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Academic Style Guide: MLA format for a research paper

Academic writing usually follows a specific format that researchers, students, and teachers recognize. Whether it’s MLA or another format, this helps all parties involved make more sense of the writing. Using the specified format also shows professionalism and dedication to ones’ work. When you need to write this kind of paper for your class, it’s important to know the basic points about what MLA format means. There are some things that differ from university to university, or even between departments, but a few things will almost always stay the same. Keep reading to find out more about how you can learn these basics and use them to do a great job on your research paper.

Basics of the MLA Format

Here are a few of the things that nearly all teachers ask for when they ask for MLA style. As always, make sure you defer to your teacher’s instructions, but these points can help you discover what they mean in more detail. If your teacher has not given any guidelines and simply wants MLA format, then follow these tips:

  • Page numbers need to go in the upper right corner
  • Always double space your entire paper
  • Use 1” margins all the way around the page
  • Underline or italicise titles of books or other literature
  • Only use past tense when it’s used in a direct quote
  • Present tense should be used for your own comments

If you’ve followed all of these things as well as the guidelines from your teacher, you’ll be well on your way to writing an A+ research paper. You can use these tips for any essay, paper, or other project that needs an MLA format for its structure. Once you’ve had experience writing in this way, it’s much easier to do future assignments and papers with the same format. Eventually, using the format will become second nature to you, and you won’t have to look up the steps for it anymore. Until that happens, bookmark this article to come back to for a reference as you write, and you’ll never have to worry about not knowing how to do MLA format.

Following this format is surprisingly easy once you’ve seen the steps laid out like this. Some might see the strict guidelines as limiting, but it’s actually very freeing to know what you need to do and then just do it. Using a format shows you have a certain standard of writing.

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