Leave margins of one inch at the top and bottom and on both sides of the text. See fig. Always choose an easily readable typeface Times New Roman is just one example in which the regular type style contrasts clearly with the italic, and set it to anywhere between 11 and 13 points, unless your instructor specifies a different font size.
Generally use the same typeface and type size throughout the paper however, see section 7. Do not justify the lines of text at the right margin, and turn off the automatic hyphenation feature in your word processing program. It is unnecessary to divide words at the ends of lines in a manuscript. When checking word breaks in a professionally typeset text, consult your dictionary about where words should break. Double-space the entire research paper, including quotations, notes, and the list of works cited.
Indent the first line of a paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Indent block quotations half an inch as well. Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation mark, unless your instructor prefers two spaces. On a new double-spaced line, center the title fig. Do not italicize or underline your title, put it in quotation marks or boldface, or type it in all capital letters. Follow the rules for capitalization set forth in 2. Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper Works Cited.
Begin your text on a new double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. A research paper does not normally need a title page, but if the paper is a group project, create a title page and list all the authors on it instead of in the header on page 1 of your essay fig.
If your teacher requires a title page in lieu of or in addition to the header, format the title page according to the instructions you are given. Number all pages consecutively throughout the research paper in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin. Type your surname, followed by a space, before the page number fig.
Your word processing program will probably allow you to create a running head of this kind that appears automatically on every page. Headings and subheadings in the body of your research project can help organize and structure your writing, but you should avoid overusing them. Headings should never be used to compensate for poor structure or to explain an underdeveloped idea, and they are generally not needed in short, essay-length works.
When headings are called for in your writing project, keep them short and observe the basic guidelines below. Consistency in the styling of headings and subheadings is key to signaling to readers the structure of a research project. Word processing software often has built-in heading styles. Headings in the body of your research. After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate.
Font styling and size are used to signal prominence. Each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on. In general, a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, or lack of bold can be used to signal subordination. For readability, avoid using all capital letters for headings in some cases, small capitals may be acceptable. No internal heading level should have only one instance.
For example, if you use a level 1 heading, you should have at least one other level 1 heading. The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited. In the body of the paper, headings should be flush with the left margin, not indented or centered. For readability, include a line space above and below a heading.
Generally avoid using numbers and letters to designate headings unless you are working in a discipline where using them is conventional. Capitalize and punctuate headings like the titles of works as explained in 2. The list of works cited appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes. Center the heading, Works Cited, an inch from the top of the page fig.
If the list contains only one entry, make the heading Work Cited. Doublespace between the heading and the first entry. Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines half an inch from the left margin. This format is sometimes called hanging indent , and you can set your word processing program to create it automatically for a group of paragraphs.
Hanging indent makes alphabet lists easier to use. Double-space the entire list. Place tables and illustrations as close as possible to the parts of the text to which they relate. A table is usually labeled Table, given an arabic numeral, and titled. Type both the label and title flush left on separate lines above the table, and capitalize them as titles do not use all capital letters. Place the source of the table and any notes in a caption immediately below the table.
To avoid confusion between notes to the text and notes to the table, designate notes to the table with lowercase letters rather than with numerals. Double-space throughout; use dividing lines as needed fig. Any other type of illustrative visual material—for example, a photograph, map, line drawing, graph, or chart—should be labeled Figure usually abbreviated Fig.
A label and caption ordinarily appear directly below the illustration and have the same one-inch margins as the text of the paper. If the caption of a table or illustration provides complete information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, no entry is needed for the source in the works-cited list.
If no instructions are given, follow the MLA guidelines below:. Type the following one inch from the top of the first page, flush with the left margin double spacing throughout. Center the title on the next line. Follow the rules for capitalization. Do not italicize, underline, or bold the title. An exception is when your title includes a title. Include your last name and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of every page.
The page numbers will be one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. If your instructor prefers no page number on the first page, begin numbering from 2 on the second page. Check them out to see the correct formatting. If you are writing a longer, research paper, you may want to include headings and subheadings to help organize the sections of your paper.
Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence. After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate. Font styling and size are used to signal prominence. In general, a boldface, larger font indicates prominence; a smaller font, italics, and lack of bold can be used to signal subordination. Consistency in the styling of headings and subheadings is key to signaling to readers the structure of a research project.
That is, each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on. Generally, avoid numbers and letters to designate heads unless you are working in a discipline where doing so is conventional. In a project that is not professionally designed and published, headings should be flush with the left margin, to avoid confusion with block quotations. The exception is the paper or chapter title, which is centered in MLA style.
For readability, it is helpful to include a line space above and below a heading, as shown in this post. No internal heading level should have only one instance. For example, if you have one level 1 heading, you need to have a second level 1 heading. The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited.
You should also generally have text under each heading. Capitalize headings like the titles of works, as explained in section 1.