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Formatting Styles: How to Write a Proper Research Paper


Writing a research paper may seem challenging, but it’s not that hard if you do all of your research and know the proper format to write your paper in. Format is important to the teacher and will affect your grade.

How to Format a Research Paper Following MLA Guidelines


Most teachers ask for their students to hand in a paper that follows MLA guidelines. MLA guidelines state that:

  • Your paper should be printed on white 8.5 x 11 inch sized paper.
  • The margins should be 1 inch on all sides.
  • You must use 12-pt. font that is easily readable. Most teachers ask for Times New Roman.
  • Everything, including captions and bibliography, must be double-spaced.
  • Text should align on the left.
  • A paragraph indentation should be a ½ inch or five spaces.
  • You must leave one space after a period, or two if requested by the teacher.
  • Every page should have your last name and page number printed on the upper right margin.
  • You should only give your teacher a title page if requested.
  • If your teacher does not ask for a title page, at the top left corner of the first page of your paper, you should always write:
    • Your full name
    • Your teacher’s name
    • The course name or number
    • The due date of the paper
  • You should place any illustrations or tables as close to the text that refers to it as possible.
  • You must attach pages with a paperclip or a staple unless your teacher prefers otherwise.

If you have any questions about formatting your paper, look online, go to the writing center, or ask your teacher. It is important to format your paper properly because it will affect your grade. The presentation of your paper is as important as your writing skills and the information in your paper.

Other Styles


MLA is a formatting style most K-12 teachers and college professors ask for. Another common style asked for by teachers and professors is APA. There are several other citation styles that are less common, such as Turabian and Chicago. Your teacher will specify what they want you to use. Ask the teacher before you start writing your paper if they do not specify when assigning the paper to the class. If you don’t know how to follow the format they ask for, you can look online, ask them to show you, or ask someone in the writing center for help.

 
 

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