How To Write A Proper APA Abstract?

APA refers to the format used to write your assignment, be it thesis, dissertation or term paper. This style of writing is usually used in social science college circles, (APA stands for American Psychological Association), but is not limited only to that category. There are certain finicky little details which must be adhered to for the paper to be accepted as an APA-written assignment.

The abstract of your APA paper, like the rest of it, will have a lot of supporting features which contribute to its APA status. These features follow below:

Font choice

Unless otherwise instructed, use Times New Roman font, size 12 for the text. This is sort of an unspoken law in dissertation writing so don’t try to be too fancy with some other font. This has been the downfall of many a student who tried with his or her first dissertation to be unnecessarily creative, resulting in a penalization for incorrect format.


Write the word ‘Abstract’ and make sure it is centred above your abstract content. Again, don’t try to highlight the heading in any way by emboldening it or changing the font to something more glamorous.

Word count

Your abstract should be roughly 200 words long. A little more or a little less is fine, but stick to a general word count of about this amount. Remember that your abstract is only a summary of your paper, so you really need to stick to a conservative amount of text.


Your APA abstract should be typed with spaces in between lines. The same way you would submit a manuscript to a publisher, so too should your abstract (in fact your whole dissertation) appear when writing it in an APA style.

Also avoid dividing your abstract into more than one paragraph. One paragraph of about 200 words is sufficient for a standard APA abstract.


Once your abstract is written, place a list of about 5 keywords below the paragraph. These should be written in italics and be positioned exactly as so:

Keywords – One, two, three, four, five

Remember to separate your keywords with commas and don’t place a period at the end of the last keyword. If you are short of relevant keywords, three will also be deemed acceptable.

The rest of your paper

You can follow these guidelines generally for the remainder of your thesis, but check with your professor for any specific APA writing requirements.