How to report numbers and statistics in APA style
The APA style guide is commonly used for reporting research results in the social and natural sciences. This article walks you through APA style standards for reporting statistics in academic writing.
Statistical analysis involves gathering and testing quantitative data to make inferences about the world. A statistic is any number that describes a sample: it can be a proportion, a range, or a measurement, and so on.
When reporting statistics, use these formatting rules and suggestions from the APA style guide where relevant.
Table of contents
 Numbers and measurements
 Decimal places and leading zeros
 Formatting mathematical formulas
 Formatting statistical terms
 Reporting means and standard deviations
 Reporting chisquare tests
 Reporting z tests and t tests
 Reporting analysis of variance (ANOVAs)
 Reporting correlations
 Reporting regressions
 Reporting confidence intervals
 Frequently asked questions about APA style statistics
Numbers and measurements
In general, the APA advises using words for numbers under 10 and numerals for 10 and greater.
You should always use numerals for:
 exact numbers before units of measurement or time
 mathematical equations
 percentages and percentiles
 ratios, decimals, and uncommon fractions
 scores and points on scales (e.g., 7point scale)
 exact amounts of money.
Units of measurement and time
Report exact measurements using numerals, and use symbols or abbreviations for common units of measurement when they accompany exact measurements. Include a space between the number and the abbreviation.
When stating approximate figures, use words to express numbers under 10, and spell out the names of units of measurement.
Measurements should be reported in metric units. If you recorded measurements in nonmetric units, include metric equivalents in your report as well as the original units.
Percentages
Use numerals for percentages along with the percent symbol (%). Don’t insert a space between the number and the symbol.
Words for “percent” or “percentage” should only be used in text when numbers aren’t used.
Decimal places and leading zeros
The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.
The following guidelines are usually applicable.
One decimal place  Two decimal places 


Use two or three decimal places and report exact values for all p values greater than .001. For p values smaller than .001, report them as p < .001.
Leading zeros
A leading zero is zero before the decimal point for numbers less than one. In APA style, it’s only used in some cases.
Use a leading zero only when the statistic you’re describing can be greater than one. If it can never exceed one, omit the leading zero.
Use a leading zero  Don’t use a leading zero 



Formatting mathematical formulas
Provide formulas only when you use new or uncommon equations. For short equations, present them within one line in the main text whenever possible.
Make the order of operations as clear as possible by using parentheses (round brackets) for the first step, brackets [square brackets] for the second step, and braces {curly brackets} for the third step, where necessary.
More complex equations, or equations that take more than one line, should be displayed on their own lines. Equations should be displayed and numbered if you will reference them later on, regardless of their complexity. Number equations by placing the numbers in parentheses near the right of the page.
Formatting statistical terms
When reporting statistical results, present information in easily understandable ways. You can use a mix of text, tables and figures to present data effectively when you have a lot of numbers to report.
In your main text, use helpful words like “respectively” or “in order” to aid understanding when listing several statistics in a sequence.
The APA manual provides guidelines for dealing with statistical terms, symbols and abbreviations.
Symbols and abbreviations
Population parameters are often represented with Greek letters, while sample statistics are often represented with italicized Latin letters.
Use the population symbol (N) for the total number of elements in a sample, and use the sample symbol (n) for the number of elements in each subgroup of the full sample.
In general, abbreviations should be defined on first use, but this isn’t always the case for common statistical abbreviations.
Define  Don’t define 



Use symbols for statistical terms  Use words for statistical terms 

When directly referring to a numerical quantity or operator: M = 5.41  In the main text: “the mean accuracy was higher…” 
Capitalization, italicization and hyphenation
Statistical terms such as t test, z test, and p value always begin with a lowercase, italicized letter. Never begin a sentence with lowercase statistical abbreviations.
These statistical terms should only be hyphenated when they modify a subsequent word (e.g., “ztest results” versus results of “z tests”).
You can form plurals of statistical symbols (e.g., M or p) by adding a nonitalicized “s” to the end with no apostrophe (e.g., Ms or ps).
In general, the following guidelines apply.
Italicize  Don’t italicize 



Capitalize  Don’t capitalize 

Names of effects or variables only when they appear with multiplication signs: Age × Sex effect  Lowercase statistical terms: t test, p value 
Round vs square brackets
Always aim to avoid nested parentheses and brackets when reporting statistics. Instead, you should use commas to separate related statistics.
Use round brackets (parentheses)  Use square brackets 



Reporting means and standard deviations
Report descriptive statistics to summarize your data. Quantitative data is often reported using means and standard deviations, while qualitative data (e.g., demographic variables) is reported using proportions.
Means and standard deviations can be presented in the main text and/or in parentheses. You don’t need to repeat the units of measurement (e.g., centimeters) for statistics relating to the same data.
Reporting chisquare tests
To report the results of a chisquare test, include the following:
 the degrees of freedom (df) in parentheses
 the chisquare (χ^{2}) value (also referred to as the chisquare test statistic)
 the p value
Reporting z tests and t tests
For z tests
To report the results of a z test, include the following:
 the z value (also referred to as the z statistic or z score)
 the p value
For t tests
To report the results of a t test, include the following:
 the degrees of freedom (df) in parentheses
 the t value (also referred to as the t statistic)
 the p value
Reporting analysis of variance (ANOVAs)
To report the results of an ANOVA, include the following:
 the degrees of freedom (between groups, within groups) in parentheses
 the F value (also referred to as the F statistic)
 the p value
Reporting correlations
To report the results of a correlation, include the following:
 the degrees of freedom in parentheses
 the r value (the correlation coefficient)
 the p value
Reporting regressions
Results of regression analyses are often displayed in a table because the output includes many numbers.
To report the results of a regression analysis in the text, include the following:
 the R^{2 }value (the coefficient of determination)
 the F value (also referred to as the F statistic)
 the degrees of freedom in parentheses
 the p value
The format is usually:
Reporting confidence intervals
You should report confidence intervals of effect sizes (e.g., Cohen’s d) or point estimates where relevant.
To report a confidence interval, state the confidence level and use brackets to enclose the lower and upper limits of the confidence interval, separated by a comma.
When presenting multiple confidence intervals with the same confidence levels in a sequence, don’t repeat the confidence level or the word “CI.”
Frequently asked questions about APA style statistics
 What statistical results do you need to report according to APA style?

According to the APA guidelines, you should report enough detail on inferential statistics so that your readers understand your analyses.
Report the following for each hypothesis test:
 the test statistic value
 the degrees of freedom
 the exact p value (unless it is less than 0.001)
 the magnitude and direction of the effect
You should also present confidence intervals and estimates of effect sizes where relevant.
 How many decimal places do you use in APA style?

The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.
Use one decimal place for:
Use two decimal places for:
 Correlation coefficients
 Proportions
 Inferential test statistics such as t values, F values, and chisquares.
 When should I use tables or figures to present numbers?

In APA style, statistics can be presented in the main text or as tables or figures. To decide how to present numbers, you can follow APA guidelines:
 To present three or fewer numbers, try a sentence,
 To present between 4 and 20 numbers, try a table,
 To present more than 20 numbers, try a figure.
Since these are general guidelines, use your own judgment and feedback from others for effective presentation of numbers.
1 comment
Pritha Bhandari (Scribbr Team)
April 1, 2021 at 8:15 PMThanks for reading! Hope you found this article helpful. If anything is still unclear, or if you didn’t find what you were looking for here, leave a comment and we’ll see if we can help.