Dr Abel Scribe PhD

APA Psychology

APA Style is followed by over a thousand research journals in psychology, education, and other fields. The style is documented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.; 2009).

The APA Publication Manual is focused on just that, preparing papers for publication. If you are writing a college research paper or theses the rules change a bit. The last (5th) edition gave special instructions for these works (see chapter 6), now lost to this new edition. Nonetheless, Doc Scribe has kept this lost knowledge alive while following the latest fashions in APA style.

pointer  Doc's guides follow APA advice for preparing final manuscripts--college and conference papers. These differ slightly from the copy manuscripts described in the APA Publication Manual (see below).

APA Lite for College Papers
APA (Style) Lite for College Papers. The APA Publication Manual (2009) is 272 pages. Is this more than you need to know? It is a great reference, but a mediocre guide. APA Lite is a concise guide to applying the essential features of APA style to college research papers.
APA Lite icon APA Lite (Crib Sheet) is up to date with the latest edition of the APA Publication Manual (2009). It focuses on the main features of the style, leaving the rest to the APA Manual.
Quick Reference APA Lite (PDF).  The PDF version is for those who wish to print the guide. It has the same content as the online version (22 pages). Check back from time to time for the latest version.
APA Precis APA Style Precis (PDF). This explains how APA style is adapted for college and conference papers as presented in APA Lite, useful mostly to those familiar with the style (4 pages).
APA Quick Study APA Quick Study. Where do you start? The latest (2009) APA Publication Manual is about 300 pages. What do you really need to know to craft a paper in this style?

Final Manuscripts
The APA calls papers written for publication copy manuscripts. They are formatted to aid the publication process, not the reader. When not writing for publication "the manuscript must be as readable as possible" (APA, 2001, p. 323). The APA calls these papers final manuscripts. There are minor differences:

  • Organization. "In a manuscript submitted for publication, figures, tables, and footnotes are placed at the end of the manuscript; in theses and dissertations, such material is frequently incorporated at the appropriate point in text as a convenience to readers" (APA, 2001, p. 325).
  • Line spacing. "Double-spacing is required throughout most of the manuscript. When single-spacing would improve readability, however, it is usually encouraged. Single-spacing can be used for table titles and headings, figure captions, references (but double-spacing is required between references), footnotes, and long quotations [this is sometimes referred to as block spacing]" (p. 326).
  • Title page. The title and abstract pages of a copy manuscript are organized for anonymous review and typesetting. Elements that require separate pages are usefully combined on a single page: the title, author, abstract, and author note. The running head becomes the page header, as it does in published articles.
APA Lite is a guide to crafting final manuscripts. It incorporates these recommendations from the 2001 edition of the APA Publication Manual (5th ed.). For the rest, APA Lite follows the current sixth edition (2009). For a more detailed explanation read the APA Lite Instructor's Precis (PDF).

Writer's Guide

The Science of Scientific Writing by George Gopen and Judith Swan. This article was first published in the pages of the American Scientist in 1990. It was originally developed in a faculty writing workshop at the Duke Medical School. It has worn well the test of time. For many years it was embargoed on the American Scientist website. The embargo has lapsed and Doc has made it available in PDF format: The Science of Scientific Writing (90 KB).


APA Manual American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological
Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.  Links to Amazon.com: (Spiral Bound $35)
(Paperback $22).
Doc's Review.

Sixth Edition.   The latest edition of the APA Publication Manual has tightened its focus on writing for publication at the expense of those crafting college or conference papers--gone is the old chapter 6, "Material Other Than Journal Articles." Also gone are 166 pages of text, which is better news for students. The section on avoiding bias is still the best found anywhere. See what's changed at www.apastyle.org. Warning! If you are interested in a used copy at amazon.com be sure it is the 6th edition.

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Official Websites:   AMA Style (Oxford UP)   APA Style Site   Chicago Manual of Style   MLA Handbook