Key Changes in APA 7th Edition from 6th Edition

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) is widely revered by writers, researchers, educators, and scholars as the definitive manual in multiple fields such as behavioural sciences, natural sciences, education, nursing, business, and many others.

As with previous iterations, the 7th and latest edition of the manual also ushers in several updates, additions and extensive guidelines which aim to make the APA style more useful and accessible to everyone. Of all the changes from the 6th edition, following is a list of the key ones that are most pertinent to students and teachers. The list has been categorized with reference to the various chapters present in the manual.  


Paper Formatting

The 7th edition of the APA provides updated paper format guidelines for professionals and students:

  • The most notable change is that there is an increased flexibility regarding fonts now. As compared to the 6th edition, which only allowed the Times New Roman font, the new edition allows more options, including popular fonts such as Calibri and Arial.

  • For professional papers, the running head on the title page need not include the words ‘Running Head’ anymore.

  • In case of student papers, the running head can be omitted altogether, unless the instructor mentions otherwise.

  • All section labels for all parts of the paper are now in bold.

Bias-Free Language

The latest edition contains new guidelines for writing about topics such as age, gender, racial identity, and sexual orientation, amongst others:

  • Seeking to be more sensitive, inclusive and bias-free in dealing with these topics, the new guidelines include that the singular ‘they’ or ‘their’ should be used as a gender-neutral pronoun as opposed to ‘he’ or ‘she’.

  • When grouping people by age, it is suggested that an exact age range be used instead of a broad categorization. For instance, ‘People in the range of 55-65 years of age’ should be used instead of ‘People over 55’.

Mechanics of Style

In the new edition, the mechanics of style have also seen some minor tweaks and changes. The most important couple of changes are:

  1. Unless dictated otherwise, only one space is to be used after a period at the end of a sentence.

  2. Instead of highlighting linguistic examples with italics, double quotation marks are to be used.

References and In-Text Citations

As compared to the 6th edition, the 7th edition of the APA outlines a whopping 114 changes when it comes to citations and sources. Some of the key changes are:

  • All citations with three or more authors can now be attributed using only the name of the first author followed by ‘et al’, instead of all their names being required.

  • The publisher location is no longer required in any reference.

  • While the 6th edition required only up to 7 initials and surnames of authors to be provided in the reference entry, the new addition dictates that up to 20 authors for each should be used.

  • URLs are no longer required to be preceded by ‘Retrieved from’ unless a retrieval data needs to be mentioned. Furthermore, DOIs should now be listed as URLs, and the ‘DOI’ label is not necessary anymore.

The Final Word

Ultimately, the 7th edition has been significantly revised and expanded from the 6th one, and it bears mentioning once again that the changes listed here are only some of the major ones that matter the most, especially to students and educators.


Category : APA
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