A (Very) Brief History of Journal Article Reporting Standards and APA Style
In one form or another, reporting standards have been a part of the APA Publication Manual. Although reporting standards have continued to develop with each edition of the Publication Manual, APA’s contribution to reporting standards were systematized and clarified in the December 2008 American Psychologist article "Reporting Standards for Research in Psychology: Why Do We Need Them? What Might They Be?" that was adapted as an appendix in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual.
Journal Article Reporting Standards Today: APA Style JARS
In January 2018, APA published an update to the reporting standards in two open-access articles in American Psychologist. Collectively referred to as APA Style Journal Article Reporting Standards, or APA Style JARS, the articles provide standards for quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research in psychology.
Whereas APA’s previous reporting standards focused solely on quantitative research, in response to the growth of qualitative research, the January 2018 update introduced standards for reporting qualitative and mixed methods research in psychology.
The update also involved a broad revision of the quantitative standards, which now include standards for clinical trials, replication studies, longitudinal studies, N-of-1 studies, and studies that use Bayesian statistics or structural equation modeling. In addition, the quantitative standards now separate hypotheses, analyses, and conclusions into primary, secondary, and exploratory groups.
APA Style JARS Tools
Last week APA launched a brand-new companion website for APA Style JARS that provides tools for students, authors, reviewers, and editors. Through this site, users can download the two open-access APA Style JARS articles as well as an editorial introducing the updated standards written by Anne E. Kazak, editor-in-chief of American Psychologist. Users can also find an APA Style JARS informational video, information on the history of reporting standards at the APA, frequently asked questions, and user-friendly printable checklists corresponding to each of the 15 APA Style JARS tables, adapted from the American Psychologist articles.
The APA Style JARS articles and companion site serve as tools to help students, researchers, and educators throughout the research process, enabling authors to more thoroughly and accurately communicate their research, and in turn, providing readers with information that is more accessible and easily understood.