MLA (Modern Language Association) format
The MLA (Modern Language Association) format is a widely accepted style for writing and formatting research papers, particularly in the humanities and liberal arts. Some key elements of MLA format include:
- Use of 12-point, Times New Roman font
- Double-spaced text with 1-inch margins
- In-text citations that include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source
- A Works Cited page at the end of the paper that lists all sources used in alphabetical order by the author’s last name
When citing sources in MLA format, it is important to provide as much information as possible, including the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication date and publisher, and the page numbers of the specific passage you are referencing. For example, a book citation would include the author’s last name and first name, the title of the book, the publication city, publisher, and publication date, and page number(s) of the passage you are referencing.
It is important to note that MLA format and citation style is constantly evolving, so it is always best to consult the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (8th edition is the current edition) or consult with your instructor or librarian for guidance.
In addition to the elements mentioned above, MLA format also has specific guidelines for formatting the overall structure of a research paper. The general structure of an MLA-formatted research paper includes the following sections:
- Title page: A title page is not required in MLA format, but if your instructor requests one, it should include your name, the instructor’s name, the course, and the date.
- Headings: MLA format does not require specific headings for sections of the paper, but it is a good idea to use headings to organize your paper and make it easy for readers to follow.
- Introduction: The introduction should provide background information on the topic, a thesis statement, and the purpose of the paper.
- Body: The body of the paper should present the research and support the thesis statement. It should include in-text citations, summaries, and paraphrases of sources.
- Conclusion: The conclusion should summarize the main points of the paper and restate the thesis. It should also provide any further research recommendations or implications of the findings.
- Works Cited: The Works Cited page should list all sources cited in the paper in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. It should include all the information necessary for readers to locate the sources themselves.
Another important aspect of MLA format is the use of in-text citations and Works Cited page. MLA uses parenthetical citations in the text to acknowledge sources. The parenthetical citations should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) where the information was found. For example, (Smith 23) or (Smith, 23). At the end of the paper, a list of works cited should be included, which lists all the sources cited in the paper in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
It is important to follow these guidelines and format your paper correctly. Incorrect format or citation can lead to plagiarism, which is a serious academic offense. Make sure to consult the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or consult with your instructor for any specific guidelines for your paper.