A Brief Guide To Writing A Research Paper In The MLA Format

There are many different factors involved in writing in the MLA format. The writing format is great for research papers as it enables you to efficiently reference sources and by doing this, you show that you are not plagiarising.


Citations are probably the most important part of your paper as they show that you have not plagiarised, meaning you will not lose marks or get into any trouble. When writing in the MLA format, you must follow some citation rules –

  1. Include a page where you will put all of your cited works. This will show your readers exactly where you have found the information you’ve included in your paper and it will enable them to also find the information and data themselves.
  2. List all of your citations in alphabetical order – use the last name of the authors’ to sort them.
  3. You should format this page using a header and it should follow the format of the rest of the paper by being double-spaced.

Basic Points

  • Spacing – You should use double-spacing in your paper and should always put just one space after punctuation marks unless otherwise stated.
  • Indenting – When it comes to the body of your text, you should indent the very start of every paragraph you write. You can use the tab button on your keyboard to get the same indentation every time.
  • Font – Your font should be size 12 across the entire paper, and you should use a font that is legible and is not decorative. To differentiate, you can vary between italics and regular when you need to.
  • Pages – You should always have page numbers on your paper, you should do this by placing a header on the top right-hand side corner of each page, however, you should ask your tutor for clear instructions on this as people have different preferences.
  • Endnotes – You should also have a page for endnotes, and have this after your citations page. You can give this a simple title of ‘Notes’ and should centre it.
Often people get overwhelmed when asked to write an MLA formatted research paper, but once you know the basics of it, it is easy to get the hang of. If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be well on your way to success. However, if you need further help you can find it on various sites online or you can request it from us.