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Among some academics influenced by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, there are questions about why the style makers keep changing aspects of the style promulgated in the Manual. The sixth edition (American Psychological Association, 2009)  features many changes from the one issued in 2001 (let alone those issued earlier). Each time that the Manual changes, some of these academics wonder, “Why the heck was that done?”

For example, we learned to use reference notes in the second edition (American Psychological Association, 1974), only to see them dropped in the third edition (American Psychological Association, 1983). Similarly, we switched to indented-paragraph style references in the fourth edition (American Psychological Association, 1994) and switched back to hanging indentation in the fifth edition (American Psychological Association, 2001).

The 2009 edition brings some sensible changes, and some that make folks scratch their aging heads. Principal among the head-scratching items is this one: Why, after requiring those of us who (because we learned to type on typewriters using fixed-width fonts such as courier) mastered hitting the space bar twice at the end of sentences and then learning to drop the extra space after the end-of-sentence punctuation (see American Psychological Association, 1994, 2001), are we now directed to reintroduce the additional space?

Isn’t this a waste of space?

We are not responsible for the mistaken use of “your” in the place of “you’re” in the caption for this video.

References

American Psychological Association. (1974). Publication manual (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (1994). Publication manual (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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