Title (First 2 or 3 Words) 1
Class Name - Period
1. This page should be numbered at the top, right corner (in the header) with the first two or three words
of the title and page number 1.
2. The full title of the report (do not underline, bold, or put in quotes unless it is a title of a literary work);
student’s name (Example: Joe W. Smith); class name and class period (Example: English I – 1); and
due date (do not abbreviate month: August 25, 2009) should be centered on the page.
3. The page should be typed in a standard black 12-point font and double-spaced.
4. There should be NO other additions to the page (pictures, color, etc.)
5. If this report were to be published, a running head would also be required.
6. While this sample report is printed double-sided, your report should be single-sided.
Title (First 2 or 3 Words) 2
I. Thesis sentence (explain position).
A. Concrete detail
1. Commentary 1. The outline should be numbered in the same
manner as the title page, beginning with
2. Commentary page number 2 (if the outline is longer than
one page, the next page of the outline should
B. Concrete detail continue as page 3 and so on).
2. At the top center of the page, place the full
1. Commentary title of the essay (do not underline, bold, or
put in quotes unless the title is a literary
2. Commentary work). This should be the same title as the
one printed on the title page.
C. Concrete detail 3. The page should be double-spaced, typed in
a standard black 12-point font and have 1”
1. Commentary margins (as is the rest of the project).
4. There should be one Roman numeral to
correspond with each paragraph of the
II. First supporting argument essay.
5. Each line must begin with a capital letter, but
A. Same format as I each word after that should be lowercase
unless it is a proper noun or proper adjective.
III. Second supporting argument 6. All points should be lined up under the
heading above them (tab).
A. Same format as I 7. There must be at least 3 main ideas for your
essay and an introduction and conclusion
IV. Third supporting argument paragraph (I-V), which should be labeled with
a Roman numeral and followed by a period:
A. Same format as I I.
8. There must be at least three concrete details
V. Re-stated thesis statement. per main idea, which should be labeled with
a capital letter and followed by a period: A.
A. Same format as I
9. There must be at least two commentary
sentences per concrete detail, which should
be labeled with a numeral followed by a
10. If there are subdetails (details below the
commentary sentences), they should be
labeled with a lowercase letter followed by a
11. In a professional APA paper, the outline
would be replaced with an abstract.
Title (First 2 or 3 Words) 3
This could be the thesis sentence, though the thesis can be written anywhere in the introduction as
long as there is a logical flow of ideas. In addition, the introductory paragraph should also include any
pertinent background information and should also highlight what the main points of the essay will be. Under
no circumstances should the essay begin, “This essay is going to be about…” (Jones, 2009, p. 10).
Students should write using the third person, even though this is a persuasive essay based on opinion.
Students should state their positions as fact: Don’t say, “I think gambling should be illegal”; instead say,
“Gambling should be illegal.” Students should never use the second person (you), and they may only use
the first person (I) in the conclusion.
The entire essay should be at least five paragraphs, a minimum of 500 words in length, and include
at least nine quotes from three different sources. Each of the body paragraphs should begin with a topic
sentence that states what that paragraph will be about, the main point. It should not, however, begin by
saying, “This paragraph is going to be about…” (Jones, 2009, p. 10). Each paragraph should address
a Roman numeral on the outline. It is essential that all information that is not common knowledge is cited in
the parenthetical documentation. Notice that the parenthetical documentation is part of the sentence, so the
period comes after it. Students may use direct quotes, indirect quotes, or a combination of both. All sources
used should be listed on the References page. There are examples of the proper use of quotes in bold and
italicized in this sample essay, but the quotes in your essay should be typed in regular font. Any quotation
longer than 40 words should be displayed as “an indented (five spaces) block of lines and with the
quotation marks omitted” (“How to Write a Research Paper,” 2008, p. 11). If the source has no author
or editor, the title of the article or chapter is used in the parenthetical documentation instead of the author’s
or editor’s name (or name of webpage – not website) – see previous sentence. If the direct quote comes
from a non-print source like a website, a paragraph number is required for the parenthetical
Title (First 2 or 3 Words) 4
documentation (“Using Electronic Sources,” 2009, ¶2). Indirect quotes do not require a page
number (“How to Write a Research Paper,” 2008).
The same formatting rules apply to the essay portion of the report as with the rest of the project.
Pages are numbered in the same manner as the rest of the paper, with the first two or three words of the
title in the top, right corner in the header. The full title is typed at the top, center on the first page of the
essay only. The title should not be underlined, in bold, or put in quotes unless it is a title of a literary work.
In addition, students must use a standard black 12-point font, 1” margins, and double-space. There should
be no additional line spaces between the title and the first paragraph or between the paragraphs
This is a formal research paper; therefore, specific grammatical rules should be followed. Any
number less than 10 should be spelled out, unless the number refers to a precise measurement,
percentage, etc. Abbreviations should not be used on the outline or in the essay and students should avoid
using contractions as well. Students should try to use a variety of sentence types: simple, compound,
complex, and compound-complex sentences. It is important for students to make sure all sentences have
agreement between subjects and verbs (singular and plural) and between pronouns and their antecedents
(for example, everyone is singular and requires a singular verb and the use of his/her - not their). It is wise
to write in the plural to avoid such problems. Students must also be sure not to switch tenses (between
past, present, etc.). When writing about literature, students must always write in the present tense, so it
would be beneficial to follow that rule in all essays to avoid problems in switching tenses. Most spell-
checker programs pick up on these errors, so it is important that students run a spell-check program and
follow its suggestions.
The last paragraph of the essay would normally be the conclusion and include a re-worded thesis
sentence. This paragraph should not include any new information, as it should mainly summarize the main
points of the essay. It can, however, include your own personal opinion.
Title (First 2 or 3 Words) 5
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Chapter Title. Book Title (pp. # - #). City, State: Publisher.
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. & Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Chapter Title. Book Title (pp. #
- #). City, State: Publisher.
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Title of Article. Name of Newspaper, p. #.
Editor’s Last Name, First Initial. (Ed.). (Year). Title of Article. Book Title. City, State: Publisher.
Editor’s Last Name, First Initial. (Ed.). (Year, Month Day). Title of Article. Magazine Name, #, #-#.
Title of Article. (Year). In Name of Encyclopedia (Vol. #, pp. # - #). City, State: Publisher.
Title of Article. (Year). Name of Website. Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http:// address.
1. Center the title, References, in the top center, allowing for the necessary 1” margins. The entire page,
like the rest of the paper, should be double-spaced and in standard black 12–point font. This page is
last and should be numbered accordingly. There is no extra line space between the title and the first
2. Every source that was cited in the essay should be listed on the References page (3 minimum). Each
source is only listed once, and only sources that are cited in the paper should be listed. List all entries
in alphabetical order, not numbering them. Begin each entry flush left. If the entry runs more than one
line, any additional lines should be indented 5 spaces (tab).
3. The sources above are just examples. Sources will vary depending on the type of sources used in the
essay. Consult the Landmarks Citation Machine (http://citationmachine.net), the Publication Manual of
the American Psychological Association: 5th Edition, or the Online Writing Lab
(http://owl.english.purdue.edu) for further formatting assistance. The examples above are described
below in the order that they appear in the reference list above:
Sample 1: part of book with one author
Sample 2: part of book with two authors
Sample 3: newspaper article with author
Sample 4: part of book with no author - just editor
Sample 5: magazine article with no author – just editor (volume – italicized; page numbers – not
italicized - follow magazine name)
Sample 6: encyclopedia article with no author or editor
Sample 7: website with no author or editor.