A Basic Guide To Successful MLA Research Paper Writing


MLA style papers are one of the most common writing styles there are. It is really important to be familiar with the MLA guidelines before you begin writing an MLA style research paper.


Whether you have written one before and need to brush up on what the requirements are or if you are learning the format for the first time, we have you covered. The following tips will help you create a high-quality MLA style paper that you will be proud to turn in.


Examples & Samples

One of the easiest ways to make sure you are writing your paper in the right format is to look up examples and samples of similarly formatted papers. There are many sites online that provide these, so it is easy to find. Simply follow the specifications exactly and make your paper look just like the samples.


You can often copy the outline or download one to work from so it saves you time and energy trying to make one yourself.


General Format Basics

MLA formatting is meant to give a basic structure to papers as well as provide a format that makes it easier to cite sources and in turn cut down on plagiarism. Some of the basic requirements for MLA style research paper formats include the following:


  • 8.5 x 11-inch standard paper
  • Double spaced times new roman text in 12 pt. font
  • Only one space should be left after periods
  • 1-inch margins all around
  • Indent every first line of each paragraph – 5 spaces or length of tab key
  • Header with page numbers in the top right corner
  • End notes should be on a separate page before the works cited

First Page and Citations

There are more specific and in-depth specifications to follow when formatting the first page and the citations page of your paper. They are detailed on order and layout so make sure to look up the exact specifications and follow them closely. Some teachers will give you a template or guide book to go off of but if not, don’t worry, there are plenty of resources available online that will help.


Ultimately, MLA style research papers will be something that you will probably have to write a lot whether you are in grade school or college or even graduate school. Get familiar and stay up to date on these guidelines and you will never lose the easy points when it comes to writing a paper. The last thing you want is to write an incredible paper and then get marked down for not following the format. Take the time to do it right!