Writing A Research Paper: MLA Formatting Requirements

Every institution follows different guidelines when it comes to writing a research paper and one of the most preferred formats is the MLA style of writing. When you have been asked to submit your paper in MLA, it means you cannot deviate from a standard format. You must stick to a certain set of conventions and though it sounds confusing, it is very easy and you should get the hang of it after some time.

Standard MLA Settings for the Paper

  • MLA format dictates that you have a 1-inch margin on every side of your paper.
  • Lines should be double-spaced and there should be no additional spacing after every paragraph.
  • The font size should be 12 points and the typeface should be Times New Roman.
  • Make sure you change the default style of your word processor to these settings before you begin typing your paper.

Figuring Out the Page Header

When you are writing a paper in MLA format, you have to include some details on every page. In the top right hand corner of each page of your assignment, there should be your surname followed by the corresponding page number. This is extremely easy to set up and you can use the Page Header function of your word processor to get the job done efficiently and quickly.

Understanding the Title Block

You have to include the name of your research instructor, your course number and section along with the present date on the upper left hand corner. In the next line, you need to centre and begin typing a good title for your paper. Pick one that makes sense and actually gives the reader sufficient amount of information to deduce what your paper is going to be about. It is best not to use any sort of vague or convoluted language in this section of the paper. There should not be any extra space present below or above the title.

Making Use of Citations

Citations are necessary when writing a paper since they allow you to avoid plagiarism issues, introduce some evidence and establish a sense of authority in your work. Citation occurs in two stages in the MLA format. In the first instance, in-text citations are used that are present directly in the body of your paper while the second category makes use of a different page at the end of the paper which is also known as the Works Cited List.