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APA vs MLA Academic Writing Styles: How Similar and Different Are They?

Jul 8,22

APA vs MLA Academic Writing Styles

Academic writing styles are important to know when writing papers for school. Whether it is a research paper, essay, or lab report, each type of assignment will likely have a specific style that you will need to follow. The two most common styles are APA and MLA. Although they share some similarities, there are also several key differences that you will need to be aware of.

What is APA?

APA, or the American Psychological Association, style is most commonly used in the social sciences. This includes disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. One of the main features of the APA style is the use of in-text citations. These are brief references to sources that you have used within the body of your paper. Each citation must correspond to a full reference list at the end of your paper.

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What is MLA?

MLA, or the Modern Language Association, style is most commonly used in the humanities. This includes disciplines such as English, history, and philosophy. MLA style also uses in-text citations, but these are typically much shorter than APA citations. Additionally, MLA style does not require a separate reference list at the end of your paper. Instead, all of your sources will be listed on a Works Cited page.

APA vs MLA Formatting Style

Another key difference between APA and MLA styles is how you format your paper. APA papers typically use 1-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman font. MLA papers, on the other hand, usually use 1.5-inch margins and 12-point Times New Roman or another standard font.

APA vs MLA Title Page

When it comes to the title page, an APA paper will include a running head (a short version of the paper’s title), the paper’s title, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation (typically this is the university where the author is enrolled). An MLA title page includes only the paper’s title and the author’s name.

APA vs MLA In-Text Citations

As we mentioned before, both APA and MLA styles use in-text citations. These are brief references to sources that you have used within the body of your paper. Each citation must correspond to a full reference list at the end of your paper.

APA in-text citations include the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated by a comma. For example: (Smith, 2019). If you are quoting directly from a source, you will also need to include the page number, separated by a comma. For example: (Smith, 2019, p. 12).

MLA in-text citations are typically much shorter than APA citations. They simply include the author’s last name and the page number, separated by a comma. For example: (Smith 12). While quoting directly from a source, you will still need to include the page number.

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APA vs MLA Reference List/Works Cited Page

As we mentioned before, the APA style requires a separate reference list at the end of your paper. This should be a complete list of all the sources that you have cited within the body of your paper.

MLA style does not require a separate reference list. Instead, all of your sources will be listed on a Works Cited page. This should be a complete list of all the sources that you have used in your paper, even if you did not cite them directly.

The difference between APA’s Reference List and MLA’s Works Cited page is that APA’s reference list includes publication information for each source (e.g., author, date, title, etc.), while MLA’s works cited page provides only the publication information for sources that were actually cited in the paper.

When to Use APA or MLA Style?

APA style is used for social sciences. Hence, your paper needs to be written in a way that presents an objective point of view.

MLA style is used for humanities papers. In these papers, you are expected to present your own perspective on the topic.

Key Takeaways

There are several key differences between APA and MLA styles, including how they format their papers, the way they cite sources, and the way they structure their reference lists/works cited pages.

When deciding which style to use for your paper, you should always consult your professor or instructor. They will likely have a preference for one style over the other.

If you need help with a specific problem, such as how to mention a book in the APA referencing style or the MLA referencing style, seek help from a GoAssignmentHelp expert.

July 8, 2022

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