Staring at the blank page on your screen? Don’t know how to start your challenging research paper? Well, when it comes to research papers all we think of is data, big numbers, graphs, online journals, and loads of links. It’s not about just including the information you find on the internet but including your views by sharing your findings and support it with enough evidence.
The journey is not easy…☹
The first time I came across writing a research paper it seemed like a nightmare, I remember the time when I had to get started I was extremely confused. My professor instructed me to follow “MLA Style” for my first research and all I was left with were questions. In particular, what is this MLA?
The first experience of writing a research paper for you must be a daunting task because of unawareness of the formats and what parts to cover. Some of you might be new to this and some of you need to know about the styles guide. Don’t worry in this blog you are going to learn A to Z of a research.
What are we waiting for…? Let’s go ☺
What a Research Paper Is?
Before learning about the parts and formats. Let’s learn what is a research paper?
“A research paper is a form of academic writing where authors answer questions using various sources.”
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In a research paper, you analyze the topic, gather information from secondary sources, and write your paper in a specified format. They are long, detailed, and designed to assess your research writing skills. You will gather lots of information online but it’s all based on your contribution to the topic.
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So now you know what it is let’s jump on to the next part
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Structure of the Research Paper:
You should now focus on the structure. The research paper is organized into the following components.
1. The Title:
The title should specify the theme of the research. Use specific keywords that will help the reader to know what your research paper is all about. Find relevant keywords that compliment your study so it’s easier to locate your paper.
2. The Abstract:
In this section, the audience gets an overview of your research paper. Here you have to introduce your topic and thesis and a statement about what you have found during your research. The abstract helps the reader in deciding whether the paper is relevant for them.
3. The Introduction:
Your introduction should attract the readers to your research paper and explain the topic in-depth. Explain main and useful information, also why it is important. You need to add a thesis statement too.
4. Thesis statement:
Here you should state your main idea (It might be your interest or you need to argue and prove something) and support it with evidence. Thesis statement helps describe what position your paper will take.
5. Literature Review:
The most detailed part of the research paper is where you are going to share previous research and how it is related to your thesis. You should include the previous research done by the researchers and the new things that are being introduced. Try to add information from credible sources.
Here you are going to explain how you performed the research. You mention details about the participants, the study design, the materials you used, and the procedure. You also mention the sample size of your population.
Share the results and findings, the data that you collected by performing the method. You should describe all the findings in this section of the research paper.
Tell the reader what you have learned from the research. Why the topic was important to address. Include new insights and understanding you read from the article or book. Describe the practical implication of your work.
Mention the list of the sources that are cited. Reference should follow a specific format. Reference includes the name of the author, title of the article, journal’s name, volume number, year of publication, and page numbers.
Now, It’s time for you to format your paper. Yes, there are several styles through which you can make your research paper look good such as citations, font, page layout, headings, reference page, etc.
I recommend you to follow MLA style as in my opinion it’s easy. So here we go,
MLA Style Format:
MLA stands for Modern language association which is an organization that introduces the MLA format. This style helps researchers, students, and scholars to format their assignments and papers.
The 8th edition of the modern language association handbook provides the instructions on the MLA style citation and the guidelines for submitting the work.
The MLA style paper format includes:
- 8.5×11 white paper
- Page numbers
- 1-inch margins
- Font should be readable
- Double spacing
- New paragraphs
- One space between sentences
These are the basics of the MLA style. Moving on towards the different formatting parts.
MLA Style Cover Page:
The MLA style paper format doesn’t have a cover page but if you need one as your teacher said so, you should know how the MLA cover page looks like
- Institute’s name
- Title of the research paper
- Subtitle (if there is one)
- Your name
- Course Id and name (If required)
- Professor name
- Date of submission
Institute name should be on top, title in the middle, remaining things at the bottom of the cover page.
MLA Style Paper headings:
MLA heading and title include your name, instructor’s name, course name, and id, and date to the left side. The title should be in the center before the body of your research paper. Each paper should include a running header with your name and the page number.
MLA Style Text and Body:
According to MLA the font, spacing, numbers, formatting should be done properly.
MLA Size Font:
In MLA-style paper, the font should be readable. Make sure your teacher doesn’t need magnifying glasses to check your work. MLA style recommends a font size that is easy to read, it is recceomended to use Arial font or times new roman. The standard font size of your font should be 12.
MLA style Spacing and formatting:
When it comes to adding spacing you should stick with double spacing in your research paper. The text should be left-justified. To make your paper look neat follow the punctuations properly.
MLA Style Paper Numbering
When to use Arabic and Roman numerals, when to spell out numbers, and when to just use the Arabic version. If you can spell a number in very few words, You can use it but If you require a whole statement, though, Arabic numbers such as 2,445,268 are preferable because writing such numbers in words can be time consuming.
Tables in MLA Style:
When it comes to tables, stick to MLA style requirements.
Remember to follow these formatting guidelines.
- Use label called table followed by the Arabic numeral
- Include the main title
- Use the lines to divide the text
- Give the source of the table.
5.MLA Style Citation:
The guidelines to how to cite sources in MLA style paper.
- Title of source.
- Title of container,
- Other contributors,
- Publication date,
This is how you do MLA style citations.
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You can set up your work with ease now that you have MLA paper formatting information. Now it’s time to write!
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