Learn to Write an MLA Format Research Paper: 9th Edition
- Jun 26, 2023
- 2.A Brief About MLA Formatting
- 3.What is the use of MLA Format Research Paper?
- 4.General Rules of 9th Edition MLA Format Research Paper
- 5.Essential Parts of MLA Format Research Paper
- 6.Proofreading Before Submitting MLA Format Research Paper
If you are a student of humanities, cultural arts, or language studies, chances are that you are asked to format your research paper in MLA format. This means you have to write an assignment that is usually based on qualitative research while following the part-and-parcel formatting rules.
Be it APA, MLA, or Chicago manual, the formatting guidelines of each differ in font style, font size, headings and titles, spacing, page numbering, bibliography, etc. These standard structures help in defining a consistent appeal throughout the paper.
This article from EduHelpHub will hereby make you accustomed to the essential elements and styles of MLA format research paper. You will find multiple helpful tips in between contexts that will help boost your writing confidence eventually.
A Brief About MLA Formatting
MLA is short for Modern Language Association of America which prepares a set of rules to cite scholarly findings and understanding of the subject by upholding coherence in a research paper. Currently, academic institutions are following the 9th edition of the MLA Handbook which was published in the year 2021. The motive for writing an MLA format research paper is to maintain a level of accuracy and transparency.
We know that one research paper makes way for multiple other research works. This indicates that all the information provided in the text should be well-proven and supported by evidence taken from trustworthy sources. Any type of false recording can compromise the credibility of your research paper. Therefore, the cited sources when presented in MLA style make it easier for the evaluators to cross-check the references in no time.
Speaking about quicker recognition, MLA format research papers are more distinguishable than other formatting styles. On the first page itself the header, heading, titles, and sub-sections have a particular writing style. We shall discuss it more elaborately in the upcoming sections.
What is the use of MLA Format Research Paper?
Other than an orderly look, there are many other benefits of using MLA format in research papers. As mentioned earlier the MLA format is most suitable for the humanities and language disciplines, which means there are more texts and theoretical explanations. So that the evaluators don’t get jumbled up in the pool of information, writing an MLA format research paper will allow them to track the research process more promptly.
This style of formatting makes the paper look more formal while citing the quotes and other details thoroughly. This systematic recording lets you use small parts of studies of other scholarly people by preventing your content from being plagiarized. This MLA format research paper in return improves the reading experience by both quality and quantity. The writings become more expressive and standardized.
Whether you are writing a literature review, thesis, or argumentative essay, the in-depth research work reflects your knowledge of the literature that you eventually gain during the assignment process. The appropriate referencing also suggests how rational you are as a researcher.
Altogether, the use of the MLA format makes the paper and yourself easier to assess. Now usually, when you are a student of higher education, formatting first drafts is not very necessary, which leaves you with enough time to style the final draft. But it is suggested to maintain the MLA format research paper from the very beginning so that you don’t lose track when nearing the submission date.
General Rules of 9th Edition MLA Format Research Paper
If you already know about different styling formats, you must be aware of the different rules of structuring a paper. With every edition, the set of rules keeps on changing. More different types of online sources may get added, the citation pattern gets modified accordingly. There are more possibilities for additional features. As a researcher, you are expected to heed such minor and major detail of MLA guidelines, starting from a general layout to the appropriate use of punctuation. Read further to learn the fundamental requirements of writing an MLA format research paper:
- The assignment is written on a white sheet measuring 8.5 x 11 inches.
- Whichever writing platform you use, MS Word or Google Docs, the margin must always be set at one inch overly.
- Times New Roman font is usually preferred, followed by Arial, Georgia, Calibri, and Verdana. The only rule here is to use only one legible font type throughout the assignment maintaining a 12 pt font size.
- Every page must contain a page header that includes the last name of the writer and respective page numbers.
- The title page and paragraphs in the main body are always double-spaced.
- The title or the topic of the assignment is always center aligned.
- Page titles, along with all headings are to be written in title case.
- In an MLA format research paper, the term “Works Cited” is written at the top of the bibliography page which is center aligned as well, where all the sources are recorded in an alphabetical order.
- The beginning of each new paragraph and quotation should have a hanging intent of 0.5 inches.
- After each period and other punctuation marks, leave a space unless you are specified with further instructions by your professor.
- Titles and headers do not include any period/dot.
You must begin your MLA format essay paper keeping in mind these basic styling guidelines. There are many other rules that are to be followed in different parts of the research paper.
Essential Parts of MLA Format Research Paper
As you know, a research paper has different parts involved – the introduction with a thesis statement, body segment, research analysis, and conclusion. Apart from these, there are more detailed precepts involved, especially if you are to maintain an MLA format research paper. The title page, body texts, figures and tables, listings, and the final page differs from other formatting styles in terms of look and specification.
Title Page and Introduction
The title page, unlike it sounds does not dedicate the entire page to the title. In fact, only the first half portion of the page is consumed with the individual page number, name of the author and professor/instructor, course name and code, date of submission, and title of the paper. Have a look at the format below –
The explanation of each of the elements has been discussed in the subsequent points:
- On the top right corner is the last name of the author with the page number. It is written in the header section of the page and is also called the running head. It is placed below half inch margin on each page.
- In the next section, the main details of the project are provided maintaining the same order as presented in the example. The instructor’s name is not mentioned entirely, just the surname with academic credentials. The date format is the same every time, i.e., month, date, and year. You can see that the parts of the section are all double-spaced and left-aligned. This section aggregately is said as the MLA heading.
- Leaving a space, the next component of the MLA format research paper is the title of the paper. It is written in the title case, meaning the initial letters of each word should be capitalized. This part of the title page is center aligned and restricted from any writing effects, like bold, italic, or underlining. There is not even the application of a period here.
In the rest of the space after the page title, the introduction of the essay structure begins. This opening paragraph gives an overview of the topic, provides interesting facts and figures to attract the attention of the readers, and places the thesis statement. Altogether, this section of the MLA format research paper consumes about 10% of the entire word count.
Level Headings in Body Paragraphs
Level headings are also called section headings. If headings and subheadings are not used, the look of the paper will seem like big chunks of paragraphs which will make it difficult to comprehend the essence of each context. This is why there are different levels of subheadings that helps in simplifying the distribution of information. Although there is no compulsive rule in the handbook of MLA format research papers, there are certain general styles to present the hierarchy of ideas:
- Section headings should be written against the Arabic numerals followed by a period and space. Whereas, the level sub-headings are listed in a multilevel listing pattern.
- If you don’t want to use any numbering, there is another set of attributes to maintain a logical sequence. Bold all the level 1 headings, let the level 2 headings be in normal font style, and lastly, you can italicize the level 3 headings.
Most preferably only 3 heading levels are used by students, so, you don’t need to worry about styling subheadings further. Yet in rare possibilities, if you have to write more subheadings, then Arabic numbers are the best to opt for.
Note that texts at each level will follow the same formatting style overly in MLA format research paper. And under each heading, there should be at least two or more sub-points or subheadings. There is no need to label only one subheading at one level, instead write the intended details in a separate paragraph. And don’t forget to left align each instance all of which should be short and precise.
The body paragraph of an MLA format research paper includes the main points of arguments to support your thesis, the methodology used for justification, and the research findings. Since this contains the majority of the critical information, all sorts of borrowed study details from other authors are attached here. This is done by using the parenthetical citation technique.
In short, whenever you refer to a certain text from another source, or even mention the gist by summarizing or paraphrasing it, there is a need for in-text citation. The format includes the borrowed frame of ideas, the last name of the author with the page number from where the text has been taken which are enclosed within brackets. For example –
“It has often been assumed that man has chosen for domestication animals and plants having an extraordinary inherent tendency to vary, and likewise to withstand diverse climates” (Darwin 13).
Note that if you directly quote the lines word by word in the MLA format research paper then keep them within double quotes. The same is not essential when you are paraphrasing the context.
Citing Tables and Other Visual Elements
What happens if the borrowed elements are more than just texts? If you are relating to a table, chart, or illustration, the in-text citation format will indeed be different. The credit is given immediately below the visual element. It begins with the term Table or Figure, whichever is applicable, or abbreviation Fig. It is succeeded by a table or figure number and the source of the image, title of the image, and other image description.
Endnotes and Footnotes
Both footnotes and endnotes are brief comments or notes written at the footer of the inner pages or at the ending section of the MLA format research paper, respectively. These are meant to provide small explanations of the contended information without causing any distraction from the actual paper. These can acknowledge certain quotes, statistics, or even the meanings of certain technical terms.
Endnotes typically hold a separate page that is sequenced just before the “Works Cited” page. At the end of each referred text, you have to add a superscript number. These marked texts are described later in the notes section against the same number.
The final part of the MLA format research paper is the “Works Cited” page which is commonly known as the reference page or bibliography. This page lists a detailed description of all the in-text citations. Following is the format of a reference if you want to cite a source from a published paper, journal, or book:
Last name, First Name. Book/Paper Title. Collection Title, if any. Publisher, Date, URL/DOI whichever is applicable.
Proofreading Before Submitting MLA Format Research Paper
You will be able to write an error-free research paper if you know the basic writing strategies beforehand. By learning how to write an essay your proofreading labor will also get minimized.
- Check whether or not you have deviated from your topic of discussion.
- Verify the sources in the reference list with in-text citations.
- Always maintain authenticity by using the database mindfully.
- You might need to reconsider your choice of citations if they have been overused in your MLA format research paper.
- Lastly, be truthful in giving credit to avoid plagiarism.
If all these vital points are checked right, your MLA format research paper will be ready for submission.