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Research Paper Formatting Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

There are two popular styles of writing, MLA and APA. This guide will focus on these two major writing styles. It is highly likely that you will be required to write your paper in either of these two styles.


Popularly known as Modern Language Association, this style is commonly used in writing papers and citing sources within humanities and liberal arts. Generally, this style specifies the guidelines on how to use English language in your writing, and the formatting of manuscripts. It also provides the writers with system in which they can reference the sources of their work through parenthetical citations in the Work Cited pages and essays.

The writers who use MLA properly also enhance their credibility by demonstration of accountability to the source of their materials. Of most importance, use of this style can protect the writers from plagiarism accusations, which refers to the accidental or intentional use of sources.

Format of the paper

  • Type the paper on computer then print it on the standard A4 size, 8.5 by 11 inch paper.
  • Double space the text of the paper and use legible font such as the Times New Roman. However, you can choose any other legible font, but ensure that the italics and regular styles of typing are clearly contacts to each other in the texts and can be seen clearly. The recommended font size is 12pt.
  • Leave space only after punctuation marks, including periods unless otherwise instructed.
  • Margins of the document should be one inch, all the sides.
  • Indent first line of each paragraph, 1 inch from left margin.
  • Create header which numbers pages consecutively. Page numbers should be placed on upper-right had corner, 1½ inch from top.

This is just a simple guideline on how to write paper in MLA style. You can get more details about thesis writing style from the internet, also by reading the MLA referencing books in your library.


The APA style is most popularly used for citing sources in social science subjects. There are many rules and guidelines that should be followed in writing this paper but the following are the general guidelines.

Essay should be typed by using the standard computer, and should be double spaced on the standard size paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches) with 1-inch margin on all the sides. Ensure that you use clear font which can be read easily. APA recommends the use of Times New Roman font, size 12 pt.

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