The new 7th edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) publication manual simplifies and clarifies the citing of sources and features a host of improved elements including: a new chapter on journal article reporting standards (JARS), updated bias-free language usage, guidelines for ethical writing, guidance on the publication process, many new reference examples, and thankfully, consistent punctuation with one space after each punctuation mark. While there are too many changes to list here, I have chosen to focus on the changes that are most pertinent to students and teachers.
References and in-text citations in APA Style have more guidelines that make citing online sources easier and clearer. In total, 114 examples are provided, ranging from books and periodicals to audio-visuals and social media. The biggest changes in the 7th edition are:
The publisher location is no longer included in the reference.
Gallagher, A.B., McLellan, G., & Savage, M. (2021). Three Perspectives on Study Skills. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble.
Gallagher, A.B., McLellan, G., & Savage, M. (2021). Three Perspectives on Study Skills. Barnes & Noble.
The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is now shortened right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”.
6th Edition: (Gallagher, McLellan, & Savage, 2021)
7th Edition: (Gallagher et al., 2021)
Surnames and initials for up to 20 authors (instead of 7) should be provided in the reference entry.
Miller, T. C., Brown, M. J., Wilson, G. L., Evans, B. B., Turner, S. T., . . . Lee, L. H. (2018).
Miller, T. C., Brown, M. J., Wilson, G. L., Evans, B. B., Turner, S. T., Lewis, F., Nelson, T. P., Cox, G., Harris, H. L., Martin, P., Gonzalez, W. L., Hughes, W., Carter, D., Campbell, C., Baker, A. B., Flores, T., Gray, W. E., Green, G., . . . Lee, L. H. (2018).
DOIs are formatted the same as URLs. The label “DOI:” is no longer necessary, but it must be hyperlinked*.
6th Edition: doi: 1234567/1234568789.1234
7th Edition: https://doi.org/1234567/1234568.1234
*Be sure to display a permalink when using library databases.
URLs are no longer preceded by “Retrieved from,” unless a retrieval date is needed. The website name is included (unless it is the same as the author).
Streefkerk, R. (2019, October 11). APA 7th edition: The most notable changes [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-seventh-edition-changes/
Streefkerk, R. (2019, October 11). APA 7th edition: The most notable changes. Scribbr. https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-seventh-edition-changes/
For eBooks, the format, platform, or device (e.g., Kindle) is no longer included in the reference, and the publisher is included.
Brück, M. (2009). Women in early British and Irish astronomy: Stars and satellites [Kindle version]. https:/doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2473-2
Brück, M. (2009). Women in early British and Irish astronomy: Stars and satellites. Springer Nature. https:/doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2473-2
Clear guidelines are provided for including contributors other than authors and editors. For example, when citing a podcast episode, the host of the episode should be included. For a TV series episode, the writer and director of that episode are cited. Several examples are included for online source types such as podcast episodes, social media posts, and YouTube videos. The use of emojis and hashtags is also explained.
Writing inclusively and without bias is the new standard accepted worldwide, and the APA has caught up with the world with a separate chapter on this topic. The guidelines help authors reduce bias around topics, such as gender, age, disability, racial and ethnic identity, and sexual orientation, as well as being sensitive to labels and describing individuals at the appropriate level of specificity. Examples include:
The singular “they” or “their” is endorsed as a gender-neutral pronoun.
A writer’s career depends on how often they are cited.
Instead of using adjectives as nouns to label groups of people, descriptive phrases are preferred.
The poor >> People living in poverty
Instead of broad categories, you should use exact age ranges that are more relevant and specific.
People over 65 years old >> People in the age range of 65 to 75 years old.
There are different paper format guidelines for professional and student papers including:
Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 10, Times New Roman 12, and Georgia 11.
The Running Head
The title page no longer includes the words “Running head:”. It now contains only a page number and the (shortened) paper title.
Running head: THE EFFECT OF GOOGLE ON THE INTERNET
THE EFFECT OF GOOGLE ON THE INTERNET
The running head is omitted in student papers (unless the institution demands otherwise).
Heading levels 3–5 are updated to improve readability:
Level 1: Centred and boldfaced in title case. Text begins as a new paragraph.
Level 2: Left-justified, boldface italic in title case. Text begins as a new paragraph.
Level 3: Left-justified, boldface, title case heading. Text begins as a new paragraph.
Level 4: Indented, bold, title case heading with a period. Begins on the same line as the header and continues as a regular paragraph.
Level 5: Indented, boldface italic, title case with a period. Begins on the same line as the header and continues as a regular paragraph.
Mechanics of Style
In terms of style, there are two notable changes: punctuation and pronouns. Use only one space after a period at the end of a sentence and put double quotation marks instead of italics to refer to linguistic examples.
6th Edition: APA endorses the use of the singular pronoun they.
7th Edition: APA endorses the use of the singular pronoun “they.”
There is a 250-word maximum. Abstracts are optional for student articles, but there are two acceptable forms of abstract:
Standard type: Consists of a single non-indented paragraph (same as 6th Edition).
Structured type 2: Includes Purpose, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.
Keywords are still optional.
New Additions for Student Papers
The title page has always included the page number, article title, student name(s), and affiliation. Now APA also requires the department name, course number and title, professor name, and date of submission. There is no more running head or author note.
What Has Remained Unchanged?
With regards to general formatting, one-inch margins remain on all four sides and double spacing throughout (with a few exceptions). The basic structure of a Research Style Report remains the same: title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references, tables, figures, and appendices. However, footnotes in the 7th Edition include copyright attribution and supplemental materials for papers that have been published in online journals, including audio clips, video clips, and worksheets.
Get Your Own Copy to Learn More
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) 7th edition was released in October 2019, and most academic publications are already using or adopting it. These days, clear and fresh guidelines are needed because online material citation has become more common and complex, the use of inclusive and bias-free language is becoming increasingly important for many groups, and technology used by researchers and students has changed. It is available in online bookstores for around ¥4,000 (paperback), ¥5,800 (hardback), and ¥5,200 (spiral bound) from the American Psychological Association. The ISBN number is 1433832178.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition Introduction. (2020). American Psychological Association. https://tinyurl.com/4y38rfkv
Streefkerk, R. (2021, October 1). APA 7th edition: The most notable changes. Scribbr. https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-seventh-edition-changes/