When I entered my first year of high school I knew very little about the two main ways to format a research paper, the MLA format and the APA format. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association” (Purdue OWL Family of Sites) and APA stands for the “American Psychological Association” (Purdue OWL Family of Sites). In college, the format of an essay, a written response, or a research paper is a huge deal and the way you cite your sources is critical to understand. As a student, citing your sources of information correctly is one of the main responsibilities of writing a paper and you must accomplish this, as failure to do so can lead to reduced points for plagiarism.
According to Kelci Lynn Lucier “plagiarism is using something that isn’t yours-and claiming that it is” (“What is Plagiarism?”) Repercussions for plagiarism are swift and heavy at the university level. To illustrate, plagiarism accusations can lead to “academic probation, failing the assignment, failing the class, or even being kicked out of school” (Lucier, “What is Plagiarism?”). Therefore, if you are entering college without much experience in paper formatting, which will allow you to avoid plagiarizing material, then here is an excellent resource to review before you began writing your assignment.
One of the best resources for understanding the MLA format and the APA style is the Purdue OWL online writing lab website. This website is managed and run by Purdue University. The Purdue OWL goes into great detail of how to style your paper with the correct margins, spacing, relevant headers and text alignment. In addition, the website provides example papers that display how cite sources with multiple authors and how to cite different forms of publications. For example, the MLA section of the website reveals how to cite electronic media, while also showing how to cite books.
The Purdue Owl states on their website “This resource…offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page” (Purdue OWL Family of Sites). Furthermore, the Purdue OWL outlines under the APA section, “This section contains resources on in-text citations and the References page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster” (Purdue OWL Family of Sites).
Checking out this website can save a lot of time, prevent numerous headaches, protect your grades and prevent you from accidentally citing your sources incorrectly. If you are struggling with either MLA or APA, I would highly suggest spending some time on this site.
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. “What Is Plagiarism? Hard to Spell, Important to Know” About.com. Web. 9 June 2013 http://collegelife.about.com/od/academiclife/a/WhatIsPlagiarism.htm
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 2 June 2013. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/>.