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What is the appropriate format for a psychology research paper?

In writing a psychology research paper, arguably the most common format is that of the APA style. It is used in countless numbers of essays and certainly in many psychology research papers. The choice of format of course is important but not nearly as important as adhering to its rules and requirements. The whole point of being asked to write your paper using a particular format is that the person reading and marking your paper is able to understand the layout.

This is vitally important. Of course the actual content of your psychology research paper is what will determine the rating you are given. But to make the examiner's task so much easier, using the layout as prescribed in the APA format will make the reading of your paper simple. Your teacher or professor can concentrate on the content and not worry about where things are to be found.

But there's more to your paper than the format

One mistake many psychology students make in writing their research paper is to tackle too broad a subject. There are so many aspects to the study of psychology and therefore so many potential topics. The secret is to choose one aspect of psychology and even then refine that particular topic. One of the best ways to find a narrow focus topic is to brainstorm the event.

By taking the general topic in psychology, let’s say obesity, and then brainstorming that topic you can refine or narrow the focus of what you actually write about. The more narrow the focus of your research paper, the more details can be in your description. It is far easier to write with confidence about a clearly defined topic than to tackle a broad and general aspect of psychology.

Using the APA format requires that you list all references to other writers you wish to quote in your research paper on a special page given over to the citation of references. You must definitely understand the procedure for getting this right.

A little tip as far as your first draft is concerned is to include any and all references in this version of your research paper. It gives you the opportunity to have the perfect overview of what you have created. During the proofreading and editing stage you may well remove one or more of the quotations or at least reduce it in size. But give yourself the opportunity to do that by including all quotes in the first draft.