What is important in MLA style papers?

THE Modern Language Association(MLA) style of documentation provides a standard for:

  • properly formatting
  • citing
  • validating
  • and preventing plagiarism

in research-based papers. The MLA is a must-have implementation due to the extreme accessibility of the Internet. Students now have the power to access universities, medical journals, and expert case studies to find the proper and valid support for their research based papers. The standards of the MLA will be applicable through the complete years of a student’s academic career.

Formatting

Formatting is uniform with use of the MLA mode. The spacing, margins, font size, font choice, and headings are all strictly designated. There is no more guesswork in trying to determine what styles or sizes to use. For examples, all sides, the top, and the bottom margin of a MLA paper has a one-inch margin.

In-Text Citations

No longer do research based papers have small numbers by the data or quotes used that cannot be credited to the author of the paper. And there exists no more listing at the bottom margin to match up with the number with the source of the reference. Good-bye footnotes. The citation will be in-text. It will go immediately after the source is used. The instructor can then quickly verify the source.

The author and page is noted. So if the student used a source by Suzanne Brown on page one, the in-text citation would look like: (Brown 1). Different source types may ask for different citations, but 90% of the time the author/page is used (APA uses author/year created). If there is no author, the citation will use the article title. For an online source, if there is no author or title, the author may use the web address.

Source Validation

A source needs to be from a valid person. A five year old’s hospital experience cannot be considered a credible source, but a physician with over twenty years of experience is credible. The Internet is filled with sources that are not valid. This validity can mean the difference between a passing and failing paper. MLA helps define that validity.

Plagiarism

Because the web is so accessible and young people are so resourceful in using it, the occasional child has used the cut and paste method to build his or her paper from other people’s work without crediting them. Requiring the child to cite, and requiring a Works Cited page (MLA standards) cuts down on the plagiarism factor. If the instructor uses the MLA with a plagiarism checker such as Turnitin, checking for stolen work becomes even easier.

The MLA Way

MLA has given teachers and students a standard that is user friendly and takes the guesswork out of writing a research-based paper. Plagiarism is virtually eliminated and the sources cited are easily noted. Lives of students and teachers become easier with MLA implementation.

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