How to Write a Title Page in APA Format

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The title page is the first page of your psychology paper. In order to make a good first impression, it is important to have a well-formatted title page in proper APA format that clearly represents your paper.

The following format should be used for psychology lab reports and other student papers. Your instructor may also request that you use a similar format for other types of psychology writing.

There are differing guidelines for title pages for professional papers.

Elements of a Title Page

  • Article title
  • Author’s name
  • Author's school or institutional affiliation
  • Running head (not required for student papers)
  • Page number

How to Choose a Good Title

One of the most difficult tasks is choosing a good title. Your title should be as specific as possible. Notice the titles used in the following examples:

  • [Specific] "Second-Order Beliefs and the Use of Self-Presentational Explanations for Behavior"
  • [General] "Cognitive Abilities and Social Understanding"

The best way to structure your title is to look at your hypothesis and experimental variables. For example: "The Effects of [Independent Variable] on [Dependent Variable]"

The official APA publication manual notes that your title should be brief, yet it should communicate the main topic and variables of interest. Your goal should be to craft a title that can stand alone and be fully explanatory without further elaboration. A reader browsing through paper titles in an online database should be able to quickly read your title and know exactly what your paper is about.

You should also avoid words that serve no real purpose or that do not communicate essential information. Some examples of such words and phrases include “An Experiment on…,” “A Study of…”, “method,” or “results.”

How Long Should a Title Be?

The APA publication manual suggests that your title should be no more than 12 words long.

Author’s Name and School Affiliation

The next element of your title page is the byline, which lists the author’s name as well as their institutional affiliation. Listing your first name, middle initial(s), and the last name is the recommended format. Do not include abbreviations of titles or degrees such as Dr. or Ph.D.

The institutional affiliation should be the location where the research was conducted, most often a college or university. In some cases, research may have been supported by more than one institution. For these instances, only include two affiliations if both schools offered substantial support to the research and only list two affiliations for every author. What should you do if you were not affiliated with an academic institution when the research was conducted? In this instance, the APA suggests listing your city and state of residence in place of the academic affiliation.

Other Elements

  • A running head should be included in the upper left-hand corner on all pages, including the title page (not required on title page if it's a student paper).
  • All pages, including the title page, should also have a page number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • The first line of your title page should be left-aligned at the top of the page, using the following format:

Running head: PAGE TITLE

Note that the running head should be listed as no more than fifty characters, including letters, spacing between words, and punctuation of your title in uppercase letters.

  • Your title, name, and institution should be double-spaced and centered on the page. Student papers should also include the assignment due date directly below the institution information.

For Professional Papers

The APA's guidelines are slightly different for papers intended for scholarly publication in a professional journal. 

In addition to the basic elements included in a basic title page, a professional paper should also include a running head with a shortened version of the paper's title. 

A professional paper should also include an author's note below the institutional affiliation. This note should include the author's name, the symbol for the ORCID iD, the URL for the ORC iD. An ORCID iD is an alphanumeric code used to identify scientific and academic authors. If an author does not have an ORDID iD, their name should be omitted. 

In the second paragraph, list any changes in author affiliation. For example, if one of the author's is now affiliated with a different university from where the research was conducted, the author's note might state that "Dr. Last Name is now at the Department of Psychology, University of Georgia."

In the third paragraph, list any acknowledgments and disclosures, including possible conflicts of interests and sources of financial support.

The fourth paragraph of the author's note should include the author's contact information.

Student papers should not include an author's note.

Title Page Checklist

  1. Does your title page contain a title, your name, your institutional affiliation, a running head (not required on title page if it's a student paper), and a page number?
  2. Is your title clear, specific, and does it accurately describe what your paper is about?
  3. Is your running head in uppercase format and no longer than fifty characters in length?
  4. Is the title, your name, and institutional affiliation centered on the page and double-spaced?

Check out this example of a title page in APA format.

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  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Author: Washington, DC.

Additional Reading
  • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Author: Washington, DC; 2019.