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Difference Between MLA and APA

writerMLA vs. APA

There are distinct styles of writing research papers that are followed across the world. Most of the researchers follow mainly two types of writing format, namely MLA and APA. While research papers in the Humanities and Liberal Arts adhere to the MLA style, the papers in Social Sciences follow the APA style of writing.

What is the difference between these two styles? An APA style research paper includes the following sections: Title page, Abstract, Main Body and References. The Title page contains the paper title, byline and the institute/organization to which the author is affiliated to. The APA guidelines also emphasizes on the use of running head and page numbers on the Title page.

The Abstract begins with a new page. The title ‘Abstract’ should be written in the centre of the page. The Page Header should appear by default on the Abstract page. The content on this page should provide a concise summary of the key topics in the paper with a word count not exceeding 200. It is also a good practice to list the keywords at the end of the Abstract.

While writing the Main Body, the focus should be on the visual appeal of the content. The APA guidelines suggest usage of tables and graphs and other visual aids that are easy to decipher to support the content.
The Reference section should contain an alphabetical listing of all references that the author consulted during the research. The list of references must have a title which should be centered from the top of the page and should be double spaced.
In contrary to the APA style, the MLA style of writing doesn’t encourage the use of a separate Title page. The upper left-hand corner of the first page should contain the names of the author, instructor and the course apart from the date. The MLA guidelines emphasize on the use of double-spaced text in the first page.

The page numbers should appear on the upper right hand corner. The MLA style of writing encourages the use of numbered section headings in the main content. The list of references is provided in the Works Cited page after the content pages. The references are numbered and the author’s last name should be alphabetized. Here again, the use of double-spaced text is encouraged. The reference title should be underlined or enclosed in quotation marks.

Both MLA and APA styles of writing have their own unique features. There are researchers who advocate the MLA style of writing because it helps in easier organization of content and is the most common style used. However, there are also researchers who prefer the APA style because it focuses on presenting important scientific literature in a professional way.

Summary:
1.MLA style is preferred in Humanities and Liberal Arts category whereas APA style is used in Social Sciences.
2.MLA style does not include separate title page while APA style provides a separate title page.
3.References are listed in Work Cited page in MLA style whereas the APA style has a Reference page.
4.APA style focuses on supporting the content with visual aids whereas MLA style does not advocate the use of such aids.


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