APA Report Writing Format: Essential Tips and Guidelines

Ashley Merit

Ashley Merit

Content writer and editor for Netus.AI

Table of Contents

APA Format Guide for Creating Effective Scientific Reports

APA Report Writing Format. To produce an effective scientific report, authors should strive for consistency, structure, and presentation. This includes using a concise, accurate, and objective approach throughout the report.

  • Consistency: Maintain a uniform writing style and formatting throughout the manuscript.
  • Structure: Organize the report logically, ensuring that the report title and subtitle accurately represent the content.
  • Presentation: Utilize tables, bullet points, and bold text to visually convey information and enhance readability.

Writers should also employ a reliable word-processing program to assist in formatting and adhere to APA guidelines to ensure clarity for the target audience. By following these principles, authors can effectively craft scientific reports tailored for their specific purposes.

Long Reports and Short Reports:

Reports can be classified into two main categories: long reports and short reports. Long reports exceed ten pages and are typically more formal. In contrast, short reports are less than ten pages and are generally informal. Many companies utilize short reports for internal assessments.

  • Long reports: Often exceeding ten pages, these formal reports may cover complex topics or present extensive data. Examples include comprehensive studies and dissertations.
  • Short reports: Briefer and more informal in nature, these reports may address specific issues or offer brief insights. Common examples include table of contents, summaries, and internal evaluations.

To enhance comprehension, use formatting elements such as tables, bullet points, and bold text when applicable.

Internal and External Reports

  • Internal reports are utilized solely within an organization
  • External reports are shared with stakeholders, customers, or the public

These reports differ in their purpose and audience, providing tailored information as needed.

Periodic Reports:

Periodic reports are consistently prepared in various organizations to monitor the progress of projects and business operations. These include incident reports, sales summaries, and progress evaluations. Annual reports are also a type of periodic documentation produced by companies.

Analytical Reports

Uncovering the Contents of Your Writing

Organizations and companies create analytical reports to examine data and evaluate their business strategies. These reports serve as essential tools in making informed decisions and improving performance.

In addition to business-focused reports, various technical reports exist, such as those used in scientific research papers. Researchers generate reports describing their objectives, methods, limitations, findings, and more. This comprehensive approach allows for a thorough understanding of the research conducted and its implications.

To ensure the originality of your writing, Copyleaks offers a free tool that can help detect and prevent plagiarism effectively.

What Is APA Style?

APA Style is a documentation style utilized by the American Psychological Association, commonly used by researchers and students for reports related to psychology, anthropology, science, sociology, and other educational subjects. Its primary features include in-text citations and a reference page.

In APA Style, in-text citations require the author’s name and date within the research paper, linking back to the reference page. The reference page should have a detailed list of materials used, including the author’s name, page number, publication date, and other relevant details.

The APA 7th Edition has some general guidelines to be followed:

  • Use a 12pt Times New Roman font for typing the report.
  • Keep page margins to one inch.
  • Apply double line spacing throughout the text.
  • Use a running head on every page.
  • Indent every new paragraph by half an inch.

These guidelines aim to ensure consistency and clarity in academic writing, making it easier for researchers and readers to understand and navigate through the content, enhancing overall comprehension. By adhering to APA Style, writers ensure a uniform presentation of their work, making it more accessible to a broader audience.

Format of a Report Writing Using APA Style:

In any professional report, clarity and organization are essential. When writing research, business, or science reports, writers must adhere to a consistent format to ensure readability. The APA Style is one such formatting method that offers a comprehensive approach to organizing and presenting information.


Headings should be concise and informative, with different levels for primary headings (Heading 1) and subsequent subheadings (Headings 2 to 5). Heading 1 should be centered, bold, and in title case capitalization. Heading 2 uses left alignment, bold font, and title capitalization. Heading 3 applies indentations, boldface, and sentence case capitalization.

Title and Title Page

The title should accurately reflect the report’s content, keeping it concise and practical. In APA format, the title page includes a running head, the page number, the complete paper title in title case, author names without degrees or titles, and institutional affiliation.


An abstract is a brief summary of the entire report, summarizing the problem, methodology, results, and implications. In APA style, an abstract should be around 250 words, with a centered “Abstract” heading at the top of the page. Important keywords should be included at the end of the abstract.


The introduction should provide an overview of the topic and the existing literature. It should also outline the writer’s approach, methodology, and research goals.


This section should describe the procedures and processes followed throughout the research. Detailing the steps taken enhances the report’s credibility.


The results section documents the research findings and observations. Presenting accurate and unbiased results is crucial for maintaining the report’s integrity.


The discussion section provides an analysis and interpretation of the results. Writers can discuss their conclusions, limitations, and concerns they encountered during the research process, as well as the implications of their findings.


In APA-style reports, a reference list presents all sources cited within the text. This list should include the author’s name, publication date, page number, and other pertinent information following the APA citation format. To avoid plagiarism, make sure to give proper credit even when paraphrasing or summarizing content from referenced sources.

In-Text Citations

Using in-text citations is crucial for maintaining the ethical standards of academic writing. In APA format, citations must include the author’s name and the publication date of the work.

By adhering to these formatting guidelines, writers can create well-structured and easily understandable reports using APA Style. Don’t hesitate to use tables, bullet points, bold text, and other content formatting options to enhance the reader’s experience and convey the information clearly and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Creating an APA Format Title Page

To create a title page in APA format for a report, include the title of the report, author’s name, institutional affiliation, course number, instructor’s name, and due date. Center these elements vertically and horizontally on the page. Ensure you use an accessible font, such as Times New Roman 12pt, Arial 11pt, or Georgia 11pt. For more details, visit DePaul University’s APA FAQ.

Guidelines for In-text Citations in APA

In APA format, in-text citations should include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number (if applicable). Use parentheses to enclose the citation:

  • (Author’s Last Name, Year, p. Page Number) for direct quotes
  • (Author’s Last Name, Year) for paraphrasing

For more assistance, check Purdue OWL’s General APA FAQs.

Structuring an APA Format References Page

An APA format references page should have the following structure:

  • Begin on a separate page after the report and title it “References”
  • Center the title at the top of the page
  • Double-space all entries
  • Use a hanging indent for each reference entry
  • List references in alphabetical order by the author’s last name

For additional guidance, see Keuka College’s APA 7th Edition FAQ.

Key Elements for an Abstract in APA Format

An abstract in APA format should include:

  • A brief summary of the report’s purpose, research questions, methods, results, and conclusions
  • The abstract should be placed on its own page, directly after the title page
  • Keep the abstract between 150 to 250 words

Presenting Tables and Figures in APA Reports

In APA format, tables and figures should:

  • Be numbered consecutively (Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.)
  • Have a brief but descriptive title
  • Include necessary footnotes below the table or figure to explain abbreviations or additional information
  • Be mentioned in the text before they appear on the page

Formatting Headings and Subheadings in APA

In APA format, headings and subheadings should:

  • Be concise and descriptive
  • Use sentence case (capitalize the first word, proper nouns, and first word after a colon)
  • Be formatted according to the heading levels:
    • Level 1 headings should be bold and centered
    • Level 2 headings should be bold and left-aligned
    • Level 3 headings should be bold, italicized, and left-aligned
    • Level 4 headings should be italicized and indented
    • Level 5 headings should be italicized, indented, and end with a period
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