MLA and APA Documentation
There are many types of documentation styles; however, the two you will use most consistently in college writing classes are MLA and APA. You might think that it doesn’t matter which one you choose…but it does. A documentation style dictates how the manuscript is formatted, the way you cite outside sources inside the text (signal phrases and parenthetical citations), the way you cite bibliographic information (Works Cited or References), and the style of writing that you use. Though each of these distinctions are important, this section focuses on helping your format your paper (or manuscript) in either MLA or APA by providing you annotated example of each option.
Modern Language Association (MLA)
The Modern Language Association began in 1883 as a “discussion and advocacy group for the study of literature and modern languages” (“Modern Language Association”). The style was created by this group in 1951 in order to provide scholars in this field with a set of shared writing and citation guidelines. MLA is mostly used in the humanities such as English and modern languages. For more help with MLA please visit the OWL of Purdue’s MLA Guide.
You should always use Times New Roman 12-point font (unless otherwise directed by your instructor) and one-inch margins. The entire manuscript should also be double-spaced. Below is an annotated example of other important features you should consider and include in your MLA manuscripts:
American Psychological Association (APA)
The American Psychological Association, established in 1892, is “the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States” with approximately 117,000 members (“American Psychological Association”). The American Psychological Association created their style guide in 1929 and is most often used in the social sciences such as psychology, education, and linguistics. Scholars in English rarely use APA; however, scholars in the field of Composition and Rhetoric do. For more help with APA please visit the OWL of Purdue’s APA Guide.
You should always use Times New Roman, 12 point font, and one-inch margins. The entire manuscript should also be double spaced. Below is an annotated example of other important features you should consider and include in your APA manuscripts: