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APA Style Resources (7th ed.)

Resources and tutorials on APA Style (7th ed.)

Language & Writing Style


  • Use active voice over passive voice.
  • For more information, see Purdue OWL's guide (link below).


  • Convey your ideas and findings directly, but also incorporate a compelling tone that reflects the your involvement in the topic.
  • Envisioning your audience can help. Who is being written for? What will they find interesting or persuasive?
  • Tone can be personal to the individual author. The more you write, the better you will be able to cultivate your tone, and adjust it for different audiences.


  • Wordiness and complex sentences can confuse readers.
  • Be specific with descriptions and explanations. Choose words with intention.
  • Avoid colloquial expressions and unfamiliar jargon.
  • Active voice will also make sentence structure clear and concise.


  • The primary rule of conciseness to to only say what needs to be said. Condense information when possible.
  • Pare out unnecessary or redundant words (e.g. say "unanimous" instead of "completely unanimous," or "20 participants" instead of "a total of 20 participants."

The Challenge

  • Making information clear and making information concise is a balancing act.
  • Don't sacrifice important information for concise sentence structure.
  • Don't sacrifice conciseness for every piece of information you've gathered.
  • Review published articles and reports to get an idea of how other authors have achieved this balance.

More Information

  • Chapter 4 (pp. 111-127) - Publication Manual of the APA (7th ed.)

Avoiding Bias

What is Bias?

  • Bias is conscious or unconscious prejudice.
  • One can be biased for or against something.
  • Biased language can be used unintentionally.
  • It is necessary to be conscious of language used in regards to different populations of people as an academic writer.


  • Avoid labeling people and use their preferred identifiers when possible.
  • Common language conventions may contain inherent bias (i.e. when a particular group is implied to be the standard or norm).
  • Broadly categorizing groups conveys bias. For example, instead of referring to a group of homosexual men as "gays," use the adjectival form (gay men).
  • Another method is to "put the person first." This is the preferred method for describing people with disabilities. For example, instead of referring to someone as "a schizophrenic" or a "schizophrenic person," refer to them as "a person with schizophrenia."

Descriptors that Reflect Participation

  • To avoid unintentional bias, describe the people in the study in the terms of their participation. "Participant" or "subject" are common terms.

More Information

  • Chapter 5 (pp. 131-149) - Publication Manual of the APA (7th ed.)

Mechanics of Style


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