New APA Publication Manual

The American Psychological Association has just released the fifth edition of the Publication Manual. A new APA style Web site is available at The Web site has information on ordering the manual, the new version of APA Style Helper software, and various goodies such as the APA Style Tip of the Week.

So what's new? The new manual is BIG! There are 95 different reference types that are described, there is a lot of good information on deciding between text, tables, and figures, submitting an article to a journal, and order of authorship. Attention has also been paid to referencing and even spelling terms from electronic resources. For students, here are some important highlights.

The manual calls for a serif font -- specifically Times Roman or Courier -- for text and tables. A sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica is required for figures. Normal text should be in 12-point font size.

Serif means that there are short lines at the ends of the strokes of letters. Sans serif literally means "without serif" -- the short lines are not there.

Italics and underlining
In the past, italics were indicated by underlining characters. The typesetter would then italicize the underlined characters when preparing the paper for printing. With word processing software, it is easy to specify italics while typing. Therefore, you should now use italics rather than underlining such things as:

The "hanging indent" is back! You should type your references in the paper just as they appear in published articles. The first line of the reference is flush to the left margin and the subsequent lines are indented. Your reference will look like this:

Korchmaros, J. D., & Kenny, D. A. (2001). Emotional closeness as a mediator of the effect of
        genetic relatedness on altruism. Psychological Science, 12, 262-265.

In Microsoft Word, you can insert the hanging indent by typing Ctrl-t (simultaneously pressing the control key and the letter t) at the beginning of the reference paragraph. You do not need to manually insert spaces. With WordPerfect, you can type Ctrl-F7 (press the control and F7 keys) at the beginning of the reference paragraph. With other word processing programs, see the help menu for information on the hanging indent feature.

There is no need to provide references for standard software or programming languages (e.g., Word, Excel, SPSS).

Report exact probabilities when describing the outcome of statistical tests. Thus, you will report p = .004 or p = .675 (a particular journal or your instructor may ask you to round to two decimals instead of three). This of course assumes that you have done your statistical analyses with a computer program that reports exact probabilities. Many programs do not provide probabilities beyond .000; in such cases, I recommend that you report p < .001.

Effect size (strength of relationship) indicators should be reported.

Method Section
Report the race/ethnicity of participants whenever possible.

The abstract should be no more than 150 words. Most word processing programs will check this for you; in Word, simply select (highlight) the abstract text and then click on Tools and Word Count on the menu bar.

Here are some recent additions to our vocabulary with currently accepted spelling and capitalization:

Referring to Yourself
When referring to yourself as the researcher/experimenter, use the personal pronoun "I" rather than referring to a nonspecific "the experimenter..."

Author Note
Include the author name and institutional affiliation in the first paragraph of the Author Note.