The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (2010) describes how a paper is to be written in the social sciences.
Chapter 1 covers ethical issues including treatment of participants, plagiarism, validity, and replication of data.
Chapter 2 details manuscript specifications.
Chapter 3 simplifies APA style to ease the move to electronic publication and updates bias reducing language.
For more information and examples of References, see sections 6.22-6.32 in the 6th ed. Publication Manual:
Begin a new page headed with the word “References” centered at the top.
Use “Reference” if there is only one.
Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name. If no author given, start with the first significant word in the title. [6.25]
Periodical titles should be in italics and written in full with both capital and lower case letters. [6.29]
Italicize the volume number but not the issue number. Include the issue number if each issue starts with page 1. [6.30]
For nonperiodical titles like books and reports, capitalize the first word of the title and subtile and italicize the title. Use parentheses around additional information such as edition or report number following the title. [6.29]
If an article Digital Object Identifier (doi) is noted in the print article, include it. See Electronic References for more information on doi. [6.32]
Double space the entire document.References are to be in a hanging indent format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented. In Microsoft Office: Word 2007, choose Line spacing> Line spacing options> Indentation> Special> Hanging. In Word 2010, choose Page Layout>Paragraph>Indentation>Special.
Bias reducing guidelines
Avoid words that may imply bias based on gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic group, disability, or age.
Differences should be mentioned only when relevant.
Use gender to refer to women and men as social groups. Sex is biological and used when biological distinction is made.
Avoid labeling people. Put the people first by writing 'people diagnosed with depression' rather than labeling them as 'the depressives'.
See Reducing Bias in Language on page 70 in the Publication Manual.
Punctuation and spacing
Double space the entire paper.
Insert one space after commas, semicolons and colons, after periods of the initials in personal names and periods separating the elements in a reference citation.
Insert two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence.
Use a comma between elements in a series of three or more, including before and or or.
Use double quotation marks. Single quotation marks may be used inside double quotation marks to mark the text that was in quotes in the original paper.
Use a hyphen, en dash or em dash without a space before or after. A hyphen with a space before and after is read as a minus sign.
Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the first word after a colon that begins a complete sentence.
Capitalize the titles of published or unpublished tests.
Use italics in the titles of books, periodicals, films, videos, and TV shows.
Use numbers to express time, dates, ages, scores, money and numerals but use words when a number begins a sentence or for common fractions.
References are to be in a hanging indent format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented. In Microsoft Office: Word 2007, choose Line spacing> Line spacing options> Indentation> Special> Hanging. In Word 2010, choose Page Layout>Paragraph>Indentation>Special.