Writers, professional researchers and students must all learn how to prepare documents properly, especially if they are going to use work from someone else. Plagiarism is a real problem for many because it is wrong to steal work from others. Plagiarism can include many things, but primarily, it is when you use information or direct quotes in your work without giving credit to the person who wrote it. However, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to give credit to others without using a particular format, such as MLA or APA on the works cited page, which is why they are frequently used in research and student work. Both formats have the primary function of providing a uniform way of creating references and bibliographies, as well as in-text citations.
How to Choose
In most cases, it won’t be up to you, the student, which method to use. The teacher or professor will determine which option will be better, and you’ll have to follow all the guidelines for writing the paper and referencing. Both options can be beneficial, so most people look at the differences when determining which method is best for them or their students.
Significant Differences and Issues
There are four primary differences, which include discipline, personal preferences, program requirements and how easy it is to use. Many times, schools, instructors and departments already have a preferred method in place, and you’re stuck with using that for any work you do. Most people want to find the easiest one to make life easier for them, but there are specific guidelines that must be followed for each, meaning no one method is easier or harder though APA focuses more on the sciences and can appear more technical than other styles.
With APA styles, a title page is necessary and should include a running head. While the MLA format doesn’t require a title page, it does require that your last name and page number be put on the header.
In-text citing is usually necessary for both formats, and will include various ways of doing so. For example, the APA version uses an author-date method for citing sources, while the Modern Language Association version uses author-page number methods. You will need to put that information in parentheses for both options and will need to list the full description on the Works Cited page.
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