Some Defferences Between MLA and APA Citation...

Some Defferences Between MLA and APA Citation Styes

Students might find the differences between MLA and APA formats confusing, but this article explains a few of the differences.

MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) citation styles are both recognized as ways students and professionals cite sources within their own research. Both are known as good ways to cite and list source material, but they are typically used in different disciplines (for example, MLA is often used in humanities while APA is known for its use in some sciences).

Unfortunately, many students find themselves having to use both styles from one semester to another and from one class to the next, and it can leave them feeling confused and disoriented. Some students have used strictly one format and feel a little intimidated when needing to make the switch. The good news is that they both follow their own systems of logic and are, in fact, similar in many ways. So what are the differences between the two styles? Here are just a few that will help students when trying to differentiate one style from the other. Keep reading, I'm sure I can write my essays online.

The Bibliography Differs Greatly Between MLA and APA Styles

MLA style calls its bibliography a "Works Cited" page (because it's a list of sources - or "works" - cited within the student's paper), whereas APA style simply refers to its bibliography by the title "References." Other notable differences include how APA and MLA styles work with authors.

MLA lists the author's (or authors') full name as found in the work that is cited, whereas APA uses only the author's last name, followed by his initials. For example, MLA style would list the author of Fast Food Nation as Schlosser, Eric, but APA style would list him as Schlosser, E.

In MLA style, the title of the work comes next when listed in the citation, whereas APA lists the year of the work next. MLA style would look like this: Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.

If I write my admission essay it would look like this:

Finally, titles are treated differently between the two styles. MLA uses "title case," meaning that most words are capitalized (except for words inside the title that are conjunctions, articles, and prepositions), but APA only capitalizes the first word of the title and subtitle, as well as proper nouns. For example, Schlosser's book title in the APA list would be listed this way: Fast food nation: The Dark side of the all-American meal.

Some In-Text Citation Differences

No matter what citation format, the in-text citation is meant to give credit to the source as well as lead the reader to the correct work in the bibliography.

It should also tell the reader where in the source she can find the cited material.

So a paper that used Schlosser's book and was written in MLA style would have an in-text citation that looked like this: The early to mid-twentieth century saw a large migration of people to Southern California (Schlosser 15).

The same sentence in APA style would be cited this way:

The early to mid-twentieth century saw a large migration of people to Southern California (Schlosser, 2001, p. 15). While both formats list the author's last name and the page number, APA also lists the date of publication.

Other Style Differences APA and MLA Documentation Styles

Some of the ways in which APA and MLA resemble each other are that both types of academic papers are double-spaced, and bibliographies are arranged alphabetically. But there are many ways in which they differ, and these variations can cause much consternation to confused students. Here are other ways in which the two styles differ:

  • APA style has a title page at the beginning of the essay that lists the student's title and name as well as the course title, instructor's name, and date. MLA instead has all of this information listed on the first page of the essay.
  • APA requires an (instructor optional) abstract at the beginning of the paper which is simply a paragraph that summarizes the information found in the essay.
  • Header information in the two styles are different. Both require page numbers in the upper-right-hand corner, but MLA has the student's last name next to the page number, whereas APA requires a shortened version of the essay title in the header.

Why Bother Following a Particular Documentation Style?

Academic writing means that students are learning to write disciplined, well-researched essays, and those students who do their best to follow the citation format demanded by the instructor will likely earn better grades on their papers. Instructors won't always take those students seriously who don't bother to take the time to properly work with sources.

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