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AN INTRODUCTION TO MLA AND APA DOCUMENTATION Part One: DOCUMENTATION BASICS WHAT IS DOCUMENTATION? When your teacher states that you must use APA or MLA documentation style, he or she is simply directing you to use a system that reveals to your reader what sources and information you have utilized in writing your paper. The documentation style also determines certain formatting practices in your paper. GENERAL PAPER FORMAT RULES Double space entire paper. Use 12 point, Times New Roman font Do not bold titles or the bibliography page heading Set all margins to 1” New paragraphs should be indented ½” from the margin PARTS OF DOCUMENTATION In-text (parenthetical) citation Bibliography (Works Cited Page, References) The in-text citation acts as a key to your bibliography and directs your reader to specific sources. The in-text citation includes the author’s last name (and/or) the title of the work so that you can easily locate the complete source information in the bibliography. IN-TEXT CITATIONS You need to give credit to a source any time you use information from the source in the following ways: Direct Quotation Paraphrase Summary TYPES OF QUOTATIONS Block Quotations – must be longer than three lines, set off from main body of paragraph (like a block) Integrated Quotations – three lines of text or fewer, flows seamlessly in the paragraph BLOCK QUOTATION FORMAT No quotation marks Indented 1” and double spaced Citation Period follows comes at the end of period quote INTEGRATED QUOTE FORMAT Quote Quotation integrated marks into needed paragraph Quotation Period mark follows precedes citation citation FORMATTING A PARAPHRASE OR SUMMARY The suggestion that The paraphrase there is a continuity in the or linguistic abilities of apes and summary is humans has created much in your own words and controversy. Linguist Noam flows Chomsky has strongly smoothly asserted that language is a Period follows with the paragraph. unique human characteristic citation. (Booth, 1990). Part Two: APA VS. MLA An Example of an APA Title Page •The header includes the running head (formatted as the following: Running head: TITLE OF ESSAY) against the left margin and the page number against the right margin. •The title of the essay, your name, and the university name should appear centered, double spaced, and on the top half of the page. •All text should be in 12 pt. Times New Roman font and should not be bolded. •Author’s note (optional) contains contact information and acknowledgements and should be placed at the bottom half of essay. MLA Sample First Page •MLA format does not require a title page. •On the first page, the student includes a heading (name, professor, course number and date). The first page heading begins on the first line of text (not the header) and is double spaced. •The title appears centered in plain text after the first page heading. •The header contains only the student’s last name and page number. APA MLA On each page after the title page, APA requires that the title appear in all caps on the left and the page number appears on the right. MLA format uses the same header (last name followed by page number in the right corner) for ever y page SUBSEQUENT PAGE HEADERS A QUICK EXERCISE Look at the Bibliography of the APA Model Paper and the MLA Model Paper and do the following tasks: List all the similarities do you see. List all the differences you see. SIMILARITIES DIFFERENCES Entries are double-spaced MLA uses the heading “Works The first line of each entry Cited” while APA refers to the begins at the margin. page as “References.” Subsequent lines display a ½” In MLA entries the title follows hanging indent. the author’s name, but in APA, Entries are alphabetized by the the year (in parentheses) first word in each entry (typically the author’s last follows the author’s name. name) Essay titles in MLA are put in The words “References” and quotation marks and all “Works Cited” are both important words are centered, at the top of the capitalized. APA capitalizes page, and in plain text. only the first word of an essay’s The important words in all title and does not put journal titles and book titles are punctuation marks around the capitalized. title. BIBLIOGRAPHY COMPARISON IN-TEXT CITATION DIFFERENCES Look at the in-text citations below and list the similarities and differences: APA Example: MLA Example: Obesity can be a devastating Frances Bents, problem from both an an expert on the relation individual and a societal perspective. between cell phones and Obesity puts children at risk accidents, for a number of medical estimates that between 450 complications, including Type 2 and 1,000 crashes a year diabetes, have some hypertension, sleep apnea, and connection to cell phone use orthopedic problems (Henry J. (Layton C9). Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004, p. 1). SIMILARITIES DIFFERENCES Both reveal the author’s APA lists the year, but MLA name (or the title if the does not source is anonymous) Both reveal the page number where the information can be found if the source has page numbers listed IN-TEXT CITATIONS A HELPFUL WEBSITE The Online Writing Lab at Purdue This website includes accurate guides to both MLA and APA format, annotated sample papers, examples of different types of works cited entries, and detailed information concerning punctuation, grammar, and other writing related topics.
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