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WriteCast Episode 71: APA 7 Update and Favorite Changes

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WriteCast Episode 71: APA 7 Update and Favorite Changes

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© Walden University Writing Center 2020


[Introduction music]

CLAIRE: Welcome to Write Cast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers, a monthly podcast by the Walden University Writing Center. I’m Claire Helakoski,


KACY: and I’m Kacy Walz. In this episode, we’ll discuss some of our favorite updates to APA 7!


CLAIRE: Hi, all! Today, Kacy and I will discuss APA 7, what it’s looking like for Walden students, and some of our favorite updated rules in the new manual!  I know it’s been a little while since you’ve heard from us—we didn’t have a January episode this year. That’s because we at the Writing Center have been busy preparing for APA 7! The university will be adopting the new, seventh edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association—or “APA 7” for short.


KACY: The APA 7 manual is available now, but different universities and colleges have different timelines for adopting this new version. For Walden students, the transition for writing assignments will start with this year’s summer terms, which are May 4 for semester-based programs and June 1 for quarter-based programs. And that doesn’t mean you’re expected to just know all the rules right away, of course! We’re here to support you, and the Writing Center, Walden faculty, and students will all be learning APA 7 together.


CLAIRE: Right, we’re all learning together, so don’t panic! While switching to APA 7 might feel a little daunting, we at the Writing Center are really excited about the changes between 6 and 7! So, we thought it’d be fun to preview some of our favorite changes in APA 7 today, and share some resources to support you in the transition.


KACY: I know a lot of students (and faculty and staff as well, I’m sure) are nervous about the transition. But I actually think APA 7 is going to make our lives easier in a lot of ways. Take the use of et al., for example. Et al. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “et alia” which is translated to “and others” in English. For APA 6 we use et al. for in-text citations of sources with more than five authors. We also use it for sources with three-five authors after initially including all of those authors’ names in a citation. APA 7 gets rid of the exception and makes it easy: if a source has more than two authors, just use et al. for each in-text citation. This is especially helpful when you’re writing those longer assignments and any work that undergoes significant revision. You don’t need to worry about using a different format for the first time you cite a source with three or more authors. So even if you’re shift some of your information around, your citations will stay correctly formatted!


CLAIRE: I’m excited for that one, too! No more counting authors—just, if it’s more than two, et al. you go!

I’m also really happy that they’ve adjusted the guideline for using paragraph numbers when page numbers aren’t available.  It used to be that when you wanted to quote from an online source that didn’t have page numbers, you would have to count what paragraph the information appeared in and include that information prefaced by p-a-r-a period. In APA 7, while you can still use a paragraph number, if the source uses headings within it, you can use the heading that appears before the text you’re quoting. Or, you can use both! Whatever will help your reader find the information best.


KACY: I’m sure that one’s going to be a time saver for sure! I mean, there are probably things that are more annoying than when you lose count of paragraphs while scrolling through a long internet-based article…but I can’t think of many.


CLAIRE: I know, that one is also such a relief! If it’s easier to use a subheading, just go ahead and use it.

On those lines, another simplification is that you will italicize the title of a webpage you visit, just like you italicize the title of a journal, film, or book! APA now considers a webpage as a self-contained source, and so you format all these types of reference components the same way—by italicizing them.


KACY: I also really like that APA is doing away with the archaic journal issue rule. You won’t have to worry about whether or not a journal restarts its pagination numbering at one with each new issue: if source information for a journal article includes an issue number, you’ll just include it in your reference list as well.

So, a few of APA 7’s new rules are a little more complex. Weve picked some of our favorites that make things easier, but of course there are going to be some that create a little bit more change. But, these are also really exciting as they indicate some really important progress in scholarly writing. Some examples of this are clarifications in bias, use of the singular “they,” and paraphrasing clarity. We’re not going to get into those today, but look forward to some useful, thoughtful changes that make academic writing easier and more inclusive.


CLAIRE: We’ll be talking more in-depth about some of these rules in future podcast episodes after the transition dates. In the meantime, we encourage you to take a look at the Writing Center’s APA 7 transition webpage, where we’re going to be posting APA transition updates and information. We’ll link to the page in the show notes, but you can also find it by going to the Writing Center website and clicking on the APA tab at the top of the homepage, and then finding the transition page in the left navigation bar.

On that transition page, you’ll also find a link to some APA 6 and 7 comparison tables that highlight some of these and other changes. We’ll link to that in the show notes, as well. And you can check out a lot of this information on the APA 7 website. We’ll also have webinars and resources for APA 7 rolling out in May to help with this transition!


KACY: And, of course, we’re working on some other non-APA-related episodes for this year, but our publishing schedule is going to be a little different. So, if you don’t see a new episode on the first of the month as usual, don’t worry—WriteCast is still here! And we have an archive of more than 60 episodes to check out or re-listen to while you wait for new episodes. We’ll link to that archive in the show notes, but you can also find all past episodes on your favorite podcast player app. 

We hope this episode has helped ease some anxiety you might have had regarding the move to APA 7. Maybe it’s even made you excited about some of the changes? I mean, we Writing Center people can only hope! So, thanks for joining us today, and until next time, keep writing.


CLAIRE: Keep inspiring.




KACY: WriteCast is a monthly podcast produced by the Walden University Writing Center. Visit our online Writing Center at Find more WriteCast episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or your favorite podcast app. We would love to hear from you! Connect with us on our blog and at Thanks for listening!