Before writing the final draft of your research paper, you should know what style or format you are expected to apply. The reader of your research paper will undoubtedly identify the formatting style from the time he or she receives the document. Therefore, it is necessary to learn the best ways of how to accurately format your assignments.
There are various academic disciplines each with their specific formatting and writing styles. Also, different institutions have their unique preferences that they expect the students to use when formatting their papers. It is thus vital to ensure that you have read the instructions and have understood what style your instructor has specified before you embark on the research paper writing process.
Whether you are writing a dissertation, thesis, report, term paper or research paper, you will most likely be required to apply any of the formatting styles below:
Although these styles can be applied to various academic disciplines, APA and MLA styles of writing are the most commonly used formats for high school and college papers. However, you should always remember that the formatting style required is dependent on the assignment requirements.
Features of APA and MLA Research Paper Writing Styles
Despite all the formatting styles being unique, it can at times be a challenge to distinguish from one another, especially if you are not familiar with the required style of writing. To better understand and be able to identify such differences, you should follow the guide provided.
Also, when conducting research, you should provide citations to portray the credibility of your document and allow the reader to trace the source of information. Proper citation will also help you avoid presenting a plagiarized research paper and as a result, avoid being penalized. Below are the distinctive features of both APA and MLA styles of writing.
APA Formatting Style
APA is the official formatting standard of the American Psychological Association (APA) which is usually used for science, education, and psychology related disciplines. By using APA, you are able to clearly communicate the necessary information in a consistent manner. This style gives the writer the means to cite all external sources of information by indicating the author and the year of publication within the body of text. The APA style of writing has four main sections. They include:
- Title page
- Main body
Also, you should use 12points Times New Roman font, double-spaced text and 1-inch margin around the document. The title page should contain a running head, a title, student name, institution, and the course. In addition, the page numbers should be placed on the top right-hand corner of every page starting from the title page.
MLA formatting style
MLA style of writing was developed by the Modern Language Association (MLA). The formatting style is the preferred standard for students pursuing literature and language disciplines when writing assignments in social sciences and humanities.
The main difference between MLA and APA is that MLA does not require the student to create a separate title page, and also instead of a references page it is called works cited. Thus, if your assignment instructions require you to use MLA format for your research paper, this information must appear on the first page of your document (no cover page needed):
- Student name
- Instructor’s name
- Course name
- The name of the institution
- Date of submission of the assignment
- The topic of your paper
- The introduction
Most other features of these writing styles are almost similar but require you to be keen on the little differences that exist between them. However, apart from formatting your assignment, you also need to focus on the quality of your writing. In most cases, formatting your document will be the last step after writing your content and is supposed to take only a few minutes to complete.
In case there are difficulties experienced when writing your paper like failing to differentiate the style that you are required to use, you can always seek professional help. Get advice from your professor or seek assistance from online custom writing services.
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