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Formatting a Research Paper in MLA

Research Paper

Different institutions, fields of study and levels of study have different requirements in relation to formatting assignments. MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian and Harvard are the commonly used in research writing and every institution or faculty has reasons for the choice of the style used. Students are advised to follow instructions given to the letter. The focus of this article is giving a guideline on how a research paper should be formatted in MLA.

a)     Paper

Write the research paper on a white paper 81/2 by 11 inches

b)     Spacing

Spacing in a MLA paper should be double spacing, including the body, notes, the reference or any work quoted.

c)      Margins

In an MLA research assignment, margins should be 1 inch all round- that is 1 inch at the top, an inch at the bottom and an inch on the right and the left. The page number should occupy part of the inch left.

The paragraphs in the research paper should be half an inch indented from the left margin.

d)     Numbers of pages

Page numbers should be on the upper right-hand corner of every page and should be placed half an inch from the top of the page. Every page of the research paper (including the first page) must be numbered.

On the first page of the paper, write:

  • Heading and title
  • The title
  • Your name
  • Name of the instructor
  • Course and number, and
  • Submission date

On the left hand margin. They should all be on separate double spaced lines, then you double space them again.

Note– the title of the paper should not be underlined or written in all capital letters except for the opening and important words in the title.

e)     Figures and tables

Tables in a research paper should be given Arabic numerals, while other materials in the research paper should be clearly and properly numbered and captioned.

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