How Do I Write a Research Paper in the MLA Format: Basic Requirements


When writing in the MLA formatting, there can be many small exceptions and detailed guidelines for speficic scenarios. So, when writing your next MLA style paper, we definitely recommend consulting your closest MLA guide to learn about these nuances. Aside from the minor details, the major basic requirements of MLA format can be broken down into aesthetics and citations.

Aesthetics of MLA:


There are some rules that will always apply to the aesthetics of an MLA formatted research paper. The upper left corner of your paper will always feature a heading, which reads: your name, your instructor’s name, the subject and the date. On the other side, the upper right hand corner will always have your last name and the page number. Your paper will always be double-spaced, and you will never have more or less than one-inch margins, on all sides. Comic sans will never be appropriate, opting for more professional fonts like Arial or Times New Roman. There will always be special treatment to a title of a book, movie, article, magazine, etc. Titles will receive underlines or italics, and articles will receive quotations. These rules will always be true for MLA papers.

Sources of MLA:


Research papers will always feature information that is not your own. Now, the difference between a plagiarized paper, and a well-supported paper is the credit given to sources. This credit is given in the form of in-text citations, and a page of references. When working with the MLA format, you will use an in-text citation whenever you present information or thought that is not original or your own. Following the statement of outside information, but before the period of the sentence you will use an open parenthesis. After this parenthesis, the last name of the source’s author will be used, followed by the page number, then closed with another parenthesis and period. Theses in-text citations identify the list of sources, or works cited, which will be at the end of your research paper. The MLA list of references, known as the Works Cited, will notify your readers from where/who your information was deduced.

By keeping these major requirements of MLA formatted research papers in mind, you will meet most of the necessities of the MLA style. Consult your local guide for any remaining questions you may have, and when in doubt, cite it!