Differences Between MLA And APA Research Papers

As a researcher, one is bound to come across situations that need him to make a decision whether to write MLA or APA research papers. APA stands for American Psychology Association and is often the required referencing style for academic research. It is therefore advisable to orient oneself with the basic features of the two styles. This information is useful to help one identify the differences between the two and also identify circumstances in which they are suitable. Without these guidelines, it is important to identify some factors that can help one to know the most suitable referencing style in given circumstances.

Academic disciplines

Students of sociology, social work, community development and other social sciences are more likely to write APA research papers. In such disciplines, citations are most important because some authors have written several articles on the subject and to correctly identify the publication, use the date. Consult your projects office in order to know which style is acceptable for your research project. There are other disciplines which have no specific writing or reference style and the writer can choose on that is easier for him.

Writing Experience

When doing research, it is critical to note that APA research papers need the writer to have specific experience and understanding of the style so as to avoid making mistakes. For an aspiring professional, you need to gain relevant writing experience by participating in projects and also consulting writing guidelines. On the other hand, MLA format is easy to understand and does not require much practice to confidently undertake writing in this format.


By assessing APA research papers in comparison to other forms of research writing, you realize that APA is a more complex method to use both in citation and referencing. It is a style that seems to favor professional writers over amateur writers. It is therefore advisable to ask your supervisor if it’s absolutely necessary to use that writing style before making a decision. If it is not an academic requirement, then you can use the simpler, but equally professional, MLA writing style.


One important distinguishing feature of APA research papers is the referencing and citation. The sources of research information have to be indicated immediately before or after the referenced text whether it is transcribed or quoted. Proper citation is important as it will help the writer to avoid plagiarism. Without proper knowledge, one may end up compromising the final research report. Another thing to note is that one can identify up to six authors of a text in the bibliography and only for more than six is one allowed the use of et al. In MLA research papers, one can only identify up to three authors and use of et al is require after that. To avoid the pitfalls that could come with improper referencing and citation, one may need to employ the services of a professional who has experience dealing with APA research papers regularly as they can produce quality work within a short time.



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