Kiswahili Institute

Margins For An MLA Research Paper: How To Organize Your Project Properly

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is the one that is most often used in research papers in the area of arts and humanities. The style gives certain guidelines that are used for structuring written research projects and for usage of the language in such writing.

MLA style is also used to make the writer look more credible, due to the attached list of cited sources of information. This list allows avoiding plagiarism charges, demonstrates the writer’s responsibility and genuineness of the research. There are guides on MLA style that help researchers organize an MLA-style research paper in the proper way.

There are several main formatting principles that need to be observed.

  • Use double-spacing for the text of your project, using regular fonts that are easy to read (Times New Roman will be fine). Choose a font size of 12 pt.
  • Use only one space after periods and other punctuation marks.
  • Use the Tab key instead of moving the first line of each paragraph manually with the Space key.
  • Insert page numbers, but confirm your supervisor’s requirements concerning numeration in the first page.
  • Use italicized fonts only in case it is necessary to give something additional emphasis.
  • Set margins of the paper at 1 inch on each side.

The first page of your project also deserves attention and requires specific organization.

  • Do not make any title page unless it is required by your instructor.
  • List your name and your instructor’s name and date in the top left corner of the page.
  • Use double-spacing and place the title of your project (aligned in the center of the page). Use regular capitalization and no italics, bold, underlining, etc.
  • Use quotation marks or italicize the type for names of other works in your research.
  • Use double-spacing again and begin the textual part of your research.

When you move on to the text of your MLA-style research paper, make sure that you use the same style for all the subtitles and names of paragraphs. In case you use short phrases for headings, use this style throughout the whole text. In multi-level lists, make sure that you observe usage of the same font and alignment for all points within each part of the list. It does not matter, which style you choose, in case it is observed through the entire project paper.

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