How to Write an APA and MLA Essay

How to write an APA and MLA Essay is usually a great concern to students who are carrying out a research for the first time. It seems like a hard nut to crack when in actual sense it is not as hard as you might think. Writing an MLA or APA essay in the best way only takes you knowing about the rules and how it can be done. Once you know the right ways it can be done and the rules to follow, you’ll definitely get it right.

However, to understand the whole concept of APA and MLA essays, and how you can get writing them right, you should know all the details about them. You should know what they are, why they are needed and why they are used in the academic sector.

In the first part of this post, we’ll be explaining in detail what they are and why they are used in the academic sector.

What is MLA essay or MLA essay format?

MLA essay or MLA essay format was introduced and established by the association (Modern Language Association). It is a somewhat modern concept established by this language association guiding the disciplines in art and social sciences.

The essay format this association introduced is to guide the researchers in disciplines that use subjective interpretation in the analysis of their data. Their data is also not numerical; there’s almost always the use of secondary data or what has been written and studied by other scholars in the field.

This essay format or the procedure and process they brought out defines how researchers write and fashion out their essays. It defines all of the listed parts or make up of the essay below:

  • The arrangement of the essay by sentence construction, paragraphing, chapters arrangements, cover page, contents arrangement and others.
  • The citation which includes the in-text and end-text citations of scholars.
  • The process of carrying out the research like following the topic selection stage, the data collection and the analysis. This one is more subjective so data collection isn’t numerical.
  • The language of this essay type isn’t scientific or numerical in style; it is more of descriptive and less scientifically analytical.

The important point to note about how to write MLA essay is that it is used in disciplines that do not use scientific data, and they do subjective interpretation of data than objective interpretation. Such disciplines include Language studies, Literary Studies, Theater Arts, Religious studies, Philosophy, Theology, and more of others.

What is APA Essay or APA Essay format?

APA Essay format, just like its counterpart MLA, was introduced or presented by an organization (American Psychology Association). It was presented as some sort of guide for people doing scientific and analytical data-centered research. It guides these people on how they can write, cite and fashion out their essays.

This essay type is fit for those who carry out scientific or number-based or centered research. The research type is critically done, and due process is followed. There is reliance on the primary data gotten from the field unlike MLA where there can be reliance on secondary data.

American Psychology Association (APA) in introducing this essay type and format, wanted it to determine the different parts of writing an essay if it is to be used by the concerned disciplines. The parts of writing essay that can be determined in APA Essay format include:

  • The process and procedure of the research is different since it’s numerical and highly scientific. More attention and time is paid in the aspect of data collection and analysis. Mostly, primary data is used instead of secondary data as it is found in MLA.
  • The citation is also determined by the format. It determines how the in-text and end-text citation goes.
  • The language is not too descriptive as seen in other essay writing formats and style; it is more analytical and scientific.
  • Most disciplines who choose APA style need more detailed analysis, and thus, there is bigger and longer analysis of data. This affects the arrangement of the essay as sentences, paragraphs and chapters are arranged to suit the long length.
  • The disciplines who utilize this essay format are mostly science-based in one way or another since they have to deal with number-based or experiment research and primary data. Examples of these disciplines include Psychology, Economics, all disciplines in Business and Administration, Medical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences and many more.

You have to note that APA Essay format is not the only essay format or essay writing style used in making and writing research projects and papers in the sciences. Knowing what is necessary or needed in writing these two essay types would help a long way in knowing how to write MLA essay and APA Essay.

Since, you have known what these essay formats and types are, in the next part of this post, we’ll be taking you through how to write MLA essay and APA essay.  

How to Write MLA Essay and APA Essay

  • The first step is choosing the research problem you want to tackle with your essay. What’s a research problem? It is the intellectual gap your research fills. Thus, your research should solve a research problem and fill such gap. This research problem solving brings up your research title.
  •  If you get a research problem and title, then you begin data collection. Collect data that would be beneficial in solving your research problem. For instance, in Literary Studies, you search out other research works related to yours and related to the primary data as well.
  • Once you have gathered all your data and fully recorded them somewhere, you begin to write. While writing, make sure you follow the arrangement process and language use of your discipline or your department.
  • You should also endeavor you get to know the length of the essay that’s expected of you. You break what you want to write into the parts and the number of words they would contain.
  • An academic essay, be it MLA or APA essay, usually have this common parts: abstract, introduction, the main body, the conclusion, the references or work cited, and the list of figures (table, charts, pictures and many more).
  • These parts entails the following:

Abstract: This is a very short insight about the work, what the work sets out to do and what it achieves. This is like a brief summary ranging from the introduction to the body and to the conclusion.

Introduction: This is the part where the research problem of the essay is stated, what the research intends to do to solve the research problem, the objectives of the essay, the significance and the limitations.

The Body: This one is the largest part of the essay where matters like related studies to the topic, the research methodology employed in the essay, the representation of the data collected and the analysis of the data are all discussed. In this part of the essay, the most important aspect of the essay is the analysis of the data collected and its connection to the topic.

Conclusion: Sometimes this is also stated to be Recommendations and Implementations. This is where the essay is wrapped up and solution is brought issues raised.

References or Work Cited: This is where the quoted works used in the essay are cited fully. It is called end-text citation. You should note that you must cite all your quoted works or else you become an intellectual thief (plagiarist). Meanwhile References is for APA essay while Work Cited is for MLA essay.

List of Figures: This is the citation of the tables, charts, pictures, shapes and all other figures you used in your essay.

Citation and use of quotation of related research works to the topic of your essay is very important. There is how they do in-text and end-text citations in writing the essays. There’s also a method and process you’ve to follow to do it. However, before we show you how to do it, let’s explain it so you would know what they are.

What is in-text Citation and how is it done in MLA and APA essays?

In-text citation is quoting the work you borrowed words from in an essay. Thus, this quotation of the work occurs in the body of the essay. There is how it is done in APA essay, and there’s how it is done in MLA essay. If you know this very well then you’d know fully how to write MLA and APA essays.

In APA essay, in-text citation is quoted by writing the name of the author of the quote, writing the year of the publication of the work in brackets, followed by the quoted words and then the page in brackets.

You can quote directly or indirectly (paraphrased). The examples of APA in-text citation include:

Indirect– David (2020) writes that Peter is overweight explaining that it is obesity (p. 19).

Direct — David (2020) writes that “Peter is overweight and therefore obese” (p. 19).

Meanwhile in MLA essay, the quotation is done by writing the name, the quoted words and then the page number. It can also be direct or indirect.

Indirect– David writes that Peter is overweight explaining that it is obesity (19).

Direct — David writes that “Peter is overweight and therefore obese” (19).

However if the in-text quotation is more than four lines, it is quoted differently.

In MLA, a longer in-text citation is quoted this way,

The essayist goes further to state how the concept is utilized in the analysis of a work of art. The essay goes,

Multi-layering’ combines with the fine line between ‘allegorical’, ‘tropological’ and ‘anagogical’ to mean that in using the word ‘allegorical’ one must be careful not to reduce and over-simplify a complex and rich works. The Gawain-poet does, as Bunting observes, use allegory (including metaphor and symbolism), but he actually uses it to ‘[draw] readers into active response to the story.’ (Frost 5)

Remember to give 1 or 2 inch spacing of the entire quoted paragraph from the left.

While in APA, a longer in-text citation is quoted this way,

The essayist goes further to state how the concept is utilized in the analysis of a work of art. The essay goes,

Multi-layering’ combines with the fine line between ‘allegorical’, ‘tropological’ and ‘anagogical’ to mean that in using the word ‘allegorical’ one must be careful not to reduce and over-simplify a complex and rich works. The Gawain-poet does, as Bunting observes, use allegory (including metaphor and symbolism), but he actually uses it to ‘[draw] readers into active response to the story.’ (Frost, 2002, p. 5)

Remember to give 1 or 2 inch spacing of the entire quoted paragraph from the left.

What is end-text citation and how is it done in MLA and APA essays?

End-text citation is the quotation of works whose ideas and words are borrowed in the essay. They are written in full after the conclusion part of the essay. MLA and APA essays have different ways of citations.

In MLA, there are different ways journals, films, articles, books, poems and many more are cited in the essay. The different ways are listed below.

How to Cite a book in MLA Essay?

Abrams and Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Cengage Learning Center, 2006.

How to Cite an Article on the Internet in MLA Essay?

Frost, Peter. “Allegory in ‘Sir Gwain and the Green Knight.’” Retrieved from https://www.literatureessaysamples.com/allegory-in-sir-gwain-and-the-green-knight/ on April 10, 2020.

How to Cite Journal Article in MLA Essay?

Kabore, Andre. “Migration in African Literature: A Case Study of Adichie’s Works.” Revue du CAMES, Literature, Langues et Linguistique Numero 4, 2016.

In another way, concerning APA essay, there are also different ways through journal, books and others can be cited in APA essay. These different ways include:

How to Cite Journal Article in APA Essay?

Adamu, H. (2019). Lassa Fever Epidemic Effect on the Economy of Nigeria. Economic Review Journal, Bayero University, Kano, Vol. 3, pp. 16 – 23.

How to Cite an Article on the Internet in APA Essay?

Alzheimer (2020). “Understanding Dementia Research.” Retrieved from https://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Research/Understanding-dementia-research/Types-of-research/Research-methods/

How to Cite a book in APA Essay?

McCormick, J. & Fischer-Hoch, S. (1999). Level 4 Hunters of the CDC. New York: Barnes & Noble.

Citation is very important whether in-text or end-text, and so if you don’t quote it right, you would be losing lot of marks in your essay, or discrediting your essay if you’re sending it out for publication.

In the next part of this post, we’ll be treating and giving examples of how to write the titles of different write ups when it comes up in an essay.

How to Write the a Poem Title in an MLA and APA Essay?

You put the poem title in italics as represented below

William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”

How to Write a Book, Novel, Script and Play Title in an MLA and APA Essay?

You italicize the book, novel, script and play title as elaborated in the instances presented below,

William Shakespeare’s Tempest

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom

How to Write a Move Title in an MLA and APA Essay?

You italicize the movie title as stated in the examples below,

Terminator

3 Idiots

Sound of Music

Conclusion

How to write MLA and APA essays should not be a big deal after reading this. You just have to follow the guidelines provided. Whether you’re writing as a student to submit or as a researcher, this post will guide you well on it.

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