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Difference Between APA and MLA


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When conducting research papers, there are two major styles we can choose. The first style is MLA style. MLA style is more commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities category. The second style that we use for research papers is APA style. APA style is commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences category. So far in my writing career I have only experienced writing MLA format. I am excited to conduct my next library research on immigration using the APA style. In this journal entry, I will be exploring some key aspects of using APA style and exploring some major differences between APA and MLA styles.

The general format of the APA format includes: a title page, page numbers and running head, an abstract, headings, visuals, and a list of references. The title page should include a running head for publication purposes, a title, and byline. Going with the title page includes page numbers and a running heading. On the upper right-hand corner of each page, there should include a 1-2 word version of the title. Next follow the title with five spaces and then the page number. The abstract is a 75-100 word overview of the essay and should be on its own separate page after the title page. Visuals such as tables and graphs can be very useful in providing supplements to the research paper. The visual must be as simple as possible clearly labeled. Finally, similar to a works cited page in a MLA style paper, an APA research paper need a list of reference. The list of reference must have a title that is centered from the top of the page and double spaced. The list must be alphabetized by last name of the authors.

MLA papers on the other hand, do not include a separate title page but do contain a works cited page unlike the reference page of APA papers as mentioned. The first page in the upper left-hand corner of an MLA paper should include your name, your instructor's name, the course title, and the date, all double spaced. All pages should be numbered in the upper right-hand corner and the title should be centered. The works cited page should begin on a new page must be numbered and alphabetized by the author's last name first. Sentences made should also be double spaced with indented lines after the first sentence. Titles should be underlined or enclosed in quotation marks.

In writing research papers, there are two very distinctive styles yet important in their own rights in presenting the research conducted. After working with MLA style until now, I feel that the MLA style would be easier to organize because it is the style that I am most common with. However, I feel that the structure of the APA style is more professional wherein it includes the need to analyze important scientific literature. The APA style is also more professional in which it goes in depth and includes an abstract, headings for sub-topics, and visuals.

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