Updates to APA Citation Style


Cover of Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationThe APA recently released the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The major change made to the APA citation style is that the instructions for creating reference list entries have been restructured around a framework of four elements: author, date, title, and source. Many rules have been simplified or made more consistent. In cases where there’s ambiguity about which category a particular resource fits, you’ll often get the same result regardless of which one you choose.

We’ve updated our Citating Sources Guide and our APA Reference List handout with the changes.

Changes in practice in the 7th edition include:

  • Up to 20 authors are now included in the reference list entry. In the 6th edition, only seven names were given.
  • When the author and the publisher are the same, you omit the publisher to avoid repetition. Previously, you gave “Author” as the publisher.
  • With multi-layered government agencies, you now give the most specific agency as the author, and give the parent agency or agencies in the source element. Previously, you listed them all together as the author.
  • For e-books or audiobooks, the platform or format is no longer given in most cases. You do now give the publisher.
  • For journal articles, you now always give the issue number. Previously, you omitted the issue number for journals with continuous page numbering between issues in a volume.
  • You no longer label page numbers for newspaper articles with “p.” or “pp.” Format it as you would for any other periodical article.
  • The publisher’s location is no longer given in the reference.
  • While the 6th ed. encouraged abbreviation of the publisher’s name, the 7th ed. instructs that you don’t. Do omit terms indicating business structure, like Ltd , LLC or Inc.
  • New instructions are given for including the names of databases or repositories that provide certain types of works.
  • Digital Object Identifiers are now given in the form of a URL by preceding the DOI with “”.
  • URLs are no longer preceded by “Retrieved from” unless a retrieval date is needed for an online source that may change over time.
  • For websites like Wikipedia, that archive previous versions of web pages that are updated over time, cite the archived version of a page, instead of citing the current page and including a retrieval date.
  • Web pages that don’t fit in another category should be cited as if they were standalone works, with the page title italicized and the website name given in the source element.
  • In-text citations for works with three or more authors are shortened with “et al.” from the first mention. Previously, when citing works with three to five authors, all were identified on first mention.
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