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SO2690 - Holland

General Guidelines for Formatting

Always read the assignment instructions before formatting your essay.

Notice that the title page has a Running head. This shows on the first page only. Watch the video below for instructions on how to create the Running head. 


What are headings? (APA, 2010, p.62)

  • Headings provide a structure for your ideas and help guide the reader through your paper;
  • Do not use numbers or letters with headings;
  • Introduction paragraphs do not need headings.
  • Student papers usually require only two or three levels of headings.


Headings are formatted as follows:

Level 1 (Main idea)

Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

Level 2 (Sub-topic for main idea)

Flush Left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

Level 3 (Sub-topic for sub-topic)

          Indented, boldface, lowercase heading ending with a period.


See APA, 2010, p. 62-63 Table 3.1 for more details.

Add brochures, tables, lists, or other important information that does not fit in your paper in an appendix.

  • Simply add a new page at the end of your document - before your reference list- and label it Appendix A (or whatever format you choose).
  • Then place the information in a neat and organized fashion on the page.
  • Be sure to include any citations with the information just as you would if it was placed in your essay.
  • Provide a corresponding reference entry to any citations you have used. 

Take note of a few things for your reference page.

  • The running head (shortened version of your title in all caps) is still present. The header, References, is in normal font and centered on the page. 
  • Each reference entry is alphabetized on this page according to the first author's last name.
  • Each entry is also in a 'hanging indent'. That is, the first line is flush with the paper's margin and the rest of the lines are indented in. Use your program to create the indent, do not tab each line individually. 

Watch the video below to learn how to create the hanging indent on MS Word. 

Abbreviations (APA, 2010, pp. 106-111)

  • In general, use abbreviations only (a) if it is conventional and if the reader is more familiar with the abbreviation than with the complete form, or (b) if considerable space can be saved and cumbersome repetition avoided.
  • A term to be abbreviated must, on its first appearance, be written out completely and followed immediately by its abbreviation in parentheses; thereafter, use abbreviation only.

The first president of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) was Mary Agnes Snively. CNA was formed in 1908 and was originally called the Canadian National Association of Trained Nurses (CNATN).

  • Never begin a sentence with a lowercase abbreviation (e.g., lb); write out the word instead.
  • Contractions (e.g., “don’t, “it’s, “won’t”) are not permitted; write out the entire word (e.g., “do not”, “it is”, “will not”)
  • Exclamation marks are not appropriate  unless they are part of the direct quote

Numbers (APA, 2010, pp. 111-115)

  • As a general rule, use figures to express double-digit numbers (e.g., 10 and above, 4.5 inches) and words to express numbers below 10.

There are 26 patients on this unit.

There are two nurses on night shift.

  • Use words to express any number that begins a sentence, title, or heading.

Twelve subjects left the experiment.

  • To make plurals out of numbers, add s only, with no apostrophe (e.g., 1960s).
  • Use the percent symbol (%) only with figures (5%) not with written numbers (five percent).


Chapter 3 of the APA Manual, titled Writing Concisely, discusses bias and how to write clearly.
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