Difference Between APA & MLA Referencing - A Complete Guide

Difference Between APA & MLA Referencing - A Complete Guide

07 Feb 2023 5310 9 minutes

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Assignment writing is no doubt a challenging job as it is completely based on strict rules and regulations, but what makes it tougher, is referencing the sources properly. According to the experts who provide help with assignments Australia, there are three citation styles used in higher education, i.e., APA, MLA, and Chicago. Chicago is used in the subjects of history and economics but, when it comes to using APA & MLA referencing, then students get confused. The reason is, both the styles are somewhat similar that force students to think - Which style is better APA or MLA?

If this is your question too, then you should read this blog to clear all your confusions and master both APA & MLA referencing.

What Is APA Referencing?

APA referencing, also known as the American Psychological Association, is most frequently used within social science, to cite multiple sources. This style is created for journal articles, books, and publications. It was first established in 1929 through which authors structure their work and create a unique style of citation and referencing. The key idea of APA referencing is to provide comprehensive text via headlines and cited list. Students who write scientific papers & lab report use this style. You can also use the APA reference generator tool and save more of your time.

APA Format:

  • Spacing - Double-space in title page & body text
  • Font - Time New Roman
  • Font Size & Margin - 12 Pt. Font, 1” margin
  • Format of Paper - 1” top, bottom, left, and right margins on 8 x 11-inch paper
  • Body of Paper - Running head: first 2-3 words of Title of paper. The title comes on the second page before the introduction. At the last page, there should be a reference list.
  • Reference List Rules - All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called a hanging indentation.
  • First Page - The cover page should include

    • Title of paper
    • Student name
    • School
    • Course/number
    • Date
    • Instructor’s name

What Is MLA Referencing?

MLA style referencing is developed by the Modern Language Association. It consists up of two parts: A brief in-text citation comes in the body part and Works cited comes at the end of the page. This style is mainly used in humanities, literature, theatre, and arts. The key difference between APA & MLA is that it is more detailed when it comes to citation and referencing. APA referencing is mainly focused on the name of the author and treat both old sources and new studies while the MLA is focused more on a year of referenced books or publications and prefer the newest ones.

MLA Format:

  • Spacing - Double-space on header & body text
  • Font - Time New Roman
  • Font Size & Margin - 12 Pt. Font, 1” margin
  • Format of Paper - 1” margins all around on 8 x 11.5-inch paper.
  • Body of Paper - There will be no title page. On the last page, there should be a list of your sources known as “Works Cited”
  • Reference List Rules - Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent
  • First Page - No cover page. On the first page indented left of the paper
    • Name
    • Instructor
    • Program/Course
    • Date
    • Title of your paper centered

What Is the Difference Between APA & MLA Referencing?

Both APA & MLA formatting is used in all types of academic work, including reports and papers. MLA is applied in humanities and liberal arts, while APA is used in social science. One of the key aspects in which MLA completely differs from APA, i.e., the format of in-text citations and bibliographic citations.

Here is the table that will help you get a better insight between APA & MLA formatting.


APA American Psychological Association

MLA Modern Language Association

Spacing for Paper

Double spacing is required for both title pages and text of the body.

Double spacing is required for both header and text of the body.

Font & Margin

12 font size in Time New Roman, 1" margins.

12 font size in Time New Roman, 1" margins.

Bibliography Representation

References Crowley, J.E., T.E. Levitan & R.P. Quinn (1978). Seven Deadly Half-Truths About Women, Psychology Today March

Work Cited Crowley, J.E., T.E. Levitan & R.P. Quinn, Seven Deadly Half-Truths About Women, Psychology Today March, 1978. Print

Title Page/ Header of Initial Page

The Requirement of Title Pages Theories of development Sarah S. Smith The University of Virginia

Title centered & first page have a header Sarah S. Smith Professor George Lopez Psychology 101 17 June 2014

Citation Order

Authors mention as per Alphabetical order, whereas works mention as per chronological.

Authors and works will be mentioned as per the alphabetical order.

Citation for Parenthetical

According to Clugston (2014), Literature is a journey

According to Clugston. literature is a journey (184)


On each and every page; title must be on the left and page number on the right side. On Title Page: THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT On Other Pages: THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT 2

On each and every page, the author's name and page number must be on the right side. Smith 1

Heading and Subheading

Both are required

It may or may not be required

Which Citation Style is Better - APA or MLA?

As we have already discussed the difference between APA & MLA referencing, now, the question arises, which format is better?

  • If you are dealing with academic articles (Short publications), then you can use APA format.
  • If you are doing literature work that requires in-text citation (Published in large volume), then you can use MLA format.

Do Subject Matters in APA or MLA Format?

Most of the times, professors specify a particular citation style to choose while writing an assignment. So, you need to check whether your professor has already mentioned it or not. If not, then you can freely choose the style on your own. Now, you will get confused about whether to choose APA or MLA.
Here is the solution...

APA format can be used in Social Science:

  • Sociology
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Criminology
  • Nursing
  • Social Work

MLA format can be used in Humanities:

  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Language
  • Politics
  • Law
  • Religion
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Anthropology
  • History

If you still get confused between the styles and do not know which one to choose, then it’s better to take help with assignments Australia. The experts have years of experience and can help you with this.

Resolve All Your Formatting Issues with Global Assignment Help Australia

Doing APA vs MLA citation is not that difficult but only when you are writing for a particular subject. However, it becomes quite complicated when you need to follow too many details. In that case, you can take our professionals help as they can provide you with the best assignment help Australia. No matter, whatever citation format you are asked to follow, our experts can implement it and transform your paper into a masterpiece. You can also try our free reference generator tool if you want.

If you do not have enough time for that, then you can seek our assignment writing service at affordable prices. We are always there to serve you round-the-clock.

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