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APA 6 Vs 7 Differences and Similarities

The American Psychological Association (APA) Style is a widely used citation and formatting style in various academic fields, particularly in the social sciences. It provides guidelines for organizing and presenting research papers, essays, and other written works. Over the years, the APA Style has undergone revisions to address evolving standards and incorporate new sources of information.

The 6th edition of the APA Style manual was published in 2009, while the 7th edition is the most recent update, released in 2019. While both editions share many fundamental elements, there are notable differences that college students should be aware of to ensure their academic writing adheres to the latest guidelines.

In this detailed explanation, we will explore the similarities and differences between APA 6th and 7th editions, providing examples where necessary to aid in better understanding.


Overall Structure:

    • Both editions follow a similar overall structure for academic papers, including a title page, abstract, main body (introduction, method, results, discussion), and references.
    • The general formatting guidelines, such as font (Times New Roman, 12 pt), margins (1 inch on all sides), and line spacing (double-spaced), remain largely the same.

    In-Text Citations:

      • The author-date citation system is used in both editions, where the author’s last name and publication year are included in parentheses within the text.
        • Example: (Smith, 2020)
      • The rules for citing sources with multiple authors (e.g., using “et al.” after the first author’s name for sources with three or more authors) are consistent across editions.
        • Example: (Smith et al., 2020)

      Reference List:

        • The reference list is alphabetized by the authors’ last names in both editions.
        • The basic structure of reference entries includes the author(s), publication date, title, and source information.
          • Example: Smith, J. D. (2020). Title of the book. Publisher.


        Student Papers:

          • APA 7th edition introduces a separate “Student Paper” section with simplified guidelines for title pages, running heads, and other formatting aspects specific to student assignments.
            • Example: In the 7th edition, student papers no longer require a running head on the title page.

          Bias-Free Language:

            • The 7th edition places a stronger emphasis on using bias-free language, encouraging writers to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or discrimination based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or other personal characteristics.
              • Example: Instead of “mankind,” use “humankind” or “people.”

            In-Text Citations:

              • The 7th edition provides updated guidelines for citing sources with multiple authors, including the use of “and” instead of an ampersand (&) in parenthetical citations.
                • Example: (Smith, Jones, and Lee, 2020)
              • It also clarifies the rules for citing sources without page numbers, such as web pages or e-books, by using alternative location information (e.g., section headings, paragraph numbers).
                • Example: (Smith, 2020, para. 3)

              Reference List:

                • The 7th edition introduces minor changes to the formatting of reference entries, such as:
                  • Including the issue number for journal articles, even when the journal is continuously paginated.
                  • Example: Smith, J. D. (2020). Article title. Journal Name, 25(3), 1-10.
                  • Providing DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) or URLs for online sources, even when a print source is cited.
                  • Example: Smith, J. D. (2020). Title of the book. Publisher. https://doi.org/10.1234/book
                  • Formatting guidelines for new source types, such as social media posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos.
                  • Example: [Username]. (2020, May 15). Content of the post [Type of post]. Social Media Site Name. https://www.example.com/posts/123


                  • The 7th edition simplifies the heading structure by reducing the number of heading levels from five to four.
                  • The formatting of headings (e.g., bold, italics, indentation) has also been slightly modified.
                    • Example: Level 1 Heading (centered, bold) / Level 2 Heading (flush left, bold) / Level 3 Heading (indented, bold italics) / Level 4 Heading (indented, italics)


                    • The 7th edition emphasizes the importance of creating accessible documents, providing guidelines for ensuring that tables, figures, and other elements are usable by individuals with disabilities.
                      • Example: Include alternative text (alt text) descriptions for images and figures to assist users with visual impairments.

                    Ethical Considerations:

                      • The 7th edition includes new guidance on ethical considerations in research, such as discussing the importance of obtaining informed consent and protecting the rights of research participants.
                        • Example: “All participants provided written informed consent before participating in the study, and their anonymity was ensured throughout the research process.”

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