Tag Archives: Purdue Global Writing Center Blog

Big Changes to Reference List

If you do not see the podcast player, click here to listen.

APA Style 7th edition introduced some big changes to the references list that you will want to keep straight. Let’s start with the nomenclature. The list of references at the end of an APA formatted paper has long been referred to as the “references page” as a simple Google search will demonstrate, but the omission of this term in the APA manual makes it clear that “reference list” is the preferred term. In addition, APA no longer uses the term reference citations or full citations to refer to the bibliographic information about the sources that appear on the references list. That content is now called reference entries or references or even reference list entries. The term “citations” is now exclusively used to refer only to in-text citations. (For additional information, check out last week’s blogcast titled “New APA Lingo.”)

In terms of the basic formatting on the reference list, the one difference is the word “References” is not only centered at the top of the page, but it is also now bolded. I have to wonder to what extent this change is a result of so many students bolding the word “References” in the 6th edition even though such formatting was not correct until now in the 7th edition.

One welcome change on the reference list is the ability to tame the long and winding URLs via a URL shortener. Yes, gone are the days of unsightly chunks of white space and alphanumeric strings of characters that could take three or more full lines on the page. A URL shortener enables the writer to tame those URLs and present them neatly on the page. 

And for those sources with a long and winding DOI, APA Style 7th edition allows one to shorten the length of those links as well but stipulates that one must use the official ShortDOI service provided by the International DOI Foundation at http://shortdoi.org

In addition, DOIs should now be presented as weblinks and APA encourages writers to standardize the look of DOIs by making sure all begin with “https://doi.org/” followed by the alphanumeric character string. 

Students often ask what color font a hypertext link should be on the reference list and whether or not it should be underlined. Well, APA has an answer. First, the hypertext links should be live and function if the paper will be read online. In terms of the color and underlining of the link, APA says that it’s fine for the link to be the default color for hypertext links of the word processing software being used, which is usually blue, and it’s fine for the hypertext link to be underlined. APA also says that it’s fine to use plain text for the hypertext link and if that’s the case, the link should not be underlined. 

Another notable change to the reference list includes the elimination of the phrasing “Retrieved from” before a URL or DOI. APA points out such phrasing is no longer necessary because it’s understood that a link should take one directly to content for retrieval. 

APA Style has also eliminated the need to include the place of publication for a book that appears on the reference list because such information could easily be procured online. In many ways, what APA Style has tried to do in the seventh edition is simplify and make easier the requirements for documenting sources, which is why such changes as eliminating the place of publication for a book and the ability to use a URL shortener for references is now the standard. 

Having said that I will leave you with a doozy of a change: When listing authors on the list of references, APA Style now allows the inclusion of up to twenty authors. That’s right: If you have a source with twenty listed authors, then you will need to include each in the order in which they are listed in the source. What if there are more than twenty sources? List the first nineteen authors, include ellipsis marks followed by the last listed author.

Until next week–

Kurtis Clements

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

New APA Lingo

If you do not see the podcast player, click here to listen.

Shakespeare, loosely paraphrased, once wrote that a rose by any other name is still a rose, and that idea, by extension, now applies to APA Style as familiar terms now have new names. 

In the past, the term “citation” was used to refer to information about sources within a paper and at the end. To differentiate where the citations appeared in a paper, the terms “in-text citation” and “reference citation” and sometimes “full citation” were used. Now, however, the term “citation” refers only to those citations found within the body of the paper. The terms “reference citation” and “full citation” do not even exist in the 7th edition of APA Style. So if someone says, “Where’s the citation?,” the question can only refer to in-text citations. 

So what is all the bibliographic information that appears on the “references page” called? Well, first, the term “references page” is no longer being used in APA Style. That page is now called “references” or “references list” or even “list of references.” Now this is not to say that the page with the references could not be called “references page” given that it is a separate page with the list of references, but it is to say that APA is no longer using that nomenclature. 

Another language change concerns how to talk about in-text citations. 

In the previous edition of APA, citations within the body of the paper were referred to as “citations” or “in-text citations” and sometimes “parenthetical citations,” but all of the terms meant essentially the same thing–information about a source that followed APA’s author-date citation format within the body of a paper. Those same terms still apply in the 7th edition, but APA has taken steps to be more intentional in terms of the types of citations. 

APA Style 7th edition more clearly establishes two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative. With the author-date citation system, sometimes both the author and date appear in parenthesis separated by a comma–thus, a parenthetical citation–and sometimes only the date appears in parenthesis, and the author’s name is used in the sentence as part of the narrative–hence narrative citation. Narrative citations existed in the previous edition of APA, but that term was not actually put into use. Now APA Style more intentionally uses the term. 

A sentence with a narrative citation, for example, would include some kind of signal phrase, the date of publication in parentheses, and the rest of the sentence like this: Clements (2020) (in parentheses) explained the difference between a parenthetical in-text citation and narrative citation. 

One final  language change concerns APA’s recognition of the singular “they,” which was the focus of an earlier entry (and if you missed that blogcast, you can view and listen to that content here). 

Grammatically speaking, the pronoun “they” has long been a plural pronoun in that “they” refers to more than one person. Grammar requires agreement between a pronoun and the antecedent (what the pronoun refers to), so a sentence like “Each grammar curmudgeon rolled their eyes at the thought of a singular ‘they’” would not be grammatically correct because “their” is plural and refers to “curmudgeon,” which is singular. Well, the singular “they” resolves this agreement issue, and thus “Each grammar curmudgeon rolled their eyes at the thought of a singular ‘they’” is now grammatically correct given “they” exists in both a singular and plural form. 

Singular “they” also resolves the awkward “he or she” and “his or her” constructs because with singular “they” sentences like “Each student realized that he or she should do all he or she could to write well” would not be needed since singular they could be used instead of “he or she.”

The primary impetus, however, for this language change has to do with APA Style’s strong belief in using bias-free language in writing. To this end, the singular “they” is a pronoun of inclusivity in that it is a nonbinary singular pronoun for those individuals who do not identify with either he or she. 

Until next week–

Kurtis Clements

First Impressions

First impressions are, after all, first impressions, so setting up your APA formatted title page and header correctly will provide the kind of first impression you want readers to have of your paper and of you.

And it’s the “and of you” part that’s worth a little discussion. When one writes, the writing to include the “look” of the paper is a reflection of the writer just like in a business context, the writing an employee produces reflects on the business or organization. A sloppy-looking title page sends a message whether the writer likes it or not, and that message does not bode well for credibility, so tuck in your shirt and wash your face if you want a favorable first impression. 

To learn the step-by-step process of setting up the title page and header based on the 7th edition of APA Style, view this six-minute video presented by Learning and Development Specialist, Chrissine Cairns. 

Until next week–

Kurtis Clements

If you do not see the video, click here to view.

New Video Tutorial: APA 7th Demystified!

Bewildered by APA? Head spinning just thinking about the transition to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual? Fear not! The Writing Center at Purdue Global has rolled out its updated video aptly titled “APA Demystified in Five Minutes.”

That’s right–in five minutes! Learn about the basic formatting of the header and title page for a student paper, the proper set-up of in-text citations, the differences between parenthetical and narrative citations, and the layout and purpose of the list of references.

If you need a brief orientation to or a general overview of the 7th edition of APA Style, this video is for you.

Until next week,

Kurtis Clements

If you do not see the video, please click here to view.

Sneak Peek: APA 7th Edition Key Changes

Hands-down the most significant change in the 7th edition of APA is its conscious effort to produce a more student-friendly publication manual. Indeed, APA 7th offers a kinder and gentler student experience, one that expunges a few maddening requirements such as formatting the running head so that it appears one way on the title page and a different way on every other page.

To give you a little taste of what’s to come in the weeks ahead on this blog, we are including a podcast that provides an overview of such key APA changes as student-specific paper formatting requirements, a number of shortcuts to make citation and working with sources easier, and a major and long-anticipated language usage update.


Until next week–

Kurtis Clements

APA 7th Edition Key Changes Podcast Transcript

Meet the New Blog

Get ready! Every Friday the Purdue Global ASC and WC Resource Center and Blog will publish new content for our learning community. 

“Every Friday?” you might be asking. Yes, starting today, each and every Friday a new blog article will be published, so you might want to mark your calendars, tie a piece of string around your finger, or subscribe to our blog to ensure new content finds its way to you. 

And to kick things off, our article next Friday, July 31, will begin a series of posts that discuss the key changes made in the 7th edition of APA as colleges and universities prepare for the transition that for most will take place in January 2021. Next week’s article will not only have written content, but it will also have an accompanying podcast that you will be able to stream or download so that you can listen to the blog in the car, at the gym, on walks–wherever you happen to be and whenever you like. 

If you already have APA 7th edition on your mind, you might like to know that the  Writing Center has already begun to roll out APA 7th edition resources, and if you want to take a look click here.  

We are looking forward to the weeks to come and hope to find you right back here next Friday. Until then–

Kurtis Clements