Useful Guidelines for Writing a Research Paper in MLA Format

At a certain point in your college life, you may be required to write an academic paper using the MLA format. If you have never had the opportunity to see a research paper MLA format example or you have never even heard about the MLA format, you may experience challenges in preparing the paper according to the required instructions. Here is a guide to get you started on the general format and what is required.

  • Title and Heading
    One of the important things you should know about a research paper in MLA format is that the paper does not require a title page. Rather than having a title page, the top, left side of the first page should begin with the student’s name, the supervisor’s name, the course/subject number, as the submission date on separate double-spaced lines. The title should follow immediately below this section on a separate line and it should be centered. The title should neither be underlined nor italicized or capitalized.
  • Margins
    You should leave one-inch margins at the bottom and top as well as on both sides of the text. However, the running head and page numbers do not follow this rule. For the page numbers, number the pages successively throughout the paper. The page numbers should appear on the top right corner of the page, half an inch from the top and aligned with the right margin.
  • Text Formatting
    It is always advisable to select Times New Roman fonts and set the font size to the standard 12 points. The lines of the text should not be justified at the right margin and the whole paper should be double spaced, including the quotations, list of works cited, and any accompanying notes. The first line of each paragraph and any set-off quotations should be indented at half an inch on the left margin.
  • Tables, Appendices and Illustrations
    Tables should be positioned as near as possible to the text that they refer to. Tables should also be labeled as “Table” and assigned an Arabic numeral and a title. All this information should be placed above the table and flush left on separate lines. You should also provide the source of the table along with any notes below the table.
  • Citations: In-Text and List Works Cited
    Both the in-text citations and the list of works cited are important in MLA format guidelines research paper. When citing within text in MLA format, include the surname of the author and the page number and enclose the citation in parenthesis. The list of works cited should be on a separate page at the end of the paper. It should be labeled “Works Cited”, centered and italicized. The entries should be formatted to have hanging indentation and arranged in alphabetical order.