Mastering APA/MLA Style: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

Published Date   07th Jul. 2023, 05:16 am Sadi
Mastering APA/MLA Style: A Comprehensive Guide for StudentsSource: Unsplash

As an essay writer, you might have wondered about the importance of those meticulous citation styles you’re required to adhere to in your academic writing. Why does it matter how you cite the sources you’ve used? It’s simple – correct citations not only give credit to the original authors, but they also lend credibility to your work, showcasing the research you’ve done. APA and MLA styles are two of the most commonly used citation formats in academia.

Although you can rely on a book review writing service to write my book report and handle these details, learning these styles yourself will improve your understanding and skill in academic writing.  And, who knows? With a thorough understanding, you might even find these citation styles less daunting.

Understanding APA Style

APA, standing for the American Psychological Association, is a style guide that is predominantly used in the social and behavioral sciences. It is a structured way of formatting papers and citing sources. When adhering to the APA style, there are several formatting rules you must follow. These include a running head, page number, title of the paper, author’s name, and institutional affiliation, all presented in a double-spaced format and typed in a 12-point Times New Roman font.

To break down the process of citing sources in APA style, let’s look at how you would cite different types of sources:

  • For books: Begin with the author’s last name, followed by their first initial(s). Next, put the publication year in parentheses. After the period, write the book’s title in italics. Finally, write the name of the publisher. It should look like this – Author’s Last name, First Initial(s). (Year). Title of the book. Publisher.
  • For journal articles: The order is slightly different here. Start with the author’s last name and first initial(s), followed by the publication year in parentheses. Then, write the article’s title (not in italics), followed by the journal’s title in italics, the volume number, and the page numbers. Here’s the format – Author’s Last name, First Initial(s). (Year). Title of the article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers.
  • For online articles: This format resembles the one for books, starting with the surname of the author and then the initial(s) of their first name(s). After this, put the year of publication in brackets. Then, pen down the article’s title, followed by the name of the website and its corresponding web address. The format goes like this – Author’s Last name, First Initial(s). (Year). Title of the article. Site Name. URL.

Finally, the reference page should appear at the end of your document. Here, list all your sources in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

Understanding MLA Style

On the other hand, MLA style, created by the Modern Language Association, is frequently employed in humanities subjects, including studies in literature, philosophy, and different forms of art. Like APA, MLA also requires papers to be double-spaced and typed in a 12-point Times New Roman font, but it does not require a running head. Any essay writing service writer will know this formatting style by heart. 

Citing sources in MLA style varies slightly from APA:

  • For books: Start off with the last name of the author, then their first name. Proceed to write the book’s title in italics, the publisher’s name, and the year it got published. It should look like this – Last Name, First Name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Year Published.
  • For articles from journals: Similar to APA, start with the author’s surname and first name. After this, write the title of the article inside quotation marks. Then, put the journal’s name in italics, along with the volume and issue numbers, the year of publication, and the page range where the article is found. Here’s the format – Surname, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, Volume number, Issue number, Year, Page numbers.
  • For online pieces: Start with the surname of the author, followed by their first name. Write the title of the article in quotation marks next, then the name of the website in italics, the date it was published, and the web address. The format is as follows – Surname, First name. “Article Title.” Website Name, Date Published, URL.

In MLA, the “Works Cited” page should be the final page of your paper. Organize all your references in alphabetical order by the author’s surname, much like in APA style.

Differences Between APA and MLA Styles

While both styles serve the same purpose, their format varies significantly. The most prominent difference between APA and MLA styles lies in their in-text citations. APA uses the author-date citation system, while MLA uses the author-page number format. The date is essential in APA because it is often used in the social sciences, where the timeliness of the data matters. In contrast, humanities, where MLA is used, focus more on the idea, so the page number is more relevant.

Tips for Mastering APA and MLA Styles

If you are striving to get to grips with these citation styles, here are some strategies:

  • Make use of academic resources: Refer to the official APA and MLA handbooks, or the Purdue OWL website which offers comprehensive guides on these styles.
  • Practice citing: The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Try practicing with different types of sources – books, journal articles, online articles.
  • Use citation generators: There are numerous online tools like Zotero, Endnote, and many others that generate citations in different styles. They can be helpful, especially when you’re learning. However, make sure to double-check the generated citations as they may not be 100% accurate.
  • Attend workshops or webinars: Many institutions and some of the best assignment services offer workshops or webinars on academic writing and citation styles.


Getting to grips with APA and MLA citation styles is a crucial part of academic writing. It might appear difficult at first, but with regular practice and consulting the right resources, it soon becomes a familiar process. Remember, correctly citing your sources is critical for academic integrity. It gives your work credibility, showing the depth of your research and respect for others’ ideas. So, keep practicing – mastering these citation styles is an investment that will pay off throughout your academic journey and beyond.

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