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Formatting a Research Paper

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❶Don't capitalize unimportant words, such as articles a, an, the , prepositions to, with, through, about, etc. Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines half an inch from the left margin.

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MLA General Format
Line Spacing & Margins

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. MLA Modern Language Association style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook 8 th ed. The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA eighth edition, including the list of works cited and in-text citations.

MLA is a style of documentation based on a general methodology that may be applied to many different types of writing. Since texts have become increasingly mobile, and the same document may often be found in several different sources, following a set of rigid rules no longer suffices.

Thus, the current system is based on a few guiding principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still describes how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves.

This gives writers a flexible method that is near-universally applicable. Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.

When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:. Each element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here.

Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers. In the current version, punctuation is simpler only commas and periods separate the elements , and information about the source is kept to the basics. End this element with a period. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks. Unlike earlier versions, the eighth edition refers to "containers," which are the larger wholes in which the source is located.

For example, if you want to cite a poem that is listed in a collection of poems, the individual poem is the source, while the larger collection is the container. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container.

Interview by Gareth Von Kallenbach. In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books , or watched a television series on Netflix. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used. Accessed 27 May In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc.

If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation. In the eighth edition, terms like editor, illustrator, translator, etc. A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc. The MLA Handbook is available in most writing centers and reference libraries; it is also widely available in bookstores, libraries, and at the MLA web site.

See the Additional Resources section of this handout for a list of helpful books and sites about using MLA style. Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay.

MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name. MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books for more information on headings, please see page in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing , 3rd edition. If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically.

For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases and not, for example, full sentences. Otherwise, the formatting is up to you. It should, however, be consistent throughout the document.

If you employ multiple levels of headings some of your sections have sections within sections , you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. In case you were instructed to do so, your Title Page will then serve as your Page 1. You are expected to list your name, your instructor's name, course and the date on the upper left corner of the page.

Make sure you double-space after each line. After the date, double-space once again then enter the Title of your paper, aligned at the center.

Refrain from formatting the Title further, such as underlining, italicizing, typing the Title in all capital letters or full capitalization, or placing your Title in quotation marks. Quotation marks can however be used if you are at the same time referring to other works in your Title.

If this is the case, here are some examples on their proper formatting:. Section Headings could be individual chapters of a book or named parts of an essay.

There are two types of headings you can use: Whichever you choose to use, make sure you maintain this type of sectioning throughout the paper. What follows are sample numbered headings that can be used as your reference when making headings for your own paper using the MLA writing format:.

For formatted and unnumbered headings, here are some examples:. In the event you choose to employ multiple levels of headings meaning some sections include subsections or sub-headings it may be a good idea to provide your instructor or editor with a key of level headings you used and their corresponding formatting.

Now that you're done with your title page and section headings, let's move on to the body of your research paper. All general MLA writing format guidelines apply to the body of your research paper.

Between paragraphs, refrain from adding extra spaces as this is only done when you're expected to write in business format.

Otherwise, be consistent and follow the general guidelines for the entirety of your paper. Being accused of plagiarism is a serious offense and may even result in your failing the paper or entire course.

Here are some guidelines in parenthetical referencing for papers following the MLA writing format:. When referencing outside sources following the MLA writing format, include a page for Works Cited to show readers where you found your data and information. This will also allow your readers to easily find the mentioned source materials themselves.

Format your Works Cited page by creating a header. The whole page should be double-spaced just like the rest of the document, including citations. List citation entries in alphabetical order by the authors' last names.

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Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style: Section Headings. Writers sometimes use Section Headings to improve a document’s readability. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay. Essays.

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Jun 26,  · Two Parts:Formatting the Title, Header, and Your Personal Information Writing Section Headings Community Q&A MLA style refers to the guidelines put out by the Modern Language Association for writing essays. [1] It specifies how you should write your headings for any type of essay that asks you to 95%(4).

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Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. From the MLA Handbook, 8th ed., published by the Modern Language Association. Topics. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, Cover Letter Headings; Addressing.

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How to properly format the MLA Format Heading? This page contains general guidelines on how to properly format the heading on your research paper using the MLA. MLA format essay MLA format essay: general rules and requirements. The paper written in the MLA format can be used in the liberal art and humanities field. Mostly, the provided information in such essays is dedicated to researchers or writers in different reports.