How to Write an APA Paper

Parts of a Paper

If you want to know how to write an APA Paper, you need to understand the different parts of a paper

A well written essay presents the reader with a topic, a specific argument or point of view on the topic, and support for that argument.

A well written essay also moves the reader easily through the argument and support. A well written essay contains four major parts and many minor parts.

  • Introductions
  • Thesis Statement
  • Body
  • Conclusion

You will include all four parts in your final essay. But, you will create these four parts in a different order.

Start with the body of your paper.                                                          

Don’t start writing; review all of the information you plan to include in your paper.

The body paragraphs come from the information you have collected from your sources about your topic.                                                                                                                                                     

From reading the original sources, listening to your professors, and from your own experiences, you will be able to present a purpose to your paper. This purpose will be your thesis or argument.

Thesis Statements

A thesis statement presents the purpose of your paper. It is the foundation of any argument and essay.

A thesis should be concise (remember your syntax) and clearly state your purpose of your paper.

Sometimes, a thesis is more than one sentence, especially if you are producing a longer paper or article.

The thesis also presents the organization of your paper. Your essay should follow the order of ideas presented in your paper.

Because a thesis is a key component to a well written, clear, and organized paper, you should refer back to your thesis statement several times in your paper.

A thesis first appears as the last sentence(s) in your introduction.   Then, use parts of your statement to introduce the different components to your argument in your paper.

Your thesis should be restated in your conclusion.

Thesis as Road Map

  • Your thesis should indicate the three, main points you are going to develop in the body paragraphs of your essay.
  • The body paragraphs should then be organized in the same order they are presented in the thesis.

Body Paragraphs

Once you have a clear idea of your argument, you can write your body paragraphs.

Body paragraphs should follow the organization of your thesis statement. If you present A, B, C (in this order) in your argument, your body paragraphs should follow the same order. The body of an essay develops the argument presented in your thesis. 

The body presents support, research, analysis, and evidence to show how your argument is valid. Each paragraph should include evidence from other sources (primary or secondary sources) and your analysis or interpretation of the evidence.

There is no limit to the number of body paragraphs you should include in your essay. Write this section of your paper first.

Introductions and Conclusions

When you have crafted a thesis and provided supporting evidence in body paragraphs, you are ready to write an introduction and conclusion.

An introduction introduces your ideas in your body paragraphs and provides your reader with an argument in the form of the thesis statement.

A conclusion ends your argument.

Look at the information in your body paragraphs to write your introduction and conclusion.

Introductions begin with a “hook”, or information presented in a way to catch the reader’s attention.                                        

Some strategies are presenting a startling fact, an interesting scenario, a statistic, or a definition.  You should cite this information.

Then, include a sentence about each main topic of your body paragraphs following the order of your paper.                                                                                                                                                      

These statements should be your own ideas and should not include summaries, paraphrases, quotes, or citations.

Finally, include your thesis statement.

Conclusions should follow the same organizational pattern as your introduction.

Refer back to your “hook”; review why it was important.

Connect each topic you presented in your introduction and then expanded upon in your body paragraphs to your thesis statement.

Conclude with finality. Do not introduce any new ideas, new research, new arguments, or new points. Do not negate your argument; you have worked hard to present your ideas!

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