should consult the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  for the APA Format for Annotated Bibliographies.

Experimental/Research report

In many of the social sciences, you will be asked to design and conduct your own experimental research. If so, you will need to write up your paper using a structure that is more complex than that used for just a literature review. We have a complete resource devoted to writing an experimental report in the field of psychology  here .

This structure follows the scientific method, but it also makes your paper easier to follow by providing those familiar cues that help your reader efficiently scan your information for:

Thus an experimental report typically includes the following sections.

Make sure to check the guidelines for your assignment or any guidelines that have been given to you by an editor of a journal before you submit a manuscript containing the sections listed above.

As with the literature review, the length of this report may vary by course or by journal, but most often it will be determined by the scope of the research conducted.

Other papers

If you are writing a paper that fits neither of these categories, follow the guidelines about  General Format , consult your instructor, or look up advice in the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .

When submitting a manuscript to a journal, make sure you follow the guidelines described in the submission policies of that publication, and include as many sections as you think are applicable to presenting your material. Remember to keep your audience in mind as you are making this decision. If certain information is particularly pertinent for conveying your research, then ensure that there is a section of your paper that adequately addresses that information.

19+ APA Literature Review Examples in Word, Google Docs, PDF

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  1. Writing a Literature Review

    A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays).

  2. Writing a Literature Review

    1. Identify and define the topic that you will be reviewing. 2. Conduct a literature search.

  3. Literature review guidelines

    Literature review guidelines Developed by James O'Neill with assistance from Ronald Levant, Rod Watts, Andrew Smiler, Michael Addis, and Stephen Wester. General considerations A good review should summarize the state of knowledge on a well-defined topic in the psychology of men and masculinity in concise and clear ways.

  4. Literature Review

    Literature Review via APA Style.org "a narrative summary and evaluation of the findings or theories within a literature base. Also known as 'narrative literature review'. " Key takeaways from the Psi Chi webinar So You Need to Write a Literature Review via APA Style.org Examples of Literature Reviews

  5. PDF B.S. Research Paper Example (Literature Review)

    It is a full-length literature review article. For further information about the BS paper requirement, please visit: http://www.psychology.ucsd.edu/undergraduate-program/majors-effective-fall- 2015/research-paper-guidelines.html For information and tips about writing research papers in APA style, please visit:

  6. Conducting Your Literature Review

    Item #: 4313055 ISBN: 978-1-4338-3092-1 Copyright: 2020 Format: Paperback Availability: In Stock Also available on: Amazon Kindle , RedSource , VitalSource Part of the Concise Guides to Conducting Behavioral, Health, and Social Science Research Series View sample pages from this book (PDF, 71KB) Overview Table of Contents Contributor Bios

  7. PDF Literature Review in Psychology, APA Style (Charat)

    Introduction pro-vides background to the topic and establishes why a literature review on ADHD is necessary. Thesis states what Charat will argue by describing and analyzing the sources she has reviewed. Charat uses APA style to cite her sources.

  8. Literature Review

    From the American Psychological Association (APA), PsycINFO contains nearly 2.3 million citations and abstracts of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations in psychology and related disciplines. It is the largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed literature in behavioral science and mental health. DynaMed.

  9. Sample papers

    These sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript for publication in a professional journal and that ... Literature review professional paper template (DOCX, 47KB) Mixed methods professional paper template (DOCX, 68KB) ... Psychology of Popular Media, 10(1), pp. 28-38 ...

  10. PDF Writing a Psychology Literature Review

    What to Evaluate Authors of literature reviews evaluate a body of literature by identifying relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature and by suggesting the next step needed to solve the research problem (APA Manual 2001, p. 7).

  11. Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

    This guide will provide research and writing tips to help students complete a literature review assignment. Home; Steps for Conducting a Lit Review; Finding "The Literature" Organizing/Writing; APA Style; Chicago: Notes Bibliography; MLA Style; Sample Literature Reviews. Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts; Have an exemplary literature ...

  12. PDF University of Washington Psychology Writing Center http://www.psych.uw

    WHAT IS A LITERATURE REVIEW? Literature reviews survey research on a particular area or topic in psychology. Their main purpose is to knit together theories and results from multiple studies to give an overview of a field of research. How is a Literature Review Different from a Research Article? Research articles:

  13. Literature Reviews

    A literature review can be a short introductory section of a research article or a report or policy paper that focuses on recent research. Or, in the case of dissertations, theses, and review articles, it can be an extensive review of all relevant research. The format is usually a bibliographic essay; sources are briefly cited within the body ...

  14. LibGuides: Psychology

    In-Text Citations. When you use words (direct quotes) or ideas (paraphrases) from other authors in your paper, you must note them with in-text citations. With APA style, in-text citations can be parenthetical (enclosed in parentheses) or narrative (the author name is incorporated as part of the text). In both styles, the author's last name ...

  15. Subject Guides: PSY 306: Cognitive Psychology: Literature Reviews

    A literature review is a critical, analytical summary and synthesis of the current knowledge of a topic. As a researcher, you collect the available literature on a topic, and then select the literature that is most relevant for your purpose.

  16. Types of APA Papers

    There are two common types of papers written in fields using APA Style: the literature review and the experimental report (also known as a "research report").

  17. Conducting your literature review.

    A literature review is an overview of the available research for a specific scientific topic. Literature reviews summarize existing research to answer a review question, provide the context for new research, or identify important gaps in the existing body of literature. For students in psychology and the social sciences, conducting a literature review provides a fantastic opportunity to use ...

  18. 19+ APA Literature Review Examples in Word, Google Docs, PDF

    An APA literature review encapsulates a systematic examination and synthesis of scholarly sources relevant to a specific research topic. It serves to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing knowledge, identify gaps in research, and present a theoretical foundation for further investigation. Distinct from a book review or an article ...

  19. Students' emotion regulation and school-related well-being

    There is a lack of research examining how students' emotion regulation is linked to their well-being at school. To address this gap in the current literature, we examined reciprocal relations between two important emotion regulation strategies (cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) and school-related well-being over 12 months across 2 school years. We collected data from 2,365 ...