Things To Know About Research Paper Formats: APA Vs MLA

APA format is applied for research papers in social sciences, whilst MLA style is used in works on humanities and arts.

Common Features

Both format styles require documents to be typed on standard sheets with dimensions 8.5x11 inches. Margins of 1inch should be left on all sides of a page. Both styles recommend the use of Times New Romans font as one of the most readable, the font size 12pt, and double spacing.

Differences in Formatting Papers

The main differences concern: general format, in-text citation, and reference page:

  • Main sections.
  • According to APA style, your work should consist of four main parts – the title page, abstract, main body, and references.

    MLA doesn't require a title page. The work should be divided into sections and there are no strict rules as to formatting the main body. The obligatory part is the works cited page.

  • Formatting of the first page.
  • According to the APA style, this should contain the title of the paper, the name of the author, and the name of the institution where the research was fulfilled. The title is printed in the center of the upper half of the page. The number of the words shouldn't exceed 12. Under the title, put the author's first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Titles and degrees aren't mentioned in both styles. The name of the institution is placed beneath. In MLA format, the first page should contain in a column in the upper-left corner: the author's name, the instructor's name, the course, and the date. After double-spacing, center the title in standard capitalization.

  • Formatting in-text citations.
  • APA style uses the author – date type: the last name of the author followed by the year of the source's publication is inserted into the text in parentheses after quotation. The reference is given in the reference list. While quoting other author's words in AML style, you should apply the author-page method. If the author's name is mentioned in the sentence, only page of the source is given in parentheses after the sentence. If it isn't mentioned in the sentence, it should be put in parentheses and precede the page number.

  • Formatting pages with references.
  • APA style requires the following order of the data in reference list: the last name followed by initials, year of publication, and title.

In MLA style, entries are listed on the works cited page as follows: authors' last names in alphabetical order, middle names and first names that are followed by the title of the source and year of publication.