One of the most popular guides for academic writing standards across the curriculum is scheduled for some changes. It’s been a decade since The American Psychological Association (APA) last revamped its writing manual, but the organization will be releasing its updated, seventh-edition in October. For many editors, faculty, and students, this means mastering new rules in short order.
And while change can be scary, when it comes to APA, all appearances indicate that the changes will be mostly user-friendly. The group hosts a free online preview of its introduction to the new edition, and the APA’s social media feed has also leaked some helpful details.
Based on that information, these predictions for the changes we’ll see aren’t too bold. Here’s a quick table to help you and your colleagues brace for the changes:
|Old Way (6th Edition)||New Way (7th Edition)|
|The running head for the title page is different than the running head for subsequent pages||The running head rules are “simplified,” and running heads are not required for student papers|
|A pronoun should reflect the same number as the noun it replaces||Use of singular “they” is endorsed|
|Two spaces after a period that ends a sentence is acceptable||Use one space after a period, unless otherwise directed|
|There are unregulated areas in capitalization for some proper nouns, science, and medical terms||There is increased guidance in this area|
|The first in-text citation mentions up to five authors||The first in-text citation of a work by more than two authors may list only the first author, followed by “et al.”|
|The reference section lists seven authors of a single work||The reference section lists up to 20 authors for a single work|
|Book references disclosed publisher location||Book references omit publisher location|
|Font specifications: Times New Roman, 12-point is preferred||More flexible font specifications|
The worst thing about change is often the unknown. This quick glimpse at what the APA has in store offers encouraging news about the road ahead.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Introduction to the 6th ed.). https://apastyle.apa.org/manual/publication-manual-7th-edition-introduction.pdf?_ga=2.53401064.1170238972.1567417070-165644125.1567417070
Bio: Miriam Bowers-Abbott, MA, is an assistant professor and academic department leader at Mount Carmel College of Nursing.