What Do You Need To Know About The Research Paper Styles


A formatting style is used to organized different sections and aspects of your paper. It affects the main sections including the title page, citation, reference page, details to be included and how these details are presented. In fact, a paper formatted in MLA and another in APA will be totally different in presentation.

Research paper styles are dictated by the teacher when the assignment is being issued. It must be adhered to since failure to adhere attracts penalties. There are disciplines that prefer one style over the other. The style may also be dictated by the university, department or institution issuing the paper. There are two main points to note about formatting styles.

  • They Are Unique
  • Each formatting style is unique. It presents a different set of rules that must be followed to the letter. For instance, while the date is included during both citations, MLA requires you to include the date outside the parenthesis but under APA format, the date is included but inside parenthesis. It is this uniqueness that makes it easier to identify the style used.

  • They Are Never Mixed
  • You are not allowed to use two formatting styles in one paper. This would lead to confusion. For instance, when making a citation in-text, you are required to include the last name of the author and the page you have extracted this information from in MLA. However, under APA, besides the name of the author, you use the date of publication. If the two formats are mixed up in a paper, you will confuse the reader.

There are more differences between APA and MLA formatting styles that are dictated by research paper subjects. Here are the major differences between APA and MLA that you should take note of.

  • The source page for MLA is referred to as Works Cited while APA uses the word References
  • MLA requires you to capitalize all major words in your title with no need for the use of italics while under APA, only the first word of your title and subtitle are capitalized. Proper nouns must also be capitalized. The title is also written in italics.
  • MLA requires the full name of the author to be included in citation. Under APA, only the first name is include with the initials of the second name being used.

Consult your teacher in case you have doubts about research paper styles to avoid costly errors. Be clear about the style to use and the rules to apply. Visit this site for more tips on formatting your paper.