APA 7th Edition - There's a New Manual in Town
Just when you thought you figured out APA formatting, the American Psychological Association has published a new Manual, the 7th edition. I was able to score an early copy in the Fall of 2019. Since then, I’ve identified a few changes that students and writers need to be aware of.
APA format is extremely popular because of its applicability to multiple writing formats and its uniformity of writing style. The 7th Edition even makes this easier with some improvements and changes that make sense.
Right off, the best change to the Manual is the spiral binding. Previous editions were softcover, which would never stay open on my desk. I use an alligator clip to hold it open! The tabs are super-great, and I just want to hug whomever said, “Let’s add tabs to the 7th Edition.” The tabs are not just on the edge, they are actually card stock dividers for some of the sections. In my 6th Edition, I use tons of sticky notes to mark important and frequently-referred-to sections, such as headings and specific types of citations. I’m sure this 7th Edition will have its share of little stickies, but I’m loving the dividers so far.
There are a couple of changes to APA style to call out here. One of the items that I think is overdue is the recognition that the Manual is used by students, as many Universities require APA formatting including the ones where I teach. This brand-new orange/green/blue 7th edition actually has some recommendations for title pages for student papers. While this may sound like a small thing, students can take comfort in knowing that the required format will not (should not) change from instructor to instructor, school to school.
Headings have long been a source of pain for students. I’ve seen quite some imaginative formatting for headings, from italics to blue font to ALL CAPS. Right inside the cover is a handy guide for heading levels. Wow! Now, all headings are to be written in title case, versus previously Levels 3, 4, and 5 were sentence case. This is the right move, making it a lot easier to remember, i.e, all are title case now.
There is definitely a new Manual in town, and it’s a step in the right direction.