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How To Format A Research Paper In The MLA Style Properly

MLA format is used by researchers to write thesis and dissertations. However, before you start writing ask your instructor as in which format to follow. If it is MLA format, follow these instructions-

  • Type of paper: Write your research on a white paper which is 8 ½ - 11 inches long and wide. Use erasable paper so that you can maintain neatness.
  • Margins: You should leave one inch margin from all the sides- top, bottom, left and the right side. Ensure that every new paragraph is indented only half inch and the set off quotations are indented one inch from the left margin which is set as five spaces as the standard.
  • Spacing: MLA guide states that your research paper is double spaced. The rule goes well for quotations, notes and other types of work cited.
  • Heading and the title: Your research paper may or may not require a title page. Write your name, the name of your instructor, course name, the number and the date at the top of the page towards the left hand margin. All these items should be written on a separate page on double spaced lines. Write the title above your text in the centre. Remember, if your title is lengthy and comes in two lines, double spaces should be used. Use double spaces before you begin writing the text. Ensure that your title is neither underlined nor written in capital letters. Only first, last and the principal words should be written in capital letters. If needed, titles can use question mark or exclamatory mark. If you are writing your research in other languages apart from English, capital letters or punctuation marks should be used.
  • Page Numbers: Your all page numbers should be used consecutively in the manuscript on the upper right hand side corner of each page. It should be one half inch from the top. Your last name should be before the page number. A number of word processing programs employ running head as a part of the format. At the same time you should take care of one inch margins and double spaces too. The page number should be one inch from the right hand side. Flush the page number on the right hand margin of the written text. Never use any abbreviations in front of the page number.
  • Tables and Figures: Arabic numerals should be used while framing the table. All the images, photographers, charts and line drawings should be labeled as figure and they should be appropriately numbered and captioned.
  • Binders: Consult your instructor regarding this aspect as instructions varies greatly based on the departments.

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