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Difference Between MLA and APA

First it is necessary to understand why there are different formatting styles. There are multiple reasons, each of which has proved its value and is widely accepted in various fields. The first reason is historical one.

For example, a newspaper editor likes a particular formatting style of references and requires all the authors to follow those peculiarities. With time such preferences become common in a certain field and are applied as a golden standard. That is when people decided to choose: APA vs MLA.

However, the most common reason lies in the fact that various academic subjects require a different approach to researching information. That is why developing and conducting the work should be done in different ways.

Choosing MLA vs APA format will depend on the questions you need to answer through your research, the way your research paper is completed and all the procedures that are applied to the writing process. It is very important to know whether your work will be on scientific topics or humanities, because they have completely different approaches to the used sources.

Such formats were created for fields with completely different research approaches, so if you are asked to write a work on humanities, you need to choose Modern Language Association (MLA) formatting. If you are writing a psychology work, it is necessary to stick to American Psychological Association (APA) style.

While humanities try to find evidence, which can then be generalized into a whole hypothesis or argument, scientific works aim to find common laws to be applied in multiple situations. Now, when you know the main difference between APA and MLA, it is a right time to get started.

What the main differences of MLA vs APA are?

Both Modern Language Association and American Psychological Association formatting styles are used in all sorts of academic works, including reports and papers. APA is usually used for social sciences, while MLA is applied, when you need to write a paper on humanities or liberal arts. Both guidelines give recommendations on how to format style, content and references. While they are much alike, there are still many differences between MLA and APA, which you need to keep in mind.

Note them down, print out or save on your laptop and always have it in front of you, when there is a need in formatting your academic essay. Below are the main requirements of both styles and what differences they have.

Formatting your paper

Both styles require your paper to be double-spaced, have a 12 pt font and one inch margins from all of the sides. So what to choose: APA or MLA?

A paper, formatted according to APA style, should consist of four sections: title page, an abstract, body paragraphs and list of references. An abstract should be 150-250 words long and contain a summary of the main points of the assignment, i.e. topic of the research, main questions and hypotheses, methodology, analysis and conclusion. An abstract should consist of one double-spaced paragraph.

When it comes to MLA formatting style, you don’t have to create a title page and an abstract, so the work will only consist of two main sections: body paragraphs and the page with cited works.

What is the difference between MLA and APA title page?

Papers, formatted according to APA, need to have page headers, situated atop of every page, title page included. Numbers of pages are situated on the right and paper’s title – on the left. Page title includes the title itself, name of the author and title of an education establishment.

MLA-formatted work contains title on a first page, which is separated from the essay’s title by a double space only. In an MLA formatting style you need to write the header on the left, which consists of the author’s name, instructor’s name, name of the course and the date. Rest of the pages have headers on the right and include author’s last name and number of the page.

APA vs MLA differences: in-text citations

When it comes to in-text citing, APA and MLA use a bit different approaches. While MLA sticks to the author-page format, APA uses an author-date one. Paper, formatted according to APA includes last name of the author and publication year in parenthesis after the text, which you want to cite.

MLA formatted paper consist of last name of the author and page number after the cited text.

APA vs MLA citation of a reference page

Papers, which need to be referenced according to an APA format, should include a separate page, which is called ‘References’ and is situated at the end of the whole work. MLA-formatted assignment contains a similar page, although it is called ‘Works cited’.

Both of them contain a list of used sources in an alphabetized order according to the author’s last name, which should be double-spaced.

If two works of the same author are cited, in an APA format you need to list them in a chronological order, starting with the earliest one. Difference between MLA and APA in this case is obvious: you need to list entries in an alphabetical order according to the title and use three hyphens on the place of author’s name after the first time the author was mentioned.

On the page of cited works you need to indent five spaces starting with the second and the following lines for every source. Every source in an APA format should be indented ½ inch starting with the second line.

As you see, MLA vs APA citation styles are very similar and it is necessary to distinguish one from another, because lack of attention may get you into troubles. In case you don’t want to waste your time and format the page on your own or need some help to get started, you can always contact professional writers and get quality assistance any time of the day.

Remember, formatting makes up an important part of any assignment, so you should never neglect it.

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