A Complete Guide to APA 6th and 7th Edition

How do I reference in APA 7th edition? Learn how to reference using APA 6th and 7th Edition

One of the crucial things that you need to have insights into in the journey to writing academic research papers and essays is the citations style. Throughout your academic as a high school, college, university undergraduate, or post-graduate student, all your academic papers will be required to conform to a specific citation style. Some of the commonly used citation formats include;

  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Harvard Referencing Style
  • Chicago Manual Style (Turabian)
  • Vancouver

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Your professor may specify the citation while sometimes you will be free to select your most preferred referencing style. This article will give your more insights into the APA citations and highlight the differences and similarities between APA 6th and 7th Editions.

The following comparison tables will assist you to understand the differences and similarities between APA 6th and 7th editions.

Differences Between APA 6th and 7th Editions Citation (in-text citation)




In-text citation for sources with three authors or more

List all authors for sources with 3-5 authors for the first time and use et. al. after that. For sources with over five authors, use et. al. No page number included

Use et. al. for all sources with over two authors.

Include the page number

Using direct quotes from audio-visual sources

The manual does not provide a specific format.

Replace the page number time-stamp which marks beginning of the quoted material

Dates on Secondary Sources

The publication dates of the original sources are excluded in the secondary source citation.

Publication dates of the original sources are included in the secondary citation.


Differences Between APA 6th and 7th Editions References




Listing of author names in references

Provide surnames and second name initials for the first seven authors. Use ellipsis if the number of authors exceeds 7

List surnames and initials of 20 authors in the references. If the authors exceed 20, use ellipsis after the 19th author before entering the name of the last author.

Reference format in case author and publisher are the same

Use the word ‘Author’ as publisher.

Omit publisher in the reference list

How to enter Issue numbers for Journal articles

Include journal issue number if the journal is paginated separately.

All periodicals should have issue numbers

Location of Publisher

Enter publisher location details such as street, city, and state before the publisher name.

Publisher location should not be included after the name of the publisher

Referencing online work without DOI:

Provide the journal’s homepage URL.

No URL is needed.

Hyperlinking URL and DOI formatting

You can begin the DOI with https://doi.org/" or just "doi:" 

URL should be in plain text and not active links

Enter both DOI and URLs as active links "http://" or "https://"

Online media website name

List only the URL

Enter the website name in plain text before placing a full stop followed by the URL.


How To Maintain A Non-Bias Tone in APA 6th and 7th Editions




Usage pronoun number

Only mention traditional singular human pronouns “he” and “she”

Use they in a singular case when gender is unknown or irrelevant


Use first-person

You’re free to use any person

Gender-sensitive language

No guidance

Use individual names but maintain confidentiality.

Race and Ethnicity

No guidance.

Avoid Latino


Specific Paper Formatting for 6th and 7th APA Editions

  • Title Length

The APA 6th edition recommends that titles should contain a maximum of 12 words while the 7th edition has no prescribed word limit. However, APA 7recommends titles should be concise as possible. The title for APA 6 should be regular with no bolding while APA 7 requires bolding of titles. Headings 3, 4, and 5 are indented and in sentence case for APA 6 while 3 is flush left while 4 and 5 are indented in APA 7.

Examples of in-text citation and references for APA 6th and 7th editions;

  • APA 6th Edition
Cummings (2018) observes that climate change has become a menace in the 21st century.

The author observes that climate change has become a menace in the 21st century (Cummings, 2018).

Cummings in his 2018 research observed that climate change is becoming a menace in the 21st century.
Cummings, P. (2018). The Impacts of Climate Change. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 

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