Creating An Excellent Research Paper Using The MLA Format

MLA format is very specific when used on a research paper. The paper appears distinct compared to other formatting styles like APA. If the instructions indicate that the paper should be formatted in MLA, you are required to maintain this format from the beginning to the end. There is also a variation when the format is used on different disciplines. For instance, formatting an arts paper differs from one in sciences. This distinction must be shown in your work.

Here are basic characteristics that define MLA formatting for a research paper.

  • The entire paper is double spaced. The spacing applies to all sections including the general text, quotations, list of works cited and notes. Your font should be 12 points. Ensure that you select a font type that clearly distinguishes normal and italic writing. This will help you avoid confusion especially when you have to include book titles. Times New Romans is the recommended font type for MLA formatting.
  • Leave a one inch margin on all sides of your paper and in all sections. The one inch margin applies to the top, side and bottom. It further affects your title page, body text and reference sections. Parenthetical citations are used to denote ideas borrowed from other writers, direct quotes and indirect quotes.
  • There is a page for ‘Cited Works’ that references all the citations in your paper. Cited and quoted materials should be introduced using present tense. This tense is also used to make personal comments about the quotation. Past tense is only used if the quoted passage is presented in past tense or when you are reporting about the quotation.
  • Underlining and the use of italics apply when referring to book titles, pamphlets, periodicals, films and television programs. It is also used on record albums, newspapers, magazines and journals. In case an essay, poem or quote is within a book, it is placed in quotation marks. The only exception to this rule is when the quotation is substantially long.

A single space should be left between a period or quotation mark and the beginning of a new sentence. This rule also has an exception if the teacher has indicated otherwise. The first line of each paragraph should be indented by half an inch. The best way to achieve this is to use the tab key other than five spaces. Get assistance from this website for more details on MLA formatting. The site also covers other writing categories like essays and dissertations. There are samples of papers written in MLA for perusal as well.