September is the time of year when many of my subscribers are back in school as either full-time or part-time students.
As we all know, school (at any level) is a place where the ability to write reasonably well is very important if one is to succeed. This probably explains why thousands of visitors to my writing help websites each month are seeking information and templates to help them with their academic writing projects such as term papers and research papers.
Once one reaches the college or university level, it is not good enough to write a paper in any old format that one chooses. At that level, students are almost always required to use certain accepted international standards for formatting and referencing sources in a paper. Even at the high school level, many teachers now require the use of one of the well known writing style standards.
At universities and colleges in most Western countries, one of two major international writing style standards are used as follows:
1. “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association”.
The APA’s Publication Manual covers all aspects of the writing and publishing process including: organizing, writing, formatting, keying, and submitting a manuscript for publication. It provides detailed guidance on editorial style as well as on the appropriate standards for publishing research in accordance with ethical principles of scientific publishing.
2. “MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers”.
The MLA documentation style covers all aspects of scholarly writing, beginning with the mechanics of writing and publishing, through the basics of writing style, to guidelines for the preparation of theses and dissertations. Although the MLA guidelines cover all aspects of writing and publishing a paper, MLA documentation style places special emphasis on the proper citing of sources of information in one’s written work, and how to properly and consistently cite them throughout a paper or manuscript.
Both of these documents are lengthy technical manuals designed to cover every possible situation that one could encounter when writing a paper. To assist those who would rather not wade through hundreds of pages that may not be relevant to them, I have broken down and summarized the APA and MLA Rules for the Preparation of Manuscripts into three distinct sections as follows:
1. Overall Paper Format Rules (APA and MLA)
2. Rules For In-Text Citation of Sources (APA and MLA)
3. Compiling and Formatting the Reference List (APA and MLA)
You can access a summary of the APA Rules at this page:
The MLA Rules are summarized on this page:
Each of the above pages contains links to actual sample pages of the formats being discussed.
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