How to Write a Research Paper in MLA Format

Jul 08, 2019 2958 views

If you are a student of liberal arts or humanities courses, you are almost sure to be assigned to prepare your research paper in MLA format. This peculiar format is designed by the well-known MLA (Modern Language Association), and it has gained widespread acceptance in the US and other English-speaking countries for academic papers written by students of various educational establishments. Generally, MLA style research paper format covers not only student works, but also various kinds of scientific, academic and commercial publications in the field of humanities, including English/foreign languages or fields related to literature, as well as communication, media, and cultural studies.

In 2016, the "MLA Handbook" (8th edition) was presented, providing an all-purpose set of instructions, which authors can apply to sources of various types. These rules include formatting (margins, font, peculiar spacing and headers/footers) and styling (quotations, in-text citations, voice and so on). And now we are going to explore how to write a research paper in MLA format step by step.

The Guide on How to Write a Research Paper Using MLA Format

When writing a research paper in MLA format, you need to follow general rules designed with the aim to encourage quality research and clear academic writing based on uniform requirements.

According to these requirements, you need to present your work in a type-written form on standard-sized paper (8.5x11 inches). Throughout the entire work, you should use double spacing and 1-inch margins (apply it for all the sides). It is required to choose an easy-to-read and professional font (Times New Roman, Arial, Century Gothic or Garamond). The required font size almost always is 12-point. Italicizing is also allowable, but only if your paper monitor specified it.

Also, note that you shouldn't use excessive spaces after full points and various punctuation marks unless the professor provided you with other requirements. That applies to headers, too - you are to create page headers that will include your name and page numbers from the very first page unless otherwise required by your research paper tutor.

Besides, you should keep in mind that the guide recommends using active voice in your academic writing whenever it is possible.

Now you have got a general idea on how to write a research paper using MLA format and we can move further to formatting the very first page.

MLA Format Research Paper Title Page

Usually, you don't need to create a separate title page, if you are working with this format. The information about your work, its title and introduction are placed on one page. Your (student's) and your professor's names, the course you are studying in, and the date are listed in the left (upper) corner. Write these at double line spacing and then go two more lines down to type your research paper main title in the center of your document.

Write all major words of your title starting with a capital letter, but don't type all the words in capitals, as well as don't use italics, underlining or speech intensifications, unless your title contains mentioning of other pieces of work. This way, you should begin it with speech marks and a capital letter (for example, Mythology and its Functions in Homer's "Iliad") or use italics (The Poetry of Nature in Dante's Divine Comedy).

When starting an introduction first paragraph, use double line spacing in order to separate the title of your work from its text,

Also, your name needs to be specified in the header (right corner), followed by a page number separated by a space. However, your tutor may instruct you to omit this feature for the first page.

Moreover, in your school, you may often be required to create a cover page for your work. How to do a title page in MLA format for a research paper in this situation? You need to ask your tutor about the requirements since they can vary.

Introduction MLA Format Research Paper

There are no specific requirements to your introduction format, except that you need to separate the first sentence of paragraphs and make it a 1/2 inch from margins (this can be done in a simple way through using your Tab key). Also, throughout your text you should follow MLA referencing rules, including quoting, paraphrasing, introducing authors, in-text referencing and works-cited page formatting.

Nevertheless, you still should stick to the standard instructions for writing introduction part for the research paper. Briefly describe your topic, giving necessary background information, explaining the significance of the problems set, defining the primary purposes and tasks of your work and specifying the chronological framework and sources. At the end of your introduction, bring forth your thesis statement, which clearly states your point of view or claim you are going to explore.

MLA Format: Body of the Research Paper

Working on the content of your research paper body part, you are to provide the facts found or ideas generated during your research process, which meet your thesis statement put forth in the introduction. Let each of your points have a separate paragraph and don't fail to support them with evidence.

Research Paper MLA Format Conclusion

Many students don't quite understand how to write a conclusion in a research paper in MLA format. You have to follow general recommendations on writing conclusions in academic papers. You are expected to present a summary of your work, reflecting your conclusions and proposals on a particular issue. If you are faced with difficulties, you can address our MLA research paper writing help - our professional writers can assist you in dealing with preparing a research paper perfectly, as well as help you format certain parts of your work appropriately.