Students are accustomed to writing news and academic research, but no matter the assignment, they seem to hate creating the bibliography page. For many, finding and documenting sources takes more time than it does to write the paper itself. Depending on your discipline and institution, you may be using the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or Associated Press (AP).
The APA style is most commonly used in the social sciences, and determines how you cite sources, format your paper, and organize content. The APA style values organization, making your paper easier for editors and professors to evaluate while simplifying the readerâ€™s experience. Since the APA style is straightforward, it leaves nothing for guesswork. You always know how to format documents, and the official guide provides guidelines for every scenario known. The format is very formal, abides by academic standards, and establishes your reputation and credibility in the social sciences.
The Modern Language Association format is most commonly used in the Arts and Humanities fields, such as English and communications. The MLA style defines how you format your paper, cite sources, and add stylistic elements, such as block quotations. Compared to the other citation styles, MLA is the most universal â€“ used by institutions throughout the world, and is often accepted in other disciplines, such as psychology (where you would normally use APA). It is the universal format taught in schools throughout America and abroad.
The Associated Press style of writing is reserved for communications and journalism programs. It is the industry standard style guide used in newsrooms across the country. AP Style defines how you document sources, format text, and write your paper. Itâ€™s main focus is on the text itself, as it defines how you write the paper or article, such as having universal principles for writing the date, spelling city names, and other textual elements.