Chapter 9-4:  The APA-format Research Essay

Writing > Expository Essays > Research Essay


A research essay examines or argues a point of view that is supported by researched material from several different sources.

Finding a Topic

A research essay aims to relate the topic to a central idea or problem. Create questions that can help narrow down the topic and make the essay more specific. 



Topic Sentence


Sources can be from online, academic articles or journals, magazines, books or newspapers.

Complete Source Information

When citing sources, try to write down as much information as possible about the source to avoid plagiarism. 

Books, Magazines, Newspapers                          


Online Sources

Always carefully evaluate an online source to make sure it's credible. 

Citing Sources 

Sources Cited in Text: Print 

- Put the author's name in the text and the page number in parentheses. 

Morris and Maisto (2023) state that "Anti-Psychotic medications have dramatic effects" (p. 470).


Put both author's name and page number in parentheses

Anti-Psychotic medications can have dramatic effects (Morris & Maisto, 2023, p. 470).

Sources Cited in Text: Online

- Put the author's name in the text or write a short title if there is no author mentioned. 

Brody (2022) reviews the risks of women smoking: "Today, women who smoke are more likely than men who smoke to die of lung cancer." 

According to the NIH article "Bipolar Disorders," (2021) the entire body is affected: "extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep go along with mood episodes."

- Put the name of the author or shortened title in parentheses after the sentence. 

Women should consider the consequences before starting to smoke. "Today women who smoke are more likely than men who smoke to die of lung cancer" (Brody, 2022).

The entire body is affected: "Living well with bipolar disorder requires certain adjustments" ("Bipolar Disorders," 2021).

Secondary Sources

When using quotes included from other work, uas as cited in which means quoted in, with the author's name and include both sources in your reference list.

As cited in Streicher (2021), Smith (2020) states that "There are a lot of profit-motivated physicians out there."

APA "Works Cited" List

Sample APA "References" Page Entries 

Check out How to Cite a Book in APA Style from Scribbr to see the format and examples for APA references.

Model Research Essay Outline

It is not necessary to make a research essay outline in MLA format, but your instructor may ask for one. It is a good way to organize your thoughts and important points before starting to write.  

Thesis: Write the thesis statement as a complete sentence—even in your outline.

Energy drinks are dangerous when over consumed and have negative effects on the body. 

Body Paragraphs: Write out topic sentences in full sentences like the thesis. 

1: The stimulants in energy drinks can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol. 

-  Wake Forest University study on energy drinks and alcohol. 

-  New alcohol, energy drinks

-  Energy drinks can hide someone's intoxication level 

2: Energy drinks can increase cardiovascular issues 

-  Can raise blood pressure

-  Associated with heart disease  

3: One ingredient in energy drinks, Taurine, can have negative effects on the brain. 

-  More effect on young people's developing brains

-  Taurine can intensify alertness levels but also causes seizures

Research Essay Format

Page #

Choose an informative title that lets the reader know what the 

topic and point of view are.

Your Name (or use a cover page, in which case this format will be different)

Instructor's Name (optional)

Course (optional)


Introduction: Introduce the topic and point of view of the essay. End with a thesis statement. 

Body Paragraph 1: Explain the first point and cite sources used. 

Body Paragraph 2: Explain the second point and cite sources used.

Body Paragraph 3: Explain the third point and cite sources used. Typically, standard ESL CEGEP papers are 3 body paragraphs long, but this is not a strict rule. Feel free to do more or less depending on the topic, information found, and most importantly your instructor’s instructions.

Feel free to do more or less depending on the topic, information, your professor's instructions.

Conclusion: Summarize the main ideas of the information given in the body paragraphs. End with a prediction, suggestion or quote. 


- Put the references list on a separate, final page.

- List all sources used in alphabetical order by last name or by title if no author is given.

Sample APA research essay

NOTE:  this is a sample essay. The number of words that you are required to write, or the number of ideas that you are required to express may be different for your own assignment. Refer to your assignment instructions for this information.

Maintaining this website requires alerts and feedback from the students that use it when they see a problem or have a suggestion.

Attribution information for this page:  Jamie BridgePage keywords: