Volume 37, Number 7
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Review: Style Guide of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition

EDITOR'S NOTE: All ICA publications maintain a policy of strict adherence to the Style Manual of the American Psychological Association, the sixth edition of which was published in July. ICA will not require members to upgrade to 6th edition conventions until late 2010; however, member Michel Dupagne has examined the new edition closely and here highlights some of the most important changes in APA style.

Although ICA journal editors may not require authors to use the new sixth edition of the American Psychological Association (APA)'s publication manual before 2010, the transition from the fifth to the latest edition is inevitable for both authors and editors. This July 2009 book release is a major event for the community of scholars as a whole because many journals across disciplines have adopted the APA publication style for manuscript preparation. The availability of electronic sources has surged dramatically since the publication of the previous APA manual 8 years ago. Therefore, a new version with a greater focus on online materials was due. This book review will provide a quick tour of the main novelties in the 2010 APA publication manual.

At the broadest level, what has changed in the new edition? First, with 272 pages, the sixth edition is considerably shorter than the fifth one and approximates the more manageable length of the 1983 third edition (208 pages). The 1994 fourth edition had 368 pages while the fifth totaled 439 pages, including a 27-page index printed in small font size. Even though these page differences can be largely attributed to layout variations, the APA style editorial staff may have realized that the publication manual had become too unwieldy and lost some of its functional effectiveness.

Second, the content of the chapters has been reorganized and sometimes completely rewritten. Among other things, readers will notice that the newest edition begins with an in-depth look at ethical issues in behavioral and social sciences publishing and presents different examples of references, tables, and figures from the earlier edition. The sample papers, a useful summary tool, have been repositioned at the end of the second chapter.

Third, while the new edition reveals no profound changes from a stylistic standpoint, it contains numerous minor modifications. I will identify 10 such changes or innovations below.

  • While the author note was inserted after the references in the fifth edition, it is now displayed on the title page underneath the author affiliation (2.03, pp. 24-25).
  • Instead of using the abbreviated lowercase version, authors will now apply the full running head line (e.g., Running head: EFFECTS OF AGE ON DETECTION OF EMOTION) at the top (header) of all pages of the manuscript (8.03, p. 230).
  • The sixth edition also suggests that authors include a number of keywords below the abstract (2.04, p. 26). The term "Keywords:" is indented and italicized (p. 41).
  • The new publication manual changes the format for the levels of heading (3.03, pp. 62-63). For instance, Level 1 is boldface instead of regular font face; Level 2 is boldface instead of italicized; and Level 3 is also boldface instead of italicized. The other format parameters (e.g., centering, flushing left, indentation) for these three levels remain unaltered from the fifth to the sixth edition.
  • With regard to the presentation of social groups, the sixth edition adds a paragraph recommending that socially dominant groups (e.g., Whites) need not always mentioned first in the text or placed first in a table in relation to other groups (3.11, p. 73).
  • In a surprising departure from the fifth edition, authors will now have to insert two spaces (instead of a single one) after punctuation marks at the end of sentences (4.01, p. 88).
  • In APA style, when authors quote a passage from a source, they must provide an in-text citation with the author (or title if there is no author), year, and page number of that quoted source. In the new edition, the APA offers guidelines to cite paragraph numbers for direct quotations of online sources without page numbers (6.05, pp. 171-172). Unfortunately, these explanations are somewhat confusing and required the assistance of an APA Style Senior Editor for this review. In the common case of a quotation from an online magazine article without visible page numbers, headings, or paragraph numbers, the author is expected to report the number of the paragraph that contains the quotation, preceded by the abbreviation "para." For example, if an author sought to quote a phrase in the fifth paragraph of such an article, then the parenthetical citation would include "para. 5" as a substitute for the unavailable page number (e.g., ("Company Says Cablevision," 2009, para. 5). Other variations exist in Section 6.05.
  • The sixth edition requires authors to add a digital object identifier (DOI) to the reference form of a periodical (7.01, p. 198). If no DOI is assigned and the article was retrieved online, then authors must include the URL of the periodical home page in the reference (e.g., Retrieved from http://www.broadcastingcable.com). Neither a retrieval date nor a period at the end of the URL is needed (pp. 192, 199). As a related point, the sixth edition drops the requirement of reporting the retrieval date and the name of the database for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles obtained from an aggregated database (e.g., EBSCO). Instead, authors now have to simply reference the DOI of the periodical source or the URL of the periodical home page, as stated above (7.01, pp. 198-201). For instance, an author who retrieved a New York Times article from LexisNexis Academic would give the URL of The New York Times website (i.e., Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com, see Example 11, p. 200).
  • Many authors will likely be overjoyed to learn that it is no longer necessary to insert the exact URL of a periodical source in the reference list (7.01, p. 198), unless the article is available in prepublished form or is difficult to locate from a website. The new URL approach also applies to online reports (7.03, p. 205).
  • A final change that deserves mention involves the positioning of figure captions. In the fifth edition, the figure caption was placed on a separate page from the actual figure. In the sixth edition, it is to be located below the figure on the same page (5.23, p. 158), although the sample paper mistakenly placed the figure caption above the figure. This error should be corrected in the next printing of the manual.

Newcomers to APA style may find the myriad of details in the new manual intimidating, but in reality these rules are no more daunting than those in previous editions. Those authors who are well acquainted with the content of the fifth edition will probably experience a limited learning curve when making the required adjustments to the sixth edition. Overall, the latest edition of the APA publication manual has succeeded in adapting its reference system to the current online environment. It is not perfect, but it remains a precise and valuable stylistic guide for communication authors who want to prepare their manuscripts for scholarly conferences and journals.

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Executive Committee
Barbie Zelizer, President, U of Pennsylvania
Francois Cooren, President-Elect, U de Montreal
Patrice Buzzanell, Immediate Past President, Purdue U
Sonia Livingstone, Past President, London School of Economics
Ronald E. Rice, (ex-oficio), Finance Chair, U of California - Santa Barbara
Michael L. Haley (ex-oficio), Executive Director

Aldo Vasquez Rios, U de San Martin Porres, Peru
Eun-Ju Lee, Seoul National U
Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia
Gianpetro Mazzoleni, U of Milan
Juliet Roper, U of Waikato

Student Members
Michele Khoo, Nanyang Technological U
Malte Hinrichsen, U of Amsterdam

Division Chairs & ICA Vice Presidents
S Shyam Sundar, Communication & Technology, Pennsylvania State U
Stephen McDowell, Communication Law & Policy, Florida State U
Myria Georgiou, Ethnicity and Race in Communication, Leeds U
Diana Rios, Feminist Scholarship, U of Connecticut
Robert Huesca, Global Communication and Social Change, Trinity U
Dave Buller, Health Communication, Klein-Buendel
Robert F. Potter, Information Systems, Indiana U
Kristen Harrison, Instructional & Developmental Communication, U of Illinois
Ling Chen, Intercultural Communication, U of Illinois
Walid Afifi, Interpersonal Communication, U of California - Santa Barbara
Maria Elizabeth Grabe, Journalism Studies, Indiana U
Richard Buttny, Language & Social Interaction, Syracuse U
David R. Ewoldsen, Mass Communication, Ohio State U
Dennis Mumby, Organizational Communication, U of North Carolina
Nick Couldry, Philosophy of Communication, Goldsmiths College, London U
Kevin Barnhurst, Political Communication, U of Illinois - Chicago
Cornel Sandvoss, Popular Communication, U of Surrey
Craig Carroll, Public Relations, U of North Carolina
Luc Pauwels, Visual Communication, U of Antwerp

Special Interest Group Chairs
J. Alison Bryant, Children, Adolescents amd the Media, Nickelodeon/MTV
David Park, Communication History, Lake Forest College
John Sherry, Game Studies, Michigan State U
Lynn Comella, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies, U of Nevada - Las Vegas
Vincent Doyle, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies, IE U
Margaret J. Pitt, Intergroup Communication, Old Dominion U

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Michael J. West, ICA, Publications Manager

ICA Newsletter (ISSN0018876X) is published 10 times annually (combining January-February and June-July issues) by the International Communication Association, 1500 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20036 USA; phone: (01) 202-955-1444; fax: (01) 202-955-1448; email: publications@icahdq.org; website: http://www.icahdq.org. ICA dues include $30 for a subscription to the ICA Newsletter for one year. The Newsletter is available to nonmembers for $30 per year. Direct requests for ad rates and other inquiries to Michael J. West, Editor, at the address listed above. News and advertising deadlines are Jan. 15 for the January-February issue; Feb. 15 for March; Mar. 15 for April; Apr. 15 for May; June 15 for June-July; July 15 for August; August 15 for September; September 15 for October; October 15 for November; Nov. 15 for December.

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