Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

SCI 100- Science: First Year Seminar- Davis: Step 4: Citing Sources

Step 4a: Citations Styles: MLA vs. APA

All citation styles have elements in common because they serve the same purpose: to clearly identify information sources used to support a new work. All citations must indicate the author or authors, the title of the work, the date it was published, the publisher of the information, a way to access the work.

The arrangement of those elements will be influenced by the preferences of particular disciplines. Two popular styles of citation are the Modern Language Association style (MLA) commonly used in the humanities and the American Psychological Association style (APA) by social and some hard sciences. There are other styles across the US and around the world in addition to these, but we will focus on MLA and APA, the faculty preferences at HACC.

Here are examples of citations of the same article in APA (yellow) and MLA (green) with the differences between styles in bold.
Gaffigan, M.C. (2019)  Zinc mining in the Saucon Valley during the 19th century: Entrepreneurial extraction methods at the dawn of the Industrial Era. Journal of Pennsylvania Mining History 27(4), 189-211. doi: 19.4397/cfp689


Gaffigan, Margaret C. "Zinc Mining in the Saucon Valley during the 19th Century: Entrepreneurial Extraction Methods at the Dawn of the Industrial Era". Journal of Pennsylvania Mining History, vol. 27, no.4, 10 Dec. 2019, pp.189-211. ScienceDirect, https://hacc.ezproxy.jpmh274_189211/zincmining

To summarize the major differences between APA and MLA:
Author first name initial
Date placed in parentheses after author(s) name(s)
No title quote marks
Only proper nouns and first word of title and sub-title are capitalized
Volume next to journal name, number in parentheses 
Pages given as simple page range without pp. abbreviation

Name of database not included

Step 4b:What is DOI?

 You may have noticed that the APA citation in step 4b has a doi at the end instead of another url. A DOI (digital object identifier) is a string consisting of letters and numbers. It is assigned by the International DOI Foundation. The DOI provides each information source with a unique and persistent link to its location on the internet. In citations, the doi is preferred to other urls when available. Most current articles have assigned doi's, but older sources may not. In the case of an older article, use a persistent url.

Step 4c: Assignment: Write a Citation

For the article you have uploaded to the Primary Article and Citation dropbox, write a citation using APA 7th edition format. Tip: If you are unsure about how to proceed after reading the material above, review the extra material and examples at APA Citations (7th edition)

Upload the citation as either a Word or Google document (remember to share with if you use a gdoc) into the Primary Article and Citation dropbox.