MLA Format for Essay and Research Papers: When Is It a Must to Use It?


There are so many different styles of writing available for students to choose from that it can be difficult to determine which style is best to use. Many styles are best suited for particular disciplines or types of paper. For example APA is most frequently used in the fields of psychology, education, business, and nursing. It caters well to the types of research and information commonly included in these fields. It leaves you to wonder, if all of those areas are covered by APA when am I absolutely required to use MLA? Let’s begin by learning what MLA is.


MLA stands for the modern language association. This association is in charge of determining an organized standard for academic writing. This style is often the first academic format that children as early as the upper elementary grades are introduced to. This is because it is one of the simplest formats for constructing an organized academic paper. MLA is most commonly used in the following areas.


  • Liberal arts
  • Composition classes
  • Humanities
  • Grade school
  • High school

The simplicity of this style lends itself well to the use by beginning writers. It does not require a separate title page or abstract, and there are far less rules about in-text citations and references. Instead of requiring a separate title page MLA asks for all of the information on the first page of the document. The information that must be included is your name, your professor’s name, the class, the date, a page number, and the title. Because it is so simple MLA is an excellent way for students not familiar with academic writing to become versed in structured writing supported through research.


For college students, MLA requires less to remember when the papers quickly become more lengthy and complex. It is also the easiest style to organize the citations for books and the sort of articles associated with essays commonly required in composition classes. MLA is especially helpful when penning a literary research paper.


As I mentioned earlier MLA is commonly used for literary writing projects, humanities papers, and essays written for liberal arts classes. The short answer to the question of when it is necessary to use MLA is when you are writing in these disciplines or when your professor requires it.

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