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Your Guide to
Formatting Papers and
Documents: MLA, APA,
and Citations
2 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
Navigating the professional world is a series of...
3 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
by the APA (American Psychological
Association) ...
4 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
APA style is generally used for science and soci...
5 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
affiliated. After the title page, a
running head s...
6 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
information for the source, including the author...
7 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
What is MLA?
MLA is a different style of formatt...
8 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
Like APA, MLA asks for double-spaced
content, on...
9 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
Whether you’re using ALA or MLA,
there are some ...
10 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
remove the title page if it has any
identifying...
11 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
click that little button at the top of their wo...
12 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
Take a Class
All images are subject to copyrigh...
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Your Guide to Formatting papers and Documents: MLA, APA, and Citations

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Your Guide to Formatting papers and Documents: MLA, APA, and Citations

  1. 1. Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA, and Citations
  2. 2. 2 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations Navigating the professional world is a series of learning languages. Sometimes it’s figuring out a bit of light HTML in your Wordpress blog; other times it’s getting on a new social platform to boost your personal brand, connecting with friends, and learning how to make the most of it. Other times it’s learning the ins and outs of proofreading and editing so you can learn how to craft a clear, professional document that allows you to be taken seriously. Writing and formatting styles are a language unto themselves. Formatting styles such as those set forth Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations
  3. 3. 3 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations by the APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) are primarily for professional and educational documents (in other words, things that aren’t necessarily native to the web), but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be familiar with them just because you do most of your writing on a blog, website, or social platforms. In fact, knowing these formatting styles can help you present complicated information in clear ways. Here are a few things you should know when formatting papers and documents; from MLA, APA, and beyond. Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations APA MLA Citations Title page Page numbers 12 Point Times New Roman
  4. 4. 4 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations APA style is generally used for science and social science documents. Because it is the preferred style for these topics, many of their guidelines are meant to assist with clarity and “word choice that best reduces bias in language.” This is reflected in many ways, most notably in that it helps reduce bias in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and disability. APA is also concerned with visually laying out information on the page in a way that makes it easy to process. For this reason, APA insists on double-spaced documents and one-inch margins on all sides of the text. In terms of font, APA prefers 12-point Times New Roman. In terms of paper size, standard 8.5” x 11” is required. APA style asks for a title page for all documents. This title page should include the title of the work being presented, the name of the author, and the school or institution with which they are What is APA?
  5. 5. 5 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations affiliated. After the title page, a running head should appear at the top of every page. This is basically a header that reiterates the title of the paper, serving as a reminder to the person reading the document. Citations are very important when using APA styles. If you’re a millennial, or if you just have been hanging out on the internet for too long, you probably have little to no idea what a citation is, or it’s buried so deep in the back of your brain that it’s hard to remember who to even correctly cite something. On the web, we usually cite things by linking to them. Users click a hyperlink and are taken to a page that houses the original information, thereby showing that the idea or fact came from somewhere else before being given its own spin. On paper there are no hyperlinks, which is why citations are so important. APA style asks that you include citations within the text and a full list of references in the back of the document. Including citations within an article usually means including the last name of the author of the reference materials, as well as the year the source material was published. The citation list at the end of the document will include all identifying What is APA?
  6. 6. 6 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations information for the source, including the author or authors’ name(s), the year of publication, the title of the article of text being cited, and the publisher. Citation is especially important because it helps ward off claims of plagiarism. To be clear, plagiarism is when a writer passes off another writer’s ideas or work as his or her own. Sometimes it can be tricky knowing what you need to cite in a paper. While some facts are common knowledge and are taken by most people at face value, other ideas or concepts are introduced by certain writers or thinkers. It’s this latter case in which you need to identify the source. And keep in mind that identifying and citing sources doesn’t make you a bad writer or an unoriginal thinker. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It shows that you can collect information from a variety of sources and use it to support an original argument or thought. In the world of academia, very few people are working in a vacuum or coming up with ideas or concepts that have never been broached before. Use these earlier sources and arguments to support your writing, but be sure to cite them appropriately. What is APA?
  7. 7. 7 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations What is MLA? MLA is a different style of formatting that is generally used in papers and articles in the field of literature and the humanities. MLA style is more popular in the United States than APA. It’s also quote popular abroad in countries such as China, Brazil, and Japan. When citing a source in a document using MLA style, you’ll put the author’s last name and the pages from their text that contain this information in parenthesis. This parenthetical citation should appear directly after the information being used. The paper will end with a section featuring all works cited. These should appear in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If for some reason the author’s name is not available, go by the title.
  8. 8. 8 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations Like APA, MLA asks for double-spaced content, one-inch margins, and 12-point copy, preferably Times New Roman. However, unlike APA, they don’t ask for a title page. The two major components of an MLA paper are the article itself and the page that cites the works referenced within the text. Within the paper, you should use a header on the left side of the page that includes the name of the author of the paper. If the paper is being written for a class, include the class name, the instructors’ name, and the date on the first page. All other pages should bear the author of the paper’s name and page numbers. What is MLA?
  9. 9. 9 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations Whether you’re using ALA or MLA, there are some basic formatting rules you should follow when writing a professional paper. These will help you present information in a clear, concise way, and also help position you as a professional who knows what he or she is talking about. As you know, presentation is crucial in terms of making connections and being taken seriously, and nowhere is that more important than when you are forming your ideas and presenting a paper that reflects them. First off, always be sure to use page numbers. This is a relatively simply thing to include, but it’s also a relatively simple thing to forget. Page numbers are one of those things you don’t realize you need until you’re reading a document without any and realize you need a page number to reference something you’ve found. In general, page numbers should appear in the bottom right side of the document on all pages except for the first one. Another thing that should be on every page: your name and maybe even your contact info. For instance, let’s say you’re a fiction writer who is submitting a story to a contest. Sometimes, contest organizers will What Else Do I Need to Know?
  10. 10. 10 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations remove the title page if it has any identifying information on it that could sway the judges. If your name and contact info are only on that first page, there might be no other way to get a hold of you. Checking your spelling and grammar is another important part of creating a paper. Whenever you write a paper, give it a good read to make sure it reads well and is free of any errors. Even if you’ve read it a few times, ask a friend, professor, or colleague to give it another read in case there’s anything you’ve missed. Also, it may sound obvious, but use spellcheck! It’s surprising how many people neglect to What Else Do I Need to Know?
  11. 11. 11 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations click that little button at the top of their word processing program when they are finished with a document. Doing it can save you a lot of embarrassment (and typos!). Speaking of, be sure you have a good grasp on grammar. Do you know the difference between you’re and your? It’s and its? Their, there, and they’re? Who’s and whose? If any of these have you scratching your head, it’s time to take some grammar lessons. Also, on a more intricate level, watch your sentence structure and make sure that it’s engaging and appropriate. For instance, avoid using the passive voice. Also, make sure you are using complete sentences, in other words sentences that have both a subject and a verb. While there may be rare cases when incomplete sentences do the job nicely and are technically correct, make sure longer sentences are clear and full. What Else Do I Need to Know?
  12. 12. 12 | Your Guide to Formatting Papers and Documents: MLA, APA and Citations Take a Class All images are subject to copyright. If you have any doubt about your paper writing, formatting, proofreading and editing skills, try taking a class that gives you a refresher and maybe teaches you some new things. Classes are great ways to learn how to become a better writer, and the professor and classmates you meet there can be hugely helpful when it comes to finding readers and mentors in the future.

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