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Creating An MLA Research Paper: General Formatting Rules

  1. MLA is the specific guidelines for formatting an academic manuscript. It is meant to give writers a system of referencing their resource materials.
  2. When you use MLA properly it gives your paper extra credibility because it demonstrates the accuracy of facts and information that is mentioned within the research document.
  3. Using MLA protects authors from plagiarizing accusations because it encourages them to accurately cite their sources and give credit to the original writers ideas.
  4. There is an official publication available that list all of the rules of using the MLA format the “MLA Handbook For Writers of Research Papers”.
  5. Here are some of the basic guidelines for formatting following the official MLA style:
    • Make sure that you type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard 8.5 x 11 paper.
    • All MLA papers must be double spaces using a legible font. MLA recommends that’s you do not use italics or bold types.
    • The standard font height for MLA papers is 12pt.
    • With MLA you must have 1-inch margins
    • The first line of the paragraph should be indented left one half inch from the margin. MLA rule state the writer should use the “tab” instead of the 5 spaces for consistency reasons.
    • Your header must include page numbers in the right hand corner one half inch from the top. Try to make sure that they match up flush with the margins. (Specific assignment criteria may override this)
    • You can use italics throughout your essay for titles (longer works) and to add emphasis when appropriate
    • Any endnotes should be included on a separated page, it should be placed before your works cited.
  6. Here are some of the basic rules for creating the first page of your MLA paper:
    • Never make a title page for your paper unless specified in the assignment criteria
    • Place your name, your instructors name, course and the date in the upper left corner
    • Make sure that you double space and center your title
    • Only use quotations when referring to other works with your title
    • Include a header in the top corner that should be your name and then the page number.
  7. Citing Sources: Along with using very specific rules for writing MLA also follows certain specific for citing source that you may wish to review.
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