Faculty of Arts

Empirical Checklist

APA Checklist for a Paper on an Empirical Study

General format

  • Double-spaced
  • 12-pt font
  • Margins of at least 1 inch

Title page

  • Header
  • Running head
  • Title centered
  • Author (first name, middle initial, last name)
  • Institution


  • Not indented
  • Defines all abbreviations, acronyms, unique terms
  • Includes 4-5 of the most important findings
  • Uses 3rd person
  • Doesn’t exceed 120 words

Should describe

  • The problem under investigation
  • Participants
  • Experimental method, including procedure
  • Findings
  • Conclusion, and implications/applications


  • The title of the paper is the heading
  • Presents the problem and describes past research
  • Discusses background
  • States the purpose and rationale of your paper
  • States hypotheses and defines variables


  • The heading “Method” is centered
  • How the study was conducted
  • Explain the manipulation
  • Detailed enough to let someone else replicate the study
  • Can identify subsections: participants, procedure, materials (left aligned, italicized)
  • Participants: sex, age, race/ ethnicity
  • How the dependent variable is measured


  • Heading “Results” is centered
  • Statistical data
  • All relevant results, even if they don’t support your hypotheses
  • Mention Tables and Figures if appropriate (located in Appendix)


  • Heading “Discussion” is centered
  • In 1st paragraph: statement of support/non-support of your hypotheses
  • Discuss similarities/differences between your findings and past research
  • Address alternative explanations for results
  • Last paragraph: -why the problem is important?
  • The larger issue that hinges on results?
  • What real life phenomenon is modeled/explained by the results?


  • Reference list begins with a new page
  • The heading “References” is centered
  • In alphabetical order of the primary author’s last name
  • Double-spaced
  • Hanging indent
  • Only first word in the title of a reference source is capitalized
  • All citations made in the paper must be in the reference list
  • All reference sources must be cited in the text


  • Each appendix starts on a new page
  • Multiple appendices are labelled Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. in order that they appear in the text