Author: Raidell Avello Martínez – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion


The APA style, as described in the Publication Manual (see 7th edition), offers guidelines for writing academic articles. These guidelines include essential writing elements such as punctuation, capitalization, italics, abbreviations, symbols, numbers, lists, as well as elements of mathematics and statistics. These guides are supplemented by examples of good writing practice in general terms.

In particular, in the case of statistical information, the APA style provides the content and form standards agreed by the scientific community in this field (psychology) and the requirements for clear communication. It is valid to clarify that in the manual only the presentation standards are specified, no suggestions are offered for the choice of statistical tests, analysis or interpretation of the data. This section is extensive and is sometimes one of the most complex to apply and follow in scientific writing, especially by novice researchers. For the sake of synthesizing this information, I will comment on the main elements to help your application.

Statistical information can be presented in text, in tables and / or figures, following the recommendations: if three or fewer numbers are presented, a sentence must be used; in case of presenting more than 4 to 20 numbers, try to use a table; and more than 20 numbers it is preferable to use graphics.

Do not add references to commonly used statistics, such as “Cohen’s d”, only provide references when they are unusual statistics, are used in a controversial or unconventional way, or when statistics are the main topic of the article.

Similarly, do not add statistical formulas that are in common use, only provide them when the statistical or mathematical expression is new, rare, or essential to the research presented.

When reporting the results of inferential statistical analysis (eg t and F tests, Chi-square, effect size, and confidence intervals), enough information should be included to understand the analysis carried out, even if the size can be calculated of the effect from the data provided in the article. In case of multilevel data, the statistics for each level must be presented. Here is an example from Comunicar 62:


In addition, the manual specifies that, if descriptive statistics are presented in a table or figure, they should not be repeated in the text, although reference should be made to the table where the statistic is. In some cases it can be emphasized in particular data that can help interpret the results, especially relevant aspects within them.

When reporting confidence intervals, the format: “95% CI [Lower limit, Upper limit]” should be used. Each confidence interval report should state the level of confidence. Although, when these are repeated in the same paragraph and the confidence level does not change and it is clear, do not repeat “95% CI”. For example:

95% CIs [5.62, 8.31], [–2.43, 4.31], and [–4.29, –3.11], respectively

In this section of the manual, section 6.44 dedicated to Statistical Symbols and Abbreviations (Statistical Symbols and Abbreviations) appears, where you can find a fairly exhaustive list of all the abbreviations and symbols most used in the treatment and reporting of statistical data, with a deepening in the most used in research in the area of ​​psychology, but being so extensive it is very difficult not to find the most widely used abbreviations and symbols.

In this way, I have gone through the most important recommendations described in the manual, although I recommend reading and deepening them for greater clarity and precision, since aspects such as spacing, alignment and punctuation are also addressed, which we will cover in a future entry.

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