Ninth Edition CoverGraziano & Raulin
Research Methods (9th edition)

Typing the Research Report

The specifications for typing a manuscript are designed to simplify the process of transferring the material from the manuscript to a published article. Therefore, many of the procedures will appear to be unnecessary until one realizes how material is handled during the publication process. 

We will describe the strict APA typing guidelines in this section. Be aware that those guidelines can be modified if the paper is being prepared for something other than publication in a journal that uses APA style. For example, many libraries will accept APA style for Master's theses and dissertations, but they modify the style by integrating tables and figures into the text rather than having them all at the end of the text. Libraries also encourage authors to put footnotes at the bottom of a page rather than at the end of the text. These changes make it easier to read the dissertation. Check with your instructor on how closely you should follow the APA guidelines for class papers. 

You should also be aware that rapid improvements in computing and digital communication has changed procedures for many journals. For example, most journal articles are submitted electronically, rather than through the mail. Therefore, if you are using these guidelines to prepare a paper for publication, it is best to check the current requirements of the journal to which you plan to submit your work.

Rationale for APA Style Typing Instructions

The APA style typing instructions follow a variety of specific rules designed to simplify the process of preparing a manuscript. It is often easier to remember some of these rules if you understand why the rules exist. 

The entire manuscript should be typed double-spaced with at least a one-inch margin all around (top, bottom, left, right). The purpose of this rule is to allow sufficient space for copyeditors to make corrections to the manuscript or ask questions of the author. 

Many of the sections of the manuscript should begin on a new page, including the abstract, the introduction, the references, tables, figures, and appendices. The reason is that each of these elements are handled separately in the production process and then integrated as the final step. Typing them on separate pages simplifies this process. Also, placing all the tables together at the end of the manuscript and all the figures together makes it easier to process these individual elements. 

Figure captions appear on a separate page from the figures, because the artwork of the figures is treated differently from the figure caption during production.

General Typing Instructions

Follow these general guidelines for the typing of the manuscript

  • Establish a minimum of a one-inch margin all around.
  • Type everything double-spaced, including the tables.
  • At the top of each page there should be a short running head, with a page number in the right hand corner. Every page should be numbered starting with the title page.
  • Many of the sections of the manuscript should start on a new page (see next section).

Order of Elements in Manuscript

In a typical manuscript, the elements will appear in the following order. We indicate which sections start a new page. The details of what should appear in each of these sections has been spelled out in other sections of this tutorial. In many of these presentations, we have provided the details of the typing instructions. We have provided a link to each of those sections below.

Final Checks

You should do everything possible to make sure that your manuscript is error free before submitting it for publication. At a minimum, a spell check should be run to identify most spelling and typographical errors. It is helpful to use the word count feature included in most word processors to give the production editor an idea of the length of the article. Write the word count on the title page of the manuscript.

Submitting a Manuscript for Publication

Each journal is different, but most journals follow a general format for submitting a manuscript. Your submission package will usually include a cover letter and a copy of the manuscript. 

The exact requirements are usually spelled out in each issue of the journal under a section called Instructions to the Author. In many journals, this information will be included on the inside front cover. For other journals, it will be included elsewhere in the journal and can be located in the table of contents for the journal issue. The instructions will tell you how many copies to send and the name and address of the journal's editor. 

Most journals now accept articles through electronic submissions, usually through a designated website. Some journals will only accept articles in this manner. Be sure to check the journal to see exactly what is required, because the requirements are no longer as uniform as they once were.  

Many journals now require specific certifications in your cover letter or on the website you use to submit the article electronically. For example, you may have to certify that the research met specific ethical guidelines and that it was approved by the appropriate IRB. Read the directions carefully to make sure that you provide all of the information necessary in the cover letter. ALWAYS keep a copy of the manuscript for yourself just in case your submission is lost in the mail.

Other Publication Styles

The APA publication style is one of the most widely used publication styles, but it is by no means the only publication style. Medical journals usually use the AMA publication style, and journals in other disciplines will use other publication styles. 

The Instructions to the Author section will specify the style that should be used. You can often tell the style by looking at the articles that are published in the journal, but if you plan on submitting papers to certain journals, we recommend that you have a copy of the publication style manual used for that journal. 

Listed below are the two most widely used manuals for material relevant to psychology. These manuals are updated periodically to reflect changes in style and to reflect changes in publication media (e.g., electronic journals).

American Psychological Association (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

American Medical Association (2007). American Medical Association Manual of Style (Tenth Edition). New York: Oxford University Press..