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How to Do a Research Paper in Formal Mla Format document sample
Last Name 1 Your Name Ms. Bledsoe English II 14 April 2008 MLA Format Requirements and Instructions What if you were given an assignment without any rules for the way it should be done? You would find it difficult to proceed without any structure, and your teacher would find it difficult to grade without any standards. To avoid this type of confusion regarding standards for formal papers, the Modern Language Association developed MLA formatting. This is one of two standard formatting styles that are required by colleges, universities, and publishers for submission of formal pieces of writing. MLA format dictates the formatting for font, spacing, headings, writing style and citations used in research papers. The font for an MLA formatted research paper is 12 pt. Times Ne w Roman. (Go to Format, Font to set up the correct font). The margins must be 1” at the top, bottom, left, and right. (Go to File, Page Set Up. Change the right and left margins to 1”. Top and bottom margins should default to 1”). The paper must also be double spaced. (Go to Format, Paragraph, Spacing. Under Line Spacing, select Double and click OK). Every page of an MLA formatted research paper must contain a “running head” which consists of the student’s last name and the page number. To do this, go to View, Header and Footer. In the text box that appears, click on the “right align” button (if the button is difficult to find, click on Format, Paragraph, and under Alignment, select “right” and click ok). This should place the cursor at the right side of the header text box. Type last name and hit the space bar. Last Name 2 Then click on the button that looks like a little sheet of paper with a # in the middle of it – this will place the correct page number at the top of every page. Then click Close. Cover pages are optional in MLA format because all of the necessary information is contained on the first page in the heading. Type the heading as it appears at the top of this page, including full name, teacher’s name, the title of the class, and the date. Notice that MLA format requires the date to be inverted. This heading ONLY appears on the first page. Every paper needs a good title. Be creative. Notice that the title does not have additional line spaces on top or below it, and the font stays 12 pt. Times New Roman. The title is also NOT underlined or italicized. To begin typing the body of the paper, hit the Tab key to indent the first paragraph (it should automatically indent ½”) and begin typing. Do not skip extra lines between paragraphs. The first paragraph should include a creative introduction that is designed to capture the reader’s attention and provide a “road map” to the rest of the paper. Notice that the first paragraph of this paper begins with a rhetorical question, includes clues as to the content of the paper, and concludes with a thesis statement that provides the organizational structure for the paper. Also, be aware that first person must be avoided in a formal research paper. Although it is generally acceptable to use the word “you” in the introduction as a part of the attention-grabber, this word must not be used in the body of the paper. (Other first person words to avoid include I, we, our, us, me, etc.) Formal research papers are just that: formal and researched. Avoid the use of slang and do not include personal opinions, biased statements or personal experiences. It is also important to avoid plagiarism. Paraphrase all researched information by reading the material first, then summarizing it in your own words. Be sure to give credit to all sources by citing them at least Last Name 3 once per paragraph or every time a new source is used. A citation should include the author’s last name and page number (if known). For example, information from page 75 of a book by John Allen would look like this (Allen 75). A magazine or journal article would be cited the same way; always look first for the author’s last name and page number. If the author of an article is unknown, abbreviate the title of the article (“Six” 34). Also notice that the period at the end of the sentence goes OUTSIDE of the parentheses. Consult the Write for College book or MLA guide for more specific instructions. All sources that are cited within the paper MUST be included on the Works Cited page, and there should be no sources listed on the Works Cited page that are not cited within the paper (which explains the title “WORKS CITED” – it is only for sources that are cited!) Make sure these two things match. The Works Cited page at the end of this “how-to” paper demonstrates the way to cite different types of sources according to MLA format. A very useful website for formatting sources can be found at <www.landmark-project.com> under the title “Citation Machine” (or go straight to www.citationmachine.net). This site will prompt for the author, title, page number, publishing information, etc. and will automatically format each source according to MLA requirements. Write for College and the MLA guide are also helpful sources for specific instructions regarding the Works Cited page. Hopefully, the experience of writing this formal research paper will be a benefit to all students, whether they are college bound or not. Even in the workforce, many jobs will require research of some sort, and all careers require knowledge of the subject and the ability to communicate. Last Name 4 Works Cited Adams, Paul. "Furious Arafat Is Freed." Globe and Mail [Toronto] 2 May 2002: A1+. "Beginner Tip: Presenting Your Page with Style." Webmaster Tips Newsletter. 13 Oct. 2002 <http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol3/beginner_no7.htm>. Collins, Ronald K.L., and David M. Skover. The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and Rise of an American Icon. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2002. Continelli, Louise. "A Place for Owls to Heal." Buffalo News 12 Jan. 2003: C2. "Ho Chi Minh." Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2003. Britannica.com. 15 May 2003 <http://www.britannica.com>. Law and Order. Prod. Wolf Film in assoc. with Universal Television. NBC Television Network. WHEC, Rochester, NY. 13 Mar. 2003. Longin, Helmut. President. Industry Union of Austria. Telephone interview. 15 May 2003. Microsoft PowerPoint Version 2002 Step by Step. CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 2001. Mitchell, Joni. Both Sides Now. CD. Reprise Records, Time Warner. Dist. Warner Music Canada, Scarborough, ON, 2000. "Mug." Def. 2. The New Lexicon Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. Canadian ed. 1988. NASONEX Nasal Spray, Schering. Advertisement. Newsweek. 9 Sept. 2002: 9. PicoSearch. "Your PicoSearch Account is Reindexed." E- mail to I. Lee. 15 May 2003. Pulda, Arnold. "Handling Hate Sites." Classroom Connect Newsletter May 2003: 18-19. Schubach, Erik. "Bugs Bunny." Cartoon. Cartoon World! 1998. 12 Oct. 2001 <http://www.cet.com/~rascal/graphics/bugsbun.gif>.
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