Transition to referencing with APA 7th style (10:30)

Hello and welcome to this short video prepared by the Learning Experience Team. Today, we’re going to look at some of the changes in the new 7th edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual.

In this video, we’ll be looking at a number of basic elements of APA Style. We’ll take a look at the guidelines for formatting student papers, including the new standards for heading styles and tables and figures. We’ll also learn about writing using bias-free, gender-neutral language. Then, we’ll take a look at the guidelines for in-text references and reference lists.

In APA 7th edition, there are some minor changes to the presentation requirements for student papers.

First, unless instructed otherwise by your lecturer, assignments no longer include a running head. This means that for student papers, your title page should only include the page number 1 in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

Also, the title of your assignment should be centred and bold, and placed three to four double-spaced lines down from the top of the page. Notice how the other elements of the title page are centred on the page.

In APA 7th edition, there are more fonts to choose from. The most important thing is that fonts should be easy to read for all users.

Make sure that whatever font you choose, you use that same font throughout your assignment.

Headings are important because they help you logically organise your thoughts and structure your paper. They also help readers find key points and track the development of your arguments” (APA, 2020).

As you can see from this table, all headings are now in bold and title case. Note that for heading levels 1-3, the text begins indented as a new paragraph. For heading levels 4 and 5, the text begins on the same line as the heading.

If you’re writing an essay, do not begin with an “Introduction” heading. Because the first paragraph of your paper is considered introductory, the heading is not needed.

Also, note that all section labels are now in bold, so that means your “Abstract” and “References” headings will now be in BOLD.

In APA 7, tables and figures are now formatted in the same way. Each table and figure should be given a title that is clear and explanatory, and aligned to the left margin (APA, 2020).

1. You will see from this figure that the heading “Figure” and the number “1” are BOLD. This applies to tables too.

2. You can see also that the title is in title case and italics, just like tables.

3. Figures also now have notes (instead of a caption) =- THIS ALSO IS formatted in the same way as Tables.

APA seventh edition has updated their guidelines for writing about all people with inclusivity and respect. Before the seventh edition, people were limited to the use of “she” and “he” when referring to others in academic writing, for example, ‘Each student should complete his or her assignment by the due date’.

However, this sentence makes assumptions about the gender of students which may not necessarily be accurate.

A more inclusive, gender-neutral way of writing about people uses the singular “they”, e.g., ‘Each student should complete their essay by the due date’.

Using the singular “they” was once frowned on in academic writing, but it is now endorsed as part of APA Style because “it is inclusive of all people and helps writers avoid making assumptions about gender” (APA, 2020).

The singular “they” should be used in two main instances:

When referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context; and
When referring to a specific, known person who uses “they” as their pronoun (Lee, 2019).

If you are writing about a specific, known person, always use that person’s pronoun. It might be “he”, “she”, “they” – if you’re unsure, ask them what designation they prefer and use that language (APA, 2020).

If a person uses “she” or “he”, you must use that pronoun. Do not use “they”. Similarly, if a person uses “they”, do not use “he” or “she” (Lee, 2019).

Here are some examples of bias-free language.

When you are writing about people, it is important to talk them with respect. And it's a good idea to use the language that people use to describe themselves. In general, descriptive phrases are preferred over using adjectives as nouns to describe people. When reporting age, precise age ranges are preferred over broad, open-ended definitions (APA, 2020).

The APA’s guidelines for using bias-free language cover a range of individual characteristics, such as age, disability, gender, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Take a look at the online resources listed at the end of this video and do your own research to make sure your academic writing is always clear, precise, and respectful. 

In APA 7th edition, guidelines for in-text citations have been simplified. The in-text citation for a work with three or more authors has now been shortened to include only the first author’s name and “et al.”, even in the first citation.

There are also changes to the number of authors that are included in a reference entry. Previously, you were expected to list up to 7 authors in your reference list.

When using APA 7 style, you must provide all the surnames and initials for up to 20 authors in the reference list.

When there are up to 20 authors, use an ampersand before the last author’s name.

When citing works by 21 or more authors, you must include the first 19 authors, then insert an ellipsis (set of dots) before the last author’s name.

When citing books in your reference list, provide the author, year of publication, title and publisher of the book. Do not include the publisher location.

If the book includes a DOI, include the DOI in the reference after the publisher name.

In cases where the book’s author and publisher are an exact match, the publisher is also omitted.

Most journal articles and books have a DOI. A DOI, or Digital Object Identifier, is a unique link that makes it easier for readers to retrieve online content (APA, 2020).

You should include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, even if you didn’t use the online version.

To format your reference list correctly in APA 7, present DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks.

Also remember that:

Because a hyperlink links readers directly to the article, do not include the words “Retrieved from” before the DOI.

The formatting of DOIs has changed over time. So remember to change all DOIs into the new, preferred format for all reference entries.

Also, do not add line breaks manually, and don’t add a full stop after the DOI because this could interfere with the link’s functionality (APA, 2020).

The link should live be if the work is to be published or read online.

URLs are also no longer preceded by “Retrieved from”. The words “Retrieved from” are only used when a retrieval date is needed (e.g., if you were citing a Census report where content changes frequently over time).

eBooks are now treated the same as print books. If the book includes a DOI, include the DOI in the reference after the publisher name.

If an online work does not have a DOI and is from an academic research database, end the reference after the publisher name. Don’t include the publisher location.

You would only include a URL if the online work doesn’t have a DOI and is not from an academic research database.

Also, when citing ebooks, the format, platform, or device (e.g., Kindle) is no longer included in the reference.

Also, make sure you always use the most specific date possible for webpages.

If a journal uses article numbers, include the word “Article” before the number instead of the page range.

This how-to video has highlighted just some of the important changes that students will need to know when writing in APA 7th style.

There are a lot of other changes too. For more information about APA Style, speak with your SCU librarians – they will be able to help you. There are also great online resources from the APA website (listed here).

We hope you’ve found this video helpful, but if you have more questions, ask your SCU librarian or check out the great online resources in the Student Learning Zone, on the university website.