Formatting and Citation styles are sometimes best friends of academic writers and sometimes a puzzle to be solved. If you are a student who wants to know the difference between the APA and MLA citation styles – here is everything you need to understand to cite your work like a pro!
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I know citation and referencing sound a lot, and just like most other students, you also hated your supervisor/instructor when they made it compulsory.
These referencing styles are relatively easy to learn, and if you do it right, they can also help remove plagiarism from your paper. But first, you need to know what they exactly are:
American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) are some citation styles used in academic writing. Both differ in many ways with one’s set of regulations regarding citation formatting of your document, and you even have to observe some punctuation in your bibliography.
Example Text that is Used in MLA and APA styles example:
Book Title: “The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide”
Author: John Doe
Publisher: ABC Publishing
Year of Publication: 2022
Book Reference Example:
Suppose that you want to quote a book named “The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide” that is written by a writer named John Doe and the book was published by Publisher: ABC Publishing in 2022
Doe, John. The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide. ABC Publishing, 2022.
(author last name comma first name comma book title full stop publisher name comma the year of publication and then a period)
Step-by-Step MLA Formatting Explanation:
Doe, J. (2022). The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide. ABC Publishing.
(author last name comma initial/starting letter of first name period book title colon/period book/journal/research paper title period publisher name)
Note: Remember that the details might vary depending on the type of source (book, article, website, etc.), and specific rules exist for each style. Always consult the official style guides for comprehensive and accurate referencing.
|Humanities, Arts, Literature
|Social Sciences, Sciences, Psychology
|In-Text Citation Format
|(Author Page Number)
|Order of Elements (Book)
|Author. Title of Book. Publisher, Year.
|Author. (Year). Title of Book. Publisher
|Order of Elements (Journal)
|Author. “Title of Article.” Journal, Year, Page Numbers.
|Author. (Year). Title of Article. Title of Journal, Page Numbers
|URLs in Citations
|Optional (unless instructed otherwise)
|Generally included for online sources
|Titles of Books: Italicized
|Titles of Books: Italicized
|Inclusive Page Numbers
|Both inclusive (e.g., 120-125)
|Only the first page (e.g., 120-125)
|Authors in In-Text Citations
|(Author Last Name)
|(Author Last Name)
|Used for additional comments or sources
|Rarely used; typically, in-text citations
APA has a References page, meticulously alphabetized and detailing the sources used in your paper. It’s a structured way to show your citations that are easy to backtrack.
MLA Works Cited:
On the other hand, MLA presents a Works Cited page, organized with a clean layout that complements the straightforward nature of the style.
In this regard, APA uses the format (Author, Year) in parentheses. This approach leads the readers directly to the source, focusing on coherence and precision.
In MLA, you have a more straightforward format, such as (Author page number) inside brackets. It is simple and eliminates all the frills.
Citing Online Sources in APA:
As per online sources, APA must provide the URL address, which is the direct way to the source’s digital location. This is consistent with APA’s philosophy of being meticulous.
Citing Online Sources in MLA:
In MLA, it is more laid back. You may add URLs, but it is only required if your instructor sets such a requirement.
Another unique benefit of APA is that it italicizes book and journal titles, thus adding style to your citations.
In the traditional MLA version, titles are in t
APA is synonymous with precision. It pays great attention to authorship, dates, and precise and structured referencing. The aim is to give a reader a clear path to the source material.
MLA, in contrast, embraces simplicity. It respects the author and the name of the work while emphasizing the concepts of straightforwardness and readability.
Academic writing starts in high school. MLA is the most commonly favored choice among several students. The simplicity of the model and its emphasis on authorship are the main aspects that make it an excellent ground-zero point. Look at it as a beginner’s or training wheels version of a citation style – it is quick to learn and helps you get started on the right track.
Ah, college, where the world of academics widens, and the options of citation materials grow alongside it. APA steps into the spotlight. It is commonly adopted in the social sciences and sciences as it provides a formal referencing method. Prepare for a more detailed reference list, as college is not the place for shortcuts.
APA introduces the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for specific sources, making it easy to track online publications. MLA takes a more relaxed approach; a direct link will suffice if the source lacks a DOI. It’s like choosing your GPS – APA’s precise coordinates, MLA takes you to the general area.
Here’s the truth – neither is better; it’s about fitting the right style to your academic dance. High school? Start with MLA. College science paper? APA’s got your back. The key is understanding each style’s rhythm and letting your content shine without tripping over citation hurdles.
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