How to Write an Outline in APA 6th Edition Format
Every idea, conception, theory, should be carefully elaborated in order to prove its full potential. It is true that writing is usually a spontaneous process and that a given person needs to have real flair for writing. However, in the academic world it is not possible to start writing a research paper out of nothing, without any preliminary considerations. The same is true for writing fiction or even stories; first of all, an author should start with outlining his/her ideas, and then materializing them. Outlines have two important functions: first, they contain the main ideas of which the given paper is constituted; and second, they help their author to elaborate further his/her ideas. In all cases, it is recommended to prepare an outline any time you want to write a story, an essay, a research paper, and especially a Bachelor or a Master thesis.
Writing an outline in APA 6th edition format is not an easy thing. APA does not have any special guide dedicated to writing outlines. However, you need to adhere to its requirements related to formatting the text. Besides, it can be claimed that the alpha-numeric outline is preferred by APA instead of the decimal outline. APA has issued by now six editions, the last being published in 2009. Let’s see now how to write an outline in APA 6th edition format.
Writing an outline in APA 6th edition format – 6 essential points
APA style is used throughout Psychology, Education sciences, and other fields of academic knowledge similar to them. It makes particular work more reliable by using a simplified system for citation and referencing.
APA style recommends the following formatting:
- 12 pt Times New Roman font,
- double-spacing, and
- one-inch margins.
There are no particular instructions regarding the indentation of the sub-headings and their sections, but it is recommended to use different indentation for different levels of text.
One of the main principles of writing an outline is to spread the text into several headings equally and reasonably. This is the so-called principle of coordination. All headings should become together one whole, an integrated unit which does not omit anything important. The other main principle is subordination; the sub-headings should give more details about the headings. Still, you should remember that the information available in the headings needs to be divided reasonably into sub-headings.
4. Alpha-numeric outline
This means, your headings should be numbered according to Roman numerals (I); capital letters (A) are used for the sub-headings; and the contents of the sub-headings is to be divided through Arabic numerals (1). The other option is the decimal outline where numeration like 1.1, 1.2 is used instead of capital letters.
5. Short sentences vs. long sentences
Your outline can consist of either short or long sentences. A short sentence consists of several words indicating an idea of the author. A long (complete) sentence contains the whole thesis, or assertion. In what follows you will see a sample outline consisting of short sentences.
Of course, your outline should have a topic as well as your essay (or research paper). The outline has to be directly related to the topic.
A sample outline:
Psychological help for refugees
I. Problems and difficulties experienced by refugees.
A. Social problems experienced by refugees
- Social isolation
- Language and education limitations
B. Psychological problems experienced by refugees
- Lack of confidence
II. Types of psychological help for refugees
A. Formal help
- State institutions
- Non-governmental organizations
B. Non-formal help
- Refugee community
- Non-licensed “advisors”
III. Period of the helping process
A. Short-term help
- Help with accommodation and job
- Help with language
B. Long-term help
- Help concerning career prospects
- Help concerning further education