Research papers in MLA style: a Must-Know-How
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You have to identify all the sources you have quoted from in your research paper, that is why you need a style of documentation. Styles of documentation are established by professional societies and journals to regularize the citing of sources in each field. MLA style is recommended by the Modern Language Association for research papers on humanistic subjects. MLA style presupposes internal (parenthetical) citation. Citing with parentheses includes two steps: citing each source in parentheses as you use it in the very text, and making a list of Works Cited at the end of your paper.
How to cite (to see the full range of possibilities consult the MLA handbook itself):
- a book. A citation in the text includes the author’s last name and the page number(s) without comma between them. In case you use the author’s name in a sentence, do not put that name in parentheses. Place your references as close to the information you are identifying as possible.
- an article. Write the underlined title of the periodical and the page(s) without comma between them.
How to list:
- a book. There are three main divisions in the entry, separated by periods: the author’s last name, comma, first name; the underlined (or in italics) title; the publishing data (city of publication, colon, name of publisher, comma, year of publication).
- an article. Write the author’s last name, comma, first name; put the title of the article in quotation marks and underline or italicize the title of the periodical; its date, colon, page.
Works Cited is an alphabetical list of all the sources used. This list is done on a separate page. Do not number your sources and do not separate books from periodicals. The first line of each entry starts at the left margin. Within each entry all the other lines are indented five spaces. Within entries and between them you are to double-space.
MLA requirements of the final copy are:
- Font: Times New Roman 12 point or any other similar book font (e.g. Courier New);
- Standard page size of 8 1/2 x 11 inches;
- Double spaced text with no extra spaces in between paragraphs;
- New paragraphs should begin with a tab space (5 spaces);
- Margins: 1 inch on all sides;
- Text Alignment: Left (Title = Center);
- Print style: Only single sided print;
- Italicizing should not be used, underlining is preferred instead;
- Header on every page with last name of the writer and page number separated by 1 space and flushed right;
- No hyperlinks have to be marked. The web page which is mentioned must not have links, i.e. it must not be underlined, blue colored or hyperlinked;
- In case your instructor requires a title page, include essay title, your name,
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