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When students receive a research paper assignment, they frequently panic because terms like documentation, MLA Style (PDF file, 177 KB), and APA Style (PDF file, 186 KB) mean nothing to them. They may as well be Latin words. There is no need to panic, however, because help is available. Let's look at the research paper from an angle with which you are familiar.

A research paper is basically an essay that sets forth your thoughts on a topic and includes information from-other sources-that supports your thoughts. Anytime that you use information from a source, you must give that source credit for helping you. This is where the term documentation comes into play. Documentation is the manner in which you give credit to sources. At DeVry Orlando, we usually document in MLA Style (PDF file, 177 KB) or APA Style (PDF file, 186 KB) style.

Both styles involve the same basic information but present it in slightly different formats. One requires a title page; one does not. Both involve a two-part documentation. MLA requires parenthetical (in-text) citations and a Works Cited list. APA requires parenthetical (in-text) citations and a References list. Both styles have very specific requirements for the placement of information within the documentation.

I have provided two documents, one for MLA and one for APA, to show how to set up your paper and to assist you with documenting your source materials. Read the general information for the style required by your professor, then look at the kinds of source materials you have gathered and follow the format for those kinds of sources. If your professor does not specify a style, most students find MLA more user friendly.

After you have written your paper and included your documentation, ask someone to look it over for you. Help is available in the Academic Support Center and the library, or you may contact an English professor for assistance.

Good luck with your paper!

MLA Style (PDF file, 177 KB)
General information
Parenthetical citations
Works Cited
Basic forms for sources in print
Basic forms for electronic sources
Other types of sources
Sample Works Cited page

APA Style (PDF file, 186 KB)
General Information
Title page
In-text citations
References List
Basic forms for sources in print
Basic forms for electronic sources
Sample References page

The PDF documents on this page require the Adobe Acrobat plug-in to read them. If you do not have it, it is available here at no cost.


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