MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) are two common and best citation and referencing techniques use in PhD thesis and research paper writing.
The prime objective of the research or academic writing such as PhD thesis, dissertation, article, research paper or review article isn’t “what to write”, instead, it is “How to write”.
Researcher or PhD students need to present their research work in the form of a paper, dissertation or thesis, henceforth, “how to write” matters a lot! In fact, if prospective candidate’s style of writing isn’t good, their work can’t be accepted.
PhD’s are given in varied streams as well as subjects, and therefore to avoid non-redundancy in writing, standard formates are designed. APA and MLA are two common writing formats used in literature writing.
Structurally, to publish a work in the form of a thesis or article, two key elements are taken into consideration which in fact are important as well, citation and referencing.
Our team has written two articles on this topic explaining what is a citation and some common differences between citations and references, Notwithstanding, the elaborative explanation is as followed,
When the source of information is indicated in-text or in main body content, is referred to as citation, while the list of sources showing various information enlisted at end of the document is referred to as references.
To know more read this articles:
As we said above, two common styles accepted worldwide are APA and MLA, besides, some journals, universities and publication houses also follow other formates such as Chicago citation, Turabian and IEEE.
Here is the article explains what the APA and MLA styles are and what are major differences between either. In addition, other related information is also described here.
Differences between APA vs MLA format:
Citation style, citation structure, reference styles and structure differ among APA vs MLA formate. Each format has its own importance and significance in writing.
The full form of the APA style is American Psychology Association, formate to cite and reference literature while the full name of MLA style is Modern Language Association, again formate to cite and reference the literature.
Writing author’s name: APA vs MLA format:
The clear aim of either style is to give full credit and credentials for their research, hence indicating the name of authors is so important here.
In the APA style, the format of mentioning author or authors is here:
Chauhan, T., & Patel, R. K.
Three or more authors:
Chauhan, T., Patel, R. K., Suthar, J., Patel, M., Tailor, B & Gandhi, T.
Contrary in the MLA style, the formate of mentioning author or authors is here:
Chauhan, Tushar and Patel, R.K
More than three authors:
Chauhan, Tushar et al.
Let’s start from the in-text citation,
The in-text citation is when we indicate the source used in the main body text, here is the example,
Eunuchs are the people having uncategorized gender (Chauhan et al., 2018).
In the APA format, the second name or surname of the author along with the year of publication and/or page numbers are inserted at the end of a sentence, probably like this,
—(Chauhan, 2018, p.278-284) or (Chauhan, 2018).
Contrary, in the MLA formate only the second name of the researcher is mentioned, just like this,
—(Chauhan) or (Chuhan, p.278-284)
Note that sometimes, page numbers are indicated too.
Interestingly, citation styles for varied sources differ significantly. Here is the list of citation styles for various sources in APA vs MLA format.
|…(Chauhan & Patel, 2018)||Article with two authors||…(Chauhan and Patel)|
|…(Chauhan et al., 2018)||Article with more than two authors||…(Chauhan et al.)|
|…(Chauhan & Patel, 2018)||Book||(Chauhan & Pate)|
|(Chauhan, 2020, p.27)||Book chapter||(Chauhan, p.27)|
As we talked (somewhere), the references are the list of resources, generally enlisted at terminal having information like name or names of scientists, year of publication, the title of the work or paper, name of the journal or publishing house, volume and number and page numbers.
Reference title page:
APA vs MLA formate for references varies greatly too. Let’s start with the title.
Note that, here we ain’t talking of article title, it’s a resources page title.
In APA format, the list of resources at the end is labeled or titled as either references or bibliography. You can use “all references”, “list of references” or like that.
But in the MLA format, it is titled “works cited”; means, mentions those resources, cited in the article.
Note that, the title page must require in APA format but not in MLA. So if you are using APA, to enlisted references, choose a separate page and title it as “references”.
Related article: Writing a Research Paper for a Ph.D. Dissertation.
Now, let’s discuss the structure.
APA: Chauhan, T., & Patel, R. (2010). Genetic status of eunuch -an in-depth review. Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, 2(5), 472-484.
MLA: Chauhan, Tushar and Patel R. Kumar. “Genetic Status of Eunuch -An In-depth Review. “Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, vol. 2, no.1 (2010): 472-484.
At a first glance, you can’t find any subtle variation, but examine closely, the style of indicating each element is different! The catch is here,
In the APA format, the second name or names of all researchers with initial of first name, year of publication in the bracket, the title of the article, name of the journal, volume & number and page number are given.
While in the MLA format, Only the second name or names, the title of the article in common, name of a journal, volume, year of publication and page number are given.
Interestingly, the main article title structure differs too, among either. In the APA format, only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, whilst in the MLA format, all the first letters are capitalized. See this example,
APA-Genetic status of eunuch- an in-depth review
MLA- Genetic Status of Eunuch- An in-depth Review
Here is the list of referencing style of APA vs MLA format for different resources:
|Tailor B. (2010). Investigating antimicrobial activities of different plant species. Journal of biology and biotechnology, 10(12), 76-81.||Article||Tailor B. “Investigating Antimicrobial Activities of Different Plant Species.” Journal of biology and biotechnology, Vol. 10, no 12 (2018); 76-81.|
|Chauhan, T., & Patel, R. (2018). Genetic status of eunuch -an in-depth review. Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, 2(5), 478-484.||Article with two authors||Chauhan, Tushar and Patel R. Kumar. “Genetic Status of Eunuch -An In-depth Review. “Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, vol. 2, no.1 (2018): 472-484.|
|Chauhan, T., Patel, R. K., Suthar, J., Patel, M., Tailor, B., Baidya, D., & Thomas, K. (2018). Genetics of eunuchs- An in-depth review. Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, 2(5), 478-484. (DOI if)||Article with more than two authors||Chauhan, Tushar., et al. “Genetic Status of Eunuch -An in-depth Review. “Clinical Biotechnology and Microbiology, vol. 2, no., 472-484.|
|Chauhan, T. & Patel, R. (2020). Genetic status of eunuch -an in-depth review. In J Suther & Patel M.(Eds.), Eunuch and eunuchism (pp. 472-484). ThePhDhub.||Book chapter||Chauhan, and Pate. Genetic Status of Eunuch -An in-depth review. Eunuch and Eunuchism, ThePhDHub, 2020.|
|Chauhan, T. (2020, Jan 25). What is an in-text citation?. ThePhDHub. http://thephdhub.com/what-is-an-in-text-citation-apa-and-mla-in-text-citation/.||Website||Dr Tushar Chauhan. “Genetics of Eunuchs – A review.” 12 Jan. 2020, https://thephdhub/name of the article/.|
|Patel, R. (2015, July). Social status of Eunuchs in Indian society. GeneticEducation. 10(14), 14.||Other (Magazin article)||Patel, Rakesh. Social Status of Enunchs in Indian Society. GeneticEducation, July. 2015, p.14.|
When to use?
Now coming to the important segment of this article, the importance of each format or when to use which format? The style of presenting citations and references vary which means, applications also differ too.
For example, the APA format is widely accepted and best suited for science, applied science, social science and related subjects or topics.
On the other side, the MLA format is adopted and best suited for subjects like arts, literature, language, history or fine-arts. Although, as we mentioned, both are professional and standardized format of writing.
APA citation style and reference:
- (Author’s Last Name, Year, Page number)
- Name or Name of Authors, Year of publication, title of the article, name of journal, volume & number and page number.
MLA citation style and reference:
- Author’s Last name and Page number.
- Author’s Last name, First name (of single or all authors), title of the article, name of the journal, volume & number, year of publication and page number.
APA format: Title page required as list of references.
MLA format: Title page isn’t required known as works cited.
APA format: Capitalization isn’t required.
MLA format: Capitalization is mandatory.
List of subject for APA format: Social science, science, medicine, medical science, nursing, Psychology etc.
List of subject for MLA format: Humanities, literature, language, speech and arts.
APA: Author’s surname and initial of first letter (Chauhan T).
MLA: Author’s surname and first name (Chauhan, Tushar).
In the MLA style of writing, along with the surname the page number is sometimes allowed as per the revised guidelines.
Read more: How to write a PhD thesis?
When you start writing an article, either style can be used, though it is a little confusing to use, you can use online citation machine, software of citation generator.
As per my opinion, as a researcher or scientist, one has to learn how to cite correctly. In addition, read the official policy of journal before submitting the article.
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Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.