Writing an MLA Format Research Paper-Detailed Instructions


In certain disciplines, scholars are required to follow a particular set of conventions when writing essays or research papers. If your instructor asks you to submit a research paper in MLA format, the instructor is simply asking you to format the paper and present the content of the paper in a specific way. Here are detailed instructions on writing an MLA format research paper.

Document settings

The entire documents should be set at 1 inch margins. All the fonts should be double spaced while the font size should be set at 12-point. In most cases, the font style should be Times New Romans. There should be no additional spacing after the paragraphs.

Page Header

At the top right corner of every page, you should insert your surname and the page numbers. The font style used on the page header should match with that used in the rest of your document. Most word processors have a function that lets you insert the page numbers automatically.

Title Block

The title block appears on the first page of the document. It contains the assignment information and the title of the paper. The assignment information should include your name, your instructor’s/professor’s name, the subject, and the date. All these details should be aligned on the left side of the document. The title of the paper should be center aligned and all subsequent sub headings should be center aligned. However, all paragraphs should be indented.

In-text Citations

The basic rules on citations in MLA format dictate that there should be no comma between the author’s surname and the page number. Additionally, all periods and commas should go outside the inline quotes. When citing a block quote (i.e. more than 3 lines), the quote should be indented, which means that you should increase the indent. It is always advisable to avoid long quotes because they tend to look like fillers.

Works Cited List

A research paper is not complete if it does not contain complete bibliographical details on each source that was cited. The works cited page should begin on a fresh new page. It should be titled “Works Cited” and center aligned. How the exact item that will go into the bibliography will depend on the type of item. This means that there is a special way for different types of sources, including books by a single author, books by multiple authors, magazines, online journals, periodicals, magazines, newspapers, DVD’s, online sources, and so forth. All the entries in the works cited page should be sorted in alphabetical order. The entries should also be set on hanging indents.




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