Composing A Winning Research Paper Using The MLA Format
The MLA (Modern Language Association) style of writing is used most often to cite sources and write papers within the humanities and liberal arts fields. Every word that is included within the pages of a research paper needs to be focused, concise, and be logically organized towards guiding your reader. The little things really do matter, so it is vital that you have met all of the proper requirements. When you have been asked to turn in a research paper that uses the MLA format, here is a guide to make sure you don't miss any of the essentials:
General guidelines for the MLA format
- Your final draft should be printed on the standard size white paper of 8.5 x 11-inches. Times New Roman is the most common font that is chosen. The size of the font should be set to 12 points, and all of your text should be double-spaced.
- There should only be a single space left after all types of punctuation, including periods.
- There should be a margin of 1-inch on all sides.
- For every paragraph, the first sentence should be indented half an inch from the left. It is recommended that writers do not use the Space Bar for indentations, but instead use the Tab key.
- You will need to have a header in the upper-right corner for the page numbers that is half an inch from the top.
- Some instructors prefer that there is no number on the first page so be sure to clarify their requirements.
- Italics should be used for longer titles and to provided emphasis--but only when absolutely necessary.
- For students that will be including endnotes, they belong on a dedicated page that comes just before the page for
- Works Cited. With no formatting needed, center the heading "Notes" as your title--not endnotes.
- If you will be dividing the paper into sections, Arabic numerals should be used. The proper format is numeral, period, space, and section title. For example, 1. The Early Years
- Direct quotations, borrowed ideas, or indirect quotations should be acknowledged with parenthetical citations. They should then be referenced in the Works Cited page.
- The titles of CDs, TV programs, movies, periodicals, pamphlets, plays, and books should be italicized or underlined.
- When making personal comments or introducing quoted or cited material the present tense should be used. The only appropriate time to use the past tense is for reporting events in history or quoting a direct passage.
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