If you are a high school or college student, then there will definitely be a time when you find yourself in a position in which you need to cite a research paper, dissertation, annotated bibliography, etc. There are various styles of formatting, but the most commonly used ones are the MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. Using these formatting styles helps to ensure that the writers do not engage in plagiarism and it also simplifies the process of locating sources used within the essay. EssayPro team will teach you how to correctly cite a research paper using MLA Format.
What is MLA Formatting?
MLA is the formatting style of the Modern Language Association. It is used in areas such as English studies, comparative literature, foreign language, and literature or cultural studies. It is an academic style guide extensively used in the United States, Canada, and other countries. It mostly provides guidelines for writing and documentation of research in humanities and English literature.
Formatting The Front Page
There are four key components that come with setting up within proper MLA rules:
- Page Margins should be EXACTLY 1 inch on both sides of the text.
- Set the line spacing from single to double-spaced. This makes reading the text less crammed on the eye and allows the professor to make necessary comments in a neat and organized manner.
- Create a header that has your last name as well as the automatic page number. This is done to keep track of the page order and it also looks pleasant on the eye!
- Lastly, enter the required course information on the top-left corner of the front page. It should look like this:
- Full Name
- Name of Teacher/Professor
- Name of Course
- Due Date for Assignment
The In-text Citation
- The quotes used within the essay
- The Works Cited page at the end
The citation information in the body of the paper itself is called the "in-text citation”. The most obvious time to use it in text is when you use a quote from a source directly or refer to it by title or author.
Generally, you need to list the writer’s last name and page number enclosed within parentheses straight after the quote. If the author's name is included as a feature of your sentence, then you only have to include the page number in the bracket.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Frost 1).
Kenneth Burke has described human beings as "symbol-using animals" (3).
As you can see, Burke’s name was included in the sentence, so there is no need for repetition in the citation.
The Detailed Information
References: When providing references within your research paper, the readers must be informed about the origin of the sources from where you are citing your information. The reference page is known as the "Works Cited". This page is where the author gives credit to the source. Things that are placed within a citation include: alphabetical order of authors last name, title of article and date issued.
Follow this format exactly: Author(s)-> "Title of Article." ->Title of Journal Volume.->Issue (Year): pages
Electronic Sources. For electronic sources utilize the inventor's name and page number or area number for in-substance references. This is only if the information does not have page or section numbers by any methods. By then, you would basically include the author's name in the section after you have referred to the recorded information.
Selecting An Appropriate Method of the In-text Citation.
In-text citations are most times parenthetical, which means that information are always added to the end of the sentence in parentheses. But if you include that necessary information in the language of the sentence itself, you should not include the parenthetical citation.
For example, if the author's name is found within the in-text citation, then there is no need to add it at the end; simply add the page number and your referencing is finished!
Arrangement of the In-text Citation
Having two sources from the same author may confuse the reader. When they check the source, they will find two different articles. To avoid this confusion, so the readers know which of the citations to look for.
When a source has two or three authors, you should include all authors' last names. Whereas, when you have four or more authors then you have to write them all out following the last name of the first Author.
Example of a Research Paper in MLA Format
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Super Pro Writer, from EssayPro
This article is great at articulating how to format an MLA citation style research paper. However, it alleviates a style of quotation integration: the block quotes. In MLA style, any quote that is over 4 lines should be made into a blockquote. The formatting for this is easy. Once you’ve inserted the text into your essay, leave a space before and after it. Then, select the text and move it over an inch to the left. This should isolate the quote clearly from the rest of the paper. That being said, my advice is that you do not use integrated quotations unless you absolutely have to. Your essay would flow much better with integrated quotations that contextually connect your idea to the idea in the quote. Paraphrase as much of your quote as you can and don’t forget to include a citation! This is especially important in more formal research papers.
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MLA Format in Detail
This page contains general guidelines on how to properly format the headings on a paper using MLA format.
Without a Cover Page:
This is the most common way to begin an MLA essay because MLA does not require a cover page. Some instructors, however, may require one (see instructions and example below).
1. The Opening Page:
On the opening page or the first page, a comprehensive identification (sometimes referred to as the main heading) and essay title should appear. The identification includes the following information:
- Student/Author Name
- Instructor’s Name
- Class Name/Information
- Your Paper’s Due Date
- Font: choose an easy to read font such as Times New Roman
- Font Size: set the font size to be 12 throughout the paper, including the paper’s title. Never set the font size larger than 12.
- Margins: 1-inch for top/bottom/right/left throughout the paper
- Double-space: double-space throughout he paper. Don’t add extra spaces (besides the already used double-spacing) between headings, title and/ paragraphs. Important Note: In the newest Microsoft Word settings, adding extra spaces between paragraphs is a default setting and must be disabled by the writer; otherwise, extra spaces will be automatically created.
Sample of the opening page:
With a Cover Page:
The Modern Language Association (MLA) does not require a cover page, but some instructors may require it. In certain situations or assignments, a paper with a cover page can look more professional.
Instructors who require the paper to have a cover page usually provide specific instructions on what should be included. Here is the general MLA Format cover page. This page should include your school or university’s name (i.e. Aims Community College), a paper title, author name, class name, professor name and paper due date.
Here is how to format an MLA cover page:
- This page is double-spaced and the letters are centered.
- Type the name of your university or college.
- Skip to about one-third of the page and type the research paper title, including subtitle if there is one.
- Skip several lines and type student/author name, course name and number, instructor name and paper due date.
Sample MLA Format Cover Page:
Sample MLA Format Cover Page
Alternate First Page:
If an instructor requires a cover page, the identification heading on the first page should be omitted. Below is an example of the first page if a cover page is used. Last name and page number should appear on all pages, and the title should appear at the top of the first page only.
Sample MLA Format First Page with Cover Page
2. The Inner Pages:
For the pages that follow the first page, set the heading like this: instead of the whole heading, use the header feature in the word-processing program to include author last name and page number.
Inner Page Example:
Example of the heading for inner pages.
3. The Works Cited Page:
Every research paper must include a works cited page(s).
- The works cited list is placed at the end of the paper, beginning on a new page.
- The header for the works cited page(s) should be similar to the header for the inner pages, which includes author name and the page number at the top.
- Enter the title as “Works Cited” and place this title 1-inch from the top of the page, see more details in the example illustration below.
Example of the works cited page:
Example of the works cited page.
For moreiInformation on MLA works cited pages, including in-depth instructions for citing various sources, view MLA Works Cited Page.