A Guide to Academic Writing - How to Write an Excellent MLA Format Research Paper

The Modern Language Association developed a style and formatting guide that is mostly used in the humanities or liberal arts field. It is designed to create a common template for which all of the students can use to ensure that all the papers are the same. They also choose fonts that are easy to read. The idea behind creating a formatting style and requiring the students to follow it is to ensure that everyone starts on the same playing field.

If a font was not designated, it is entirely possible that one student could use a larger font or larger margins and not have to write as much to meet the requirements. Here are the general requirements. You may still have to look through the guide for information on how to cite different sources. Most online libraries will format the citation for you. You just have to choose the right formatting style.

  1. You should use a standard white piece of paper with double-spaced text in a 12-point font that is legible and has a significant difference between regular and italic that they can be distinguished. The margins should be one inch all around.
  2. There should be only one space between punctuation marks and a half inch indent before every paragraph.
  3. The paper should have a header that puts your last name and page numbers in the upper right hand corner one half inch from the top and flush to the right margin.
  4. Your first page should not be a title page. The upper left hand corner of this page will be where you put your title page information including your name, your teacher’s name, and the date. You would double space and enter the title again centered in plain text. Then double space again and start your text.

These are the main things that you will have to follow to format your paper correctly. The citations have to be very specific so you should look in the manual if your resource library doesn’t set it up for you. Most libraries will give you the option to view the citation in different formats. You can use this to make sure that you get it right. You can obtain a copy as well so that you can see exactly what it looks like when it is complete. It is a little easier to understand when you can see it.