When you submit your paper, be sure to keep a secure copy. Except for the running head see below , leave margins of one inch at the top and bottom and on both sides of the text. 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 a standard size, such as 12 points.
Do not justify the lines of text at the right margin; turn off any automatic hyphenation feature in your writing program. 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. 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 in the MLA Handbook 67—68 , and italicize only the words that you would italicize in the text. Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper e. 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. If your teacher requires a title page in lieu of or in addition to the header, format it according to the instructions you are given.
How to Write a Paper in MLA Essay Format (Updated for )
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 last name, followed by a space, before the page number fig. Do not use the abbreviation p.
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Your writing program will probably allow you to create a running head of this kind that appears automatically on every page. Some teachers prefer that no running head appear on the first page. The list of works cited appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes. Begin the list on a new page. The list contains the same running head as the main text.
Another option is to have a transition sentence first and then a separate topic sentence following it. You might want to provide a slightly different version of your thesis statement as the first sentence of this paragraph and then provide a few sentences that sum up what the body section said in support of the thesis statement. The summary section should be only one paragraph long for a short paper, but can be longer for longer papers.
How to Head a College Paper
Some instructors, like me, even think that summary sections are unnecessary for short papers. Familiarize yourself with the material before you begin writing. Think about your paper topic as soon as you get the paper assignment prompt from your instructor. This can be facilitated in a number of ways. A great way is to discuss the issue with your instructor or teaching assistant.
You can even try talking about it to a friend or family member. Write rough drafts ahead of time. Then take a break from the essay this usually requires at least a half, if not full, day. After the lengthy break for example, the next day , go back and edit more.
Repeat this process as necessary until finished. This is why it is important to start working on your essay far in advance! You can always go back and edit it. Just make sure you have enough time to go back and edit. Once you have a final draft ready, have someone read it to look for errors and provide feedback. Many instructors encourage students to turn in early drafts to them for comments.
Just be sure to check and see if your instructor allows you to do so. Avoid errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, verb tense, and vocabulary, such as the following:. If you are doing an essay that involves researching or you quote anyone in your essay, then you need to cite your sources. There are many different formalized styles for citing sources. The most standard for English papers is MLA. You can buy the official books on how to properly cite sources according to certain styles, but you can also find a lot of that information on the Internet.
Format Typed — use a word processor such as Microsoft Word on a computer. I now prefer single-spaced myself.
Font size — standard size of the text is usually point. Essay Structure The first thing to notice is that the basic form of an essay is quite logical. You can divide your paper into three main sections: 1. Introduction For the introduction section , you will need to do two things: introduce your topic and provide a thesis statement. Second, provide a thesis statement.
Body The body section should consist of at least several paragraphs where you will provide support for your thesis statement in the form of reasons, evidence, arguments, justification, and so on. General Writing Tips 1. Avoid errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, verb tense, and vocabulary, such as the following: Put punctuation inside quotations for American writing.
If you put something in quotations that is immediately followed by punctuation such as commas or colons , then put the punctuation mark inside the last quotation mark. The British style of writing has the punctuation outside the quotation marks, which makes more sense. However, the American style requires that you write it the other way. Put parenthetical citations outside of quotations.
Introduce quotes, preferably by acknowledging who is saying it. Notice the three dots in the quote … , which is called an elipses. It denotes that something came before or after the part of the sentence you are quoting. It does not apply to doctoral programs. This discount cannot be combined with the Completion Scholarship for Maryland community college students or the Pennsylvania Completion Scholarship.
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Tips for Writing an Academic Paper
For more information, contact your academic advisor. An overview of the skills needed for academic and professional success. Focus is on enhancing communication and critical thinking skills. Assignments provide familiarity with tools such as social media and library and information resources.
APA style and resources are also addressed. Skip to Main Content. Essay Introductions Write an introduction that interests the reader and effectively outlines your arguments. You also want to do that in a way that is fresh and original.