A helpful list of 10 APA7 updates to know

A helpful list of 10 APA7 updates to know

  • Posted by Jessica

The APA released its updated 7th edition manual in 2019, replacing the 6th edition manual that was released in 2009.  Over the last year, schools across the country have gradually transitioned to APA7, which means a lot of folks who started their projects following the 6th edition must now revise in alignment with APA7.

This may sound like a major pain, but it’s *actually* not that bad.  While there are a number of slight changes that have occurred, let’s review the 10 most relevant to dissertations. 

Here they are, in no particular order:

In-text citations for three or more authors are always shortened to the last name of the first author, followed by et al.

For APA 6, up to five authors were listed in the first occurrence of an in-text or parenthetical citation; subsequent occurrences just used the last name of the first author, followed by et al.  Now, however, all citations for sources with three or more authors begin with the last name of the first author followed by et al. Here are the citation differences for the following (APA7 formatted) reference:

Gillespie-Lynch, K., Kapp, S. K., Brooks, P. J., Pickens, J., & Schwartzman, B. (2017). Whose expertise is it? Evidence for autistic adults as critical autism experts. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00438

APA6 (in-text citation): According to Gillespie-Lynch, Kapp, Brooks, Pickens, and Schwartzman (2017), autistic adults are often experts in autism.

APA6 (parenthetical citation): Autistic adults are often experts in autism (Gillespie-Lynch, Kapp, Brooks, Pickens, & Schwartzman, 2017).

APA7 (in-text citation): According to Gillespie-Lynch et al. (2017), autistic adults are often experts in autism.

APA7 (parenthetical citation): Autistic adults are often experts in autism (Gillespie-Lynch et al., 2017).

Number of authors listed in references

For sources with more than seven authors, APA6 required us to list the first six and final listed author.  However, APA7 requires us to list up to 20 authors! For sources with more than 20 authors, list the first 19, followed by an ellipses, and then the last author listed for the source.

Authors in APA6 references

Demertzi, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Dehaene, S., Deco, G., Barttfeld, P., Raimondo, F., … Sitt, J. D. (2019). Human consciousness is supported by dynamic complex patterns of brain signal coordination. Science Advances, 5(2), 7603. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat7603

Authors in APA7 references

Demertzi, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Dehaene, S., Deco, G., Barttfeld, P., Raimondo, F., Martial, C., Fernandez-Espejo, D., Rahout, B., Voss, H. U., Schiff, N. D., Owen, A. M., Laurels, L., Naccache, J. D., & Sitt, J. D. (2019). Human consciousness is supported by dynamic complex patterns of brain signal coordination. Science Advances, 5(2), 7603. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aat7603

The locations of book publishers are no longer listed in references 

APA6 required the city and state to be listed for publishers. For APA7, only the publisher’s name is required.

Publisher in APA6 references

Cieslik, M. (2017). The happiness riddle and the quest for a good life. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Publisher in APA7 references

Cieslik, M. (2017). The happiness riddle and the quest for a good life. Palgrave Macmillan.

Gender neutral language is used in place of gender-specific pronouns

Avoid the use of pronouns that identify gender (such as he, she, him, or her).  Instead, use gender-neutral plural pronouns such as they, them, and their.

APA6: The researcher leveraged her professional network to assist with participant recruitment.

APA7: The researcher leveraged their professional network to assist with participant recruitment.

The DOI is now formatted as a URL

Instead of formatting a DOI with a colon and number, format it as a URL.

DOI in APA6

Houghton, J. D., Neck, C. P., & Krishnakumar, S. (2016). The what, why, and how of spirituality in the workplace revisited: A 14-year update and extension. Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 13(3), 177–205. doi:10.1080/14766086.2016.1185292

DOI in APA7

Houghton, J. D., Neck, C. P., & Krishnakumar, S. (2016). The what, why, and how of spirituality in the workplace revisited: A 14-year update and extension. Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 13(3), 177–205. https://doi.org/10.1080/14766086.2016.1185292

 The words “Retrieved from” no longer precede URLs

Instead of using the words “retrieved from” when listing the URL of a website, simply list the URL.

URL in APA6 references

Carver-Thomas, D., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2019). The trouble with teacher turnover: How teacher attrition affects students and schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 36. Retrieved from https://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/

URL in APA7 references

Carver-Thomas, D., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2019). The trouble with teacher turnover: How teacher attrition affects students and schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 36. https://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/

One space between sentences 

APA6 allowed for 1 or 2 spaces after periods separating sentences, so long as the spacing was consistent.  APA7 only allows for 1 space.  If you’re a habitual 2-spacer like myself, fret not.  You can use Word’s “replace” function to replace occurrences of 2 spaces with 1.

Emphasize words with quotation marks, not italics

In APA6, quotation marks were only used when directly quoting words from a source; words you wanted to emphasize in the text were italicized.  Well, no more! Use quotes in place of italics for words or phrase you want to “stand out.”

Running heads are no longer required for student papers

It seemed that the formatting guidelines of most schools had already dropped the running head – and remember, the formatting guide from your school trumps APA. But, APA7 has now dropped the requirement for a running head. Unless the style guide for your school specifically requires you to include a running head, you don’t need it anymore.

APA level headers have changed as follows

(I discussed this in my earlier post, “10 common APA errors”):

Level 1: Centered, Boldface, Title Case

Level 2: Flushed left, Boldface, Title Case

Level 3: Flushed left, Boldfaced and Italics, Title Case

Level 4: Indented, Boldfaced, Title Case, ending with a period

Level 5: Indented, Boldfaced and Italics, Title Case, ending with a period

Alright, that’s it! Hope this helps – happy writing!

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