APA Style is bounded by a framework.
Introduction bleeds right into the literature review (Webtexts or web-based articles might have an
Introduction page). The sections above typically are identified by subheadings. APA style has more
headings than those listed above (for example, Methodology might be broken into Design, Participants,
Procedure, and Limitations), but authors use the headings they need. As a researcher, I know that I can go
directly to Results or even the Abstract to see what the authors discovered. If those results meet the needs
of my research, then I will go back and read the entirety of the article. Perhaps a speech pathologist
researching a treatment might go straight to the results to see whether it is worth trying.
students write their Introductions, Literature Reviews, and Methodologies. Every student, whether they
wrote qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research, employed those three sections.
The MLA style that English Studies uses has a little less structure.
The Body might begin with a summary of a literary text as it relates to a certain approach. It may also begin with a definition of an approach as it relates to a literary text. The body will then contain a number of explications of the text that prove the validity of the approach or disprove challenges to that approach.
An approach might be a theoretical approach, or it might be an explication of a prominent idea in a text.
If I were top step back and consider writing a literary analysis in APA format, I might actually be relieved by the structure that APA could provide me.
My introduction could announce that in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the key takeaway is that quality is intertwined with reality.
The Literature Review would include a discussion of what theorists such as Locke, Plato, and Barthes have to say about what is real or unreal. It would also include a discussion of what those theorists have to say about quality. Of course, it would begin with a description of how Pirsig discusses quality and reality in the novel.
Technically, I could include a methodology section that describes what is sometimes called a Document Review or a Review of Existing Research.
The Discussion section would then apply my research in the Literature Review to the novel.
It’s important to note that these manuscript styles were created to provide structure and similarity to researched published in journals. If the articles are published with a similar or the same structure, then the READERS can find the information that they are looking for (And reviewers can easily evaluate submissions to the journal).
Speaking of reviewers, there’s two key differences between APA and MLA manuscript style: The Tile Page and The Running Head.
In MLA format, my header will identify me and the page number:
In APA format, my header will identify my brief title and page number:
NOTIONS OF REALITY IN PIRSIG’S ZEN 25
When researchers send their research articles to journals for publication, the journal editors send those submissions to at least two reviewers who judge the manuscripts and say whether they are suitable for publication in the journal. The reviewers also provide revision feedback. Reviewers are other researchers with some standing in the field, so it would be unfair if they could identify the authors and then accept submissions from their mates.
Imagine that those submissions were printed in triplicate and then mailed to the journal. In an APA journal, the journal editor would then rip off the title page, save it for organizational purposes, and mail the submission to the reviewers. In an MLA journal, the editor would need to ensure the author removed their name from the header and didn’t include their name on the first page. The editor wouldn’t have those title pages, records of the submissions. That’s all different in our digital world today.
English Major Concerns
You probably have other concerns, and we can discuss them here.
I guess we can begin with a chart.
Now that the chart is there, there’s more.
Take note of the example bibliography entries above. They begin with the last names of authors just as in-text citations include the last name of authors. In fact, the identifying information in a parenthetical citation should be the same as the information in the bibliography entry. If I am looking for “Harris” in a bibliography that has multiple pages or dozens of works, I can easily scan for it by looking for the name. Indenting the second line and beyond of entries facilitates this scanning process.
See how this works? In an APA article, I can scan the References for “Bellum, S. (1981)” if I’d like to find the book.
Note that in APA style, the title of the work typically is not identified in the text. That raises the question of what do these genres value? Since those in the sciences often use APA format, they value currency. It’s important to include dates in citations so readers can quickly ascertain how recently the science was conducted. Or consider how new McWhorter claims written language is. A linguist might value APA to ascertain how recent or relevant language data is.
On the other hand, in MLA format, researchers value writers and their texts. For that matter, they are identified by their names and the titles of their works.