How to Write a Psychological Case Report in APA Style

Psychological case reports must adhere to specific APA guidelines for style, format and citations.

Within the social sciences, most instructors require that reports and research papers adhere to the APA (American Psychological Association) official style guidelines. Psychology students and professionals often need to write up clinical case reports in APA style. Psychological case reports are based on the study of one individual over the course of a treatment program, in order to analyze the implications of that person's unique pathology and response to treatment. In addition to following APA style, it's essential to effectively format your case report per your professor or organization's specific instructions.

Conduct your research according to instructor guidelines. Information gathered about your subject should be thorough and address any information or issues that may affect their psychological condition. This data should include your subject's social background, age, gender, medical history, family history, history and development of the pathology, your diagnosis according to the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: 4E (DSM-IV)", history of response to prior treatment, methods for current treatment (such as psychoanalytical versus cognitive-behavioral), effects of treatment and implications for the future. Your writing should address the subject personally by name or pseudonym, yet you must always speak objectively and avoid generalizations. Remember that your work is an official scientific report.

Organize your research findings according to instructor guidelines. One example of a case study would include the above information, presented in logically flowing sections: Abstract Introduction Method (Subject, Measures, Procedure) Results Discussion References.

Follow the basic APA format guidelines: Use a running header, which includes the article title with page numbers, in the top right-hand corner. Include a title page with centered items in the following order: Full title, author(s) name, author's affiliation, author's contact information (if applicable). Double space the text. Use 10 to 12 point font, preferably Times New Roman. Use other internal headings where appropriate. Headings help to organize your paper further and clarify ideas for the reader.

Insert a parenthetical in-text citation at the end of any sentence containing quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise reference material. These citations should be formatted as follows: Single author: (Author, year published) Two authors: (Author & Author, year published) Multiple authors: (Author, Author, & Author, year published) 6 or more authors: (Author et al., year published) Groups or organizations: (Group name or abbreviation, year published)

Full citations in the "References" section must adhere to the following format: Smith, J., Hoover, S., & Clayton, A. (2000). Title of Article (when applicable, no quotes or italics). Title of work or journal (in italics), volume no. (if applicable), issue no. (if applicable), page numbers (if applicable). Publisher (if applicable): City where published (if applicable). Note: For journal articles, include the DOI number at the end of the listing if applicable. For website articles, include the URL at the end of the listing.

Joyce Kelly began her professional writing career in 2010. She brings expertise ranging from psychology to information technology to nutrition. Kelly has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Hood College of Frederick, Md.