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MLA Research Paper Writing Basics For College Students

College students are quite often assigned to write different research works in compliance with the MLA standard, i.e. they should adhere to specific formatting and citing rules in order to complete an A-grade paper. Moreover, this style allows avoiding accidental plagiarism.

MLA Paper Layout

To start writing your research work you should always keep in mind the following aspects of formatting:

  1. Typing your work.
  2. First of all, it’s required to type it on a computer using an A4 format of a standard white-colored sheet of paper. It’s also necessary to apply 2.0 line height and choose the font in which italics can be distinguishable enough (i.e. Times New Roman). Besides, you should set the font size of 12.

  3. Spacing after punctuation symbols and paragraphs.
  4. It’s mandatory to make a single space after each punctuation character. Moreover, avoiding additional spacing after the paragraphs is a must. Nevertheless, your scientific advisor can give you other instructions. So, it’s always better to consult them beforehand.

  5. Setting the margins.
  6. It’s required to apply 1-inch margins all around the document. It’s advisable to check these setting as different word processors offer different formatting styles.

  7. Starting a new paragraph.
  8. When you want to shift to another paragraph, it’s important to set a 0.5-inch indent on the left. Using Tab is strongly advisable.

  9. Numbering the pages.
  10. The page numbers should be placed in the page header aligned to the right. You should use the 0.5-inch space from the top of the page. Your advisor can require skipping the number on the first page, though.

  11. Formatting other sources.
  12. Italics in such work types are reserved for the titles of other people’s books or sources. Emphasis is put only if it’s really required. Adding important remarks.

    In case you need to enclose important notes, they should be placed on a separate sheet of paper and be entitled accordingly. It should be added at the end before the list of the works you have cited.

The Opening Page Format

  1. Using the title.
  2. It isn’t needed if not required by your advisor. Moreover, it should be placed in the center and be formatted in the same way as the body of the text. Standard capitalization rules are normally applied.

  3. Adding the title block.
  4. Your own and your advisor’s names, the course title and the date should be left-aligned at the top of the page using double spacing.

  5. Including other people’s works in the title.
  6. In case someone’s work is mentioned it’s required to utilize quotes or/and italics.

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