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June 29, 2009

APA Style: Who We Are

Mary Lynn SkutleyGary R. VandenBos, PhD

by Mary Lynn Skutley and Gary R. VandenBos, PhD

Hi everyone, and welcome to the APA Style blog! 

We’re unveiling this blog on the same day that the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is being released.   This edition has been three years in the making.  The comments of readers like you had a big impact on the shaping of this edition.  Thanks to each of you who took the time to let us know what was or wasn’t working for you!

Unlike other style guides, the Publication Manual has a dual purpose: to encourage clarity in scholarly writing, and to encourage clarity in the reporting of scientific methodology, particularly emerging practices.  In the sixth edition of the Publication Manual, the first goal is evident in many areas, including new advice for avoiding bias in language and new guidelines for creating tables and figures.

The second goal is evident in expanded descriptions of publication ethics, in new journal article reporting standards (JARS), and in new recommendations for reporting inferential statistics.   

A variety of resources for learning the new rules of APA Style are available at, where you’ll find ample descriptions of the “what” of APA Style.

Up until now, the “who” has been less apparent.  This edition of the manual was developed by a task force of scientists who collaborated with a number of experts in psychology, nursing, business, education, and publishing.  They spent many hours considering the publishing needs of scientists and updating the last edition of this manual to meet those needs.  We hope to hear from some of them in future posts. 

In the meantime, you’ll be hearing from those of us who, like you, work with APA Style every day.  We’ll be talking about what we love—writing and publishing and, occasionally, about what might seem to be odd points of style.  We will feature guest bloggers on various scientific topics from time to time, but our regular bloggers will include staff experts in APA Style.  Come visit!  We look forward to hearing from you. 


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