Citation Help for APA, 7th Edition: Formatting Your Paper

The American Psychological Association (APA) updated its style manual in the fall of 2019. This resource presents a list of important differences between the sixth and seventh editions. It reflects the most recent printing of the manual as of January 2020. If subsequent printings are released to correct errors or misprints (as was the case for the sixth edition), this page will be updated as needed.
The seventh edition of the APA Publication Manual contains a number of updates and additions designed to make the APA style more useful for students, teachers, and other educational stakeholders. While there are too many changes to list here, we’ve chosen to focus on the changes that are most pertinent to students and teachers. 
These include changes to the ways academic papers are formatted, changes tothe ways sources are cited, and more.
The newest edition of the APA manual recommends different title pages for students and professionals. Professional title pages include:
  • the title of the paper,
  • the name of each author of the paper,
  • the affiliation for each author,
  • an author note (if desired),
  • a running head (which also appears on the following pages,
  • a page number (which also appears on the following pages.
Students are directed to follow their instructors’ directions with regard to title page formatting. If no directions are given by essay writer, students may use the APA-specified title page for students, which include:
  • the title of the paper,
  • the name of each author of the paper,
  • the affiliation for each author (typically the school being attended),
  • the course number and name for which the paper is being written (use the format used by the school or institution (e.g., ENGL 106),
  • the course instructor’s name and title (ask for the instructor’s preferred form if possible; e.g., some instructors may prefer “Dr.,” “Ms.,” “Mrs.,” “Mr.,” or a different title),
  • the assignment’s due date written in the format most common in your country (e.g., either January 3, 2020, or 3 January 2020 may be appropriate),
  • a page number (which also appears on the following pages.
Note also that student papers now lack a running head.
Headings are used to helping guide the reader through a document. The levels are organized by levels of subordination. In general, each distinct section of an academic paper should start with a level one heading.
The seventh edition changes only level three, four, and five headings. All headings are now written in title case (important words capitalized) and boldface. Headings are distinguished only by the use of italics, indentation, and periods.
A handful of additional formatting changes are recommended in the seventh edition. These include the following:
  • Running heads are no longer required for student papers.
  • Professional papers include a running head on every page, including the title page. However, the “Running head:” label used in the sixth edition is no longer used.
    • The running head is written in all capital letters. The running head should either be identical to the paper’s title, or a shortened form of the title that conveys the same idea. However, running heads should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation).
  • The section labels for abstracts and reference lists follow the conventions for level one headings (i.e., in addition to being centered and written in title case, they are also in boldface).
  • Font guidelines are now somewhat looser in order to account for differences in computer specifications and users’ accessibility needs. So long as the same font is used throughout the text of the paper, a variety of fonts are acceptable.
Writing Style and Grammar
The most important changes here relate to pronoun usage, though it may bear mentioning that the APA has endorsed the "singular they" on its website for years prior to the release of the new manual:
  • The seventh edition of the APA Manual endorses the use of “they” as a singular pronoun. The manual advises writers to use “they” for a person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant.
    • For instance, rather than writing "I don't know who wrote this note, but he or she has good handwriting," you might write something like "I don't know who wrote this note, but they have good handwriting."
  • Additionally, “they” should be used for a person who uses “they” as their personal pronoun. In both cases, derivatives of “they,” like “them,” “their,” “themselves,” and so on should also be used accordingly. Plural verbs should be used when "they" is referring to a single person or entity (e.g., use "they are a kind friend" rather than "they is a kind friend").
  • The manual also advises against anthropomorphizing language. Thus, non-human relative pronouns like “that,” and “which” are recommended for animals and inanimate objects, rather than “who.”
Bias-Free Language
The seventh edition of the manual updates guidelines for writing about “age, disability, gender, racial and ethnic identity, and sexual orientation” to bring them in line with current best practices. The guidelines are too extensive to reproduce here, but a few of the most important and general instructions are described below.
Similarly, avoid using adjectives as nouns to describe groups of people (e.g., “the poor”). Instead, use these adjectives to describe specific nouns or use descriptive noun phrases (e.g., “people living in poverty”).
  • Use specific labels rather than general ones when possible. For example, “cisgender men” are more specific than “men.” Similarly, “Korean Americans” is more specific than “Asian Americans” or “Asians.”
  • When describing differences between groups of people, focus on the qualities that are relevant to the situation at hand. For example, in a study of sex chromosome-linked illnesses, study participants’ biological sexes are probably relevant, while participants’ sexual orientations are probably not.
  • In general, respect the language that people use to refer to themselves, and understand that the language used to refer to certain groups of people can and does change over time. Recognize also that group members may not always express total agreement about this language.
Mechanics of Style
In terms of mechanics, the seventh edition of the APA Publication Manual contains a variety of minor changes from the sixth edition. Two of the most important are the following:
  • Use one space after a period at the end of a sentence unless an instructor or publisher dictates otherwise.
  • Use quotation marks around linguistic examples rather than highlighting these examples with italics. For example, one might write that a computer user should press the “F” key, rather than press the F key. Similarly, one might write about study participants who have to choose between the choices “agree,” “disagree,” and “other,” rather than the choices agree, disagree, and other.
This chapter also contains expanded guidelines by an writer that clarify a variety of mechanical issues, like whether certain proper nouns should be capitalized. The guidelines are too extensive to reproduce here, so consult chapter 6 for additional information.
Tables and Figures
Though the formatting for tables and figures has not dramatically changed from the sixth edition, a few relevant changes are as follows. Samples can be seen on sites like write my essay to increase your understanding
  • Tables and figures are now formatted in parallel—in other words, they use consistent rules for titles, notes, and numbering.
  • Tables and figures may now be presented either in the text of the document or after the reference list on separate pages.
In-Text Citations
Changes and updates to the in-text citation procedure in the seventh edition include the following: Regardless of the medium of the source, all sources with three authors or more are now attributed using the name of the first author followed by “et al.”
The only exception to this occurs when doing so would create ambiguity (e.g., if two papers have first-listed authors with the same name). In these cases, list as many names as needed to differentiate the papers, followed by “et al”
If the information has been recorded (e.g., as an audio file or an interview transcript), follow the ordinary directions for citing the appropriate form of media. You can also take help from any essay writing service.