For example, the term sexual orientation should be used instead of sexual preference because people do not generally experience their orientation as a “preference,” nor is it as easily changeable as this term suggests (APA Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns Joint Task Force on Guidelines for Psychotherapy With Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients, 2000).The general principles for avoiding biased language are fairly simple.It adopts a tone that is appropriate for communicating with professional colleagues—other researchers and practitioners—who share an interest in the topic.
The second theme of high-level APA style is that it is straightforward.
This means that it communicates ideas as simply and clearly as possible, putting the focus on the ideas themselves and not on how they are communicated. Technical terms must be used, but they are used to improve communication, not simply to make the writing sound more “scientific.” For example, if participants immersed their hands in a bucket of ice water, it is better just to write this than to write that they “were subjected to a pain-inducement apparatus.” At the same time, however, there is no better way to communicate that a between-subjects design was used than to use the term “between-subjects design.” .
First, be sensitive to labels by avoiding terms that are offensive or have negative connotations.
This includes terms that identify people with a disorder or other problem they happen to have.
And you would not write a newspaper article, even if it were about a new breakthrough in behavioural neuroscience, in APA style.
You would write it in Associated Press (AP) style instead.At the same time, you would not write an empirical research report in MLA style, in AP style, or in the style of a romance novel, an e-mail to a friend, or a shopping list. Part of being a good writer in general is adopting a style that is appropriate to the writing task at hand, and for writing about psychological research, this is APA style.Because APA style consists of a large number and variety of guidelines—the Publication Manual is nearly 300 pages long—it can be useful to think about it in terms of three basic levels.For example, patients with schizophrenia is better than schizophrenics.Second, use more specific terms rather than more general ones.For example, Chinese Canadians is better than Asian Canadians if everyone in the group is, in fact, Chinese Canadian. Instead, acknowledge their active contribution to the research.For example, “The students completed the questionnaire” is better than “The subjects were administered the questionnaire.” Note that this principle also makes for clearer, more engaging writing.The third level of APA style can be referred to as low-level style (which is covered in Chapter 4 “The Mechanics of Style” through Chapter 7 “Reference Examples” of the Publication Manual.) Low-level style includes all the specific guidelines pertaining to spelling, grammar, references and reference citations, numbers and statistics, figures and tables, and so on. Only the first word of a book title is capitalized (with the exceptions noted for article titles), and the entire title is italicized.There are so many low-level guidelines that even experienced professionals need to consult the Publication Manual from time to time. For a chapter in an edited book, the page numbers of the chapter appear in parentheses after the book title with the abbreviation “pp.” Finally, both formats end with the location of publication and the publisher, separated by a colon.You would not write a literary analysis for an English class, even if it were based on psychoanalytic concepts, in APA style.You would write it in Modern Language Association (MLA) style instead.