Not sure if this is the right place to put this but:

This week I started a six-week school project to write a research paper about diseases. As part of my preperation, I read a short paper on writing research papers (as this is one of the first I have done.) In the paper there was a diagram explaining the MLA guidelines for standardising research paper formatting. My homeschool curriculum is American but I live in the UK. My question is, as a British student, should I write the paper according to MLA guidelines, or is there something else for those of us living across the pond?

1 Answer 1


In general in academic writing, the final choice of style is up to the publisher (for books, articles etc), employer (for reports or promotional materials), or assessor (for coursework and tests). As such, most academic publishing houses and large universities produce some kind of stylesheet (if not many) for their authors and staff, and essay based university courses may even produce something specific for students.

In general, these all cross-fertilise with each other, so many general themes towards good writing repeat across them. Frequently, British guides will reference American ones, due to being more readily available, while making changes to keep in line with English reference works such as the OED and Fowler. As such, if you are not writing for assessment, then following the MLA guidelines with suitable modification (e.g. using standard British spellings if you are more comfortable with them) is eminently sensible, and will certainly get you into good habits.

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