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Note: Your instructor might have specific requirements that vary from this, so always pay attention to your instructor’s directions.
Great ways to learn to use APA style include:
Bad ways to learn to use APA style (because they are often out of date or have many errors) include:
Depending on the assignment the specific requirements may vary, but at a minimum, in-text citations and references are always needed. In general complete APA style papers have the following components:
Using the singular “they” is now preferred. Always use a person’s self-identified pronoun and if it is unknown, use “they”.
Be specific about age groups when possible, this recognizes that older adults are diverse and not a monolithic group. Use precise language and provide information about age range, mean, and median. “Seniors” and “senior citizens” are not uniformly recognized age groups.
older adults, older people, persons 65 years and older, the older population, older men, women between the ages of 65 and 75, octogenarians, dementia, person with dementia
the elderly, elders, elderly people, the aged, aging dependents, seniors, and senior citizens, old men, senility, senile
Avoid confusing sex and gender. Do not use “man” to refer to all human beings. Use more inclusive terms instead.
people, humanity, human beings, humankind, human species, personnel, workers, human resources
man, mankind, man a project, man-machine interface, manpower, man's search for knowledge
Avoid the use of “homosexual.” Avoid the label “homosexuality,” which has been and continues to be associated with negative stereotypes, pathology, and the reduction of people's identities to their sexual behavior. Use specific descriptors of “gay,” “lesbian,” and so forth only when these are known identifications; sexual orientation may be described by individuals using a multitude of descriptive self-identification labels (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, and many others). Avoid confusing lesbian orientation with specific sexual behaviors.
200 gay male adolescents, participants were married and living together
200 adolescent homosexuals, participants were married and single
Use person-first or identity-first language as is appropriate for the community or person being discussed. Avoid terms that are condescending or patronizing. Avoid language that uses pictorial metaphors, negativistic terms that imply restriction, and slurs that insult or disparage a particular group.
person with a disability, person who has a disability, disabled person, person with a mental illness, Deaf person, hard-of- hearing person, Deaf-Blind person, blind person, visually impaired person, person who is blind, wheelchair user, person in a wheelchair, person with a mental illness
special needs, physically challenged, mentally challenged, mentally retarded, mentally ill, person with deafness, visually challenged person, brain- damaged, cripple, invalid, defective, nuts, alcoholic, meth addict
Capitalize racial and ethnic terms, do not use hyphens, avoid using the word minorities and use “people of color” or “underrepresented groups”
A printable version of this guide, which will help you use affirming and inclusive language, is included for your convenience..