What is MLA Formatting?
MLA is the formatting style of the Modern Language Association used in areas such as English studies, comparative literature, foreign language, and literature or cultural studies. This academic style guides extensively used in the United States, Canada, and other countries.
Formatting the Front Page
So, how to format a research paper in MLA style? There are four key components that a research paper in MLA format includes.
Except for the running head, page margins should be precisely 1 inch on both sides of the text as well as on top and bottom.
When writing a research paper or another academic assignment, it is recommended to use Times New Roman typeface as it is easily readable. Set the standard size, which is usually 12 points.
Change the line spacing from single to double-spaced. That makes reading less crammed on the eye and allows the professor to make essential comments in a neat and organized manner. Also, make sure to indent the first line of a paragraph ½ inch from the left margin.
Enter the required course information on the top-left corner of the front page. The MLA format research paper title page should look like this:
- Full Name
- Name of Teacher/Professor
- Name of Course
- Due Date for Assignment
Type your title below the date after double spacing and align it centered with no period in the end. You shouldn’t make your title bold, italicized or underlined. There is only one exception from the rule: use italics if the title of another source included in yours. Make sure you follow the rules for capitalization. Check if it’s correct in MLA Handbook (67–68).
The MLA title for an MLA format research paper looks like this:
Sarah E. Johnson
2 Apr 2019
Set the automatic page numbering in the top right-hand corner. That is done to keep track of the page order, and it also looks pleasant on the eye. Leave a margin of ½ inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
The In-Text Citation
In-text citations are most times subordinate, which means that information is always added to the end of the sentence in parentheses. But if you include that necessary information in the language of the sentence itself, you should not include the parenthetical citation.
For example, if the author’s name is found within the in-text citation, then there is no need to add it at the end; insert the page number, and you are all done referencing.
Having two sources from the same author may confuse the reader. When they check the source, they will find two different articles. To avoid this confusion, you must include a short title of the research citation, so the readers know which of the citations to look for.
When a source has two or three authors, you should include all authors’ last names. Whereas, when you have four or more authors then you have to write them all out following the last name of the first Author.
When citing a research paper in MLA style, include references within two sections:
- The quotes used within the essay
- The Works Cited page at the end
The citation information in the body of the paper itself is called the “in-text citation.” The most obvious time to use it in the text is when you use a quote from a source directly or refer to it by title or author.
Generally, you need to list the writer’s last name and page number enclosed within parentheses straight after the quote. If the author’s name is included as a feature of your sentence, then you only have to add the page number in the bracket.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Frost 1).
Kenneth Burke has described human beings as “symbol-using animals” (3).
As you can see, Burke’s name was included in the sentence, so there is no need for repetition in the citation.
The Works Cited page
- References: When providing references in a research paper in MLA style, you must inform the readers about the sources you used to cite this information. The reference page is known as the “Works Cited.” This page is where the author gives credit to the source. Things that are placed within a citation include alphabetical order of authors last name, the title of article and date issued.
- Follow this format exactly: Author(s)-> “Title of Article.” ->Title of Journal Volume.->Issue (Year): pages
- Electronic Sources. For electronic sources utilize the inventor’s name and page number or area number for in-substance references. This is only if the information does not have page or section numbers by any methods. By then, you would include the author’s name in the section after you have referred to the recorded information.