As the subjects researched are varied and even, the methods used to conduct research are different in all subjects, there is a need to write academic papers as per the subject studied. Hence, to ease the work of researchers while they present their papers, use of various formatting and writing styles is used. APA, MLA, AMA, Turabian,etc. are the major styles.
APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) are two types of writing and formatting which are used in academic papers and thesis writing. Even few reports and essay writing is based on these styles of writing.
While writing academic papers you need to follow either of the writing styles in totality, hence you must keep in mind following major points of differences in both styles of writing:
Subjects – APA writing style is mostly used in social sciences, whereas MLA writing style is mostly used in arts and humanities.
Spacing and Indentation – APA involves including 75 to 100 word abstract of the paper and MLA writing style requires indentation of 1 inch between paragraphs.
Tense – Tense of writing followed in APA style of papers is past tense, whereas in MLA style of writing paper is written in present tense.
Bibliography – There are lots of differences in writing a bibliography for both the writing styles. For example, in APA style a bibliography is written in alphabetical order of author’s name starting with last name, first name, followed by an initial alphabet of middle name, and then in sequential order of their works. In this style, articles are not put in quotes, whereas in MLA, sequence followed is same in the bibliography, but articles are put in quotes.
Title Page – APA writing style requires a title page and a page number mentioned on top right hand side corner. Whereas in MLA style, no title page is needed.
Format – In APA style there is no need to indent first paragraph of a particular section. Whereas in MLA style, you need to have indentation in all paragraphs.
Commas – In the APA writing style, there is use of commas to divide the material. But, in the MLA writing style, there is no use of comma needed.
Sources – In the APA writing style to write about sources of work, you mention the name of the section as “References” and in the MLA writing style to write about sources of work, you mention the name of the section as “Works cited”.