Guide to Writing Research Paper in MLA Style

posted by Laura Callisen 08 Dec 2016

MLA style refers to a method of writing research papers recommended by the Modern Language Association. The style is used when writing about Philosophy, History and some areas of Humanities.

How to Format Your Research Paper in MLA Style

Basic facts

  • All texts should always be double-spaced.

  • The all around margins should be one inch

  • When acknowledging or referencing your sources and borrowed ideas, use parenthetical citations. You can use a separate “Works Cited” page for this.

  • Highlight the titles of books, newspapers, periodicals, film and television programs by using Underline or Italic

  • Pages should be numbered in the upper right hand corner of the page

  • Pay attention to tenses. Present tense should be used to introduce quoted material and when you express your own opinion regarding that material.

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MLA In-text Citation Format

  • Cite the idea by introducing the quotation or paraphrase with the author’s full name as it appears in the source, excluding titles such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.

  • If the author’s name is not used in text, place only the last name inside the parenthesis with the page number

  • If there is more than one author, include all names inside the parenthesis as stated in the source, or list them followed be et. al.

  • Quotation lengths vary.

    • If the direct quotation is less than four typed lines, you can place them within quotation marks.

    • If it’s more than four, it should be indented.

    • If there are two or more paragraphs, the first line of each additional paragraph should be indented by another quarter inch beyond the default one-inch indentation.

  • If there are more than two works by the same author, include the title of the work in the beginning or inside the parenthesis in abbreviated form.

The Works Cited Page

This is the page that immediately follows the text of the paper. Author’s names should be in alphabetical order. If there is no author, alphabetize the important words in work cited.

Different sources follow different formatting rules. For example, formatting of articles or information derived from books, magazines or other literature is different from those obtained from online sources.

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Your Research Paper

A normal research paper should include:

  • The title

  • The abstract: This is a short synopsis or summary of the whole research paper. It includes the objectives, results and the conclusion

  • Introduction of your topic: provides an idea and describes the focus and the purpose of your research paper

  • The research method or procedure you used and the corresponding results: this is a description of the strategies you used to come up with the results, and proof of your point by citing how you verified your facts or by using visual aids such as graphs.

  • The conclusion and your own interpretation of the topic: everything you learned or proven should be stated.

  • Bibliography: a list of all your sources and references. When it comes to bibliography writing, it is better to use a professional bibliography service.

MLA Style Research Paper Format

All the parts mentioned above are not required when writing in MLA style. The only requirements include:

  • Top, bottom and sides should have a one-inch margin

  • Your title should be in the center

  • Your last name and page number placed on the right side of each pages

  • Your name, and mentor’s name, course and date in order shown, on the left side.

  • Always double space

Students are usually asked to writing a research paper as a requirement to pass a certain course. Starting one is a bit of a challenge when you are the one to choose which topic to study and write about. In most cases, it is usually related to the course or field of study. However, the options are endless. It is best to write about something unique to set you apart from other students in your class. You can find this out by typing in ‘list of great research paper topics for college’ on your search browser. As much as possible, stay away from these topics because chances are, a lot of students will do the same thing hoping to be able to write something great. Unfortunately, other students are too lazy to write their own research paper or too uninterested in learning about the topic, and decide to just buy research papers written by professionals.

Avoid Plagiarism

Copying another person’s work without proper reference, and/or making it as your own is considered as plagiarism. With the amount of information one can get in the Internet, it is becoming a common mistake. Some students paraphrase information gathered from a source and claiming it as their own. Paraphrasing is not an offense, but make sure that you also provide your own thoughts in it. Always remember to have a Works Cited page in your MLA Style research paper to avoid plagiarism. You can always use research paper writer services to get plagiarism-free papers.

Now that you’re aware of how to write a paper using MLA style, you will be much more inclined to be more productive in your composition subjects. Other than that, the attention to detail may also influence other aspects of your academic career.

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