To Finish Your Dissertation…

"The dissertation is the monument to the moment when the committee gave up" ~ Dr. D. Barry Lumsden

As of this month, January 2020, schools are starting to tell students to follow the 7th edition of the APA manual that was released in October of 2019 with a 2020 copyright (what is up with that?!)

Here are some websites to help you make the transition:

https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/new-edition-here

https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/apa-style-updates/

https://www.mybib.com/blog/apa-style-7th-edition-changes

https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines

A couple of things that are already happening that you want to tell the profs about:

  1. There are no exceptions to the one space after punctuation rule, yaaaas! This means that you only need to use one space after the period that ends the sentence preceding the next sentence. (Chapter 6.1)
  2. There are lots of little technical details changed in the reference listing rules, so don’t let faculty get technical about what is 7th versus 6th with you; everyone is still figuring out you don’t need “retrieved from” to precede “http://” information or that “doi:” doesn’t start the presentation of a digital object identifier anymore because the “http://” part does! Yeah, it’s nutty and confusing right now. (Chapter 10)
  3. The use of “they” when referring to a singular person as a subsequent pronoun is now a-okay because of the gender-fluid world we have come to accept. (Chapter 5.5)
  4. The exceptions for when to use numerals for numbers lower than 10 have been clarified and expanded. For example, we used to use approximately three years, but now we can use approximately 3 years. We used to always spell out third but now we treat “third” as a cardinal number and write 3rd all the time. (Chapter 6.32)
  5. Referring to races and ethnicities: It is always okay to follow the US Census Bureau, but Chapter 5.7 gets really pedantic about the rest of the options! The idea is to follow the preference of the participants, which is something a dissertant can only fix after collecting data, so I encourage dissertants to advocate for following 5.7 AFTER collecting data and using Census Bureau BEFORE collecting data in a proposal. This also means that even though professors cannot handle the inconsistencies, I recommend following the language of each study presented–if Winchester et al. refer to their participants as African American, but Smith & Wesson refer to their participants as Black you go with what the authors did because that is as close to participants as you can get in a literature review for example. Argue for and use the language of the phonemic not the phonetic, always.
  6. Great news! When you have between 3 and 5 authors, you don’t need to list the total set of names ever again, except in the references entry (LOL!); that’s right: Chapter 8.17 (p. 266) says the following: “For a work with three or more authors, include the name of only the first author plus “et al.” in every citations, including the first citation, unless doing so would create ambiguity” which probably occurs when you have more than one citation wit the same first guy and the same year but with different authors included in the mix between the two citations. Thusly, the old first listing of Winchester, Brothers, and Colt (2005) becomes Winchester et al. (2005) all of the time!

There will be much pettifogging in the months to come in 2020 as professors and students and journal editors adjust to all the shifts and fumbles involved in writing according to the American Psychological Association. If you feel like they are playing psychological games with writing, you are not wrong.

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