How to Write an MLA Format Research Essay – Step by Step Guide

How to MLA Research Essay

Sometimes, writing an essay in MLA format can be challenging if you are not conversant with its format and how to write it. In this article, you will get a step-by-step guide on how to compose your paper in MLA style. Let’s dive in!

What is MLA Format?

MLA (Modern Language Association) is an institution that is in charge of developing a formatting style for researchers and scholars pursuing literature and linguistics. Note that currently, this style has been adopted by researchers in other fields, such as humanities. With this formatting method, scholars can craft uniform and consistent papers for easy reading.

How to Organize MLA Format Paper

The following is an overview of how an MLA paper is formatted.

  • Margins

An MLA paper should have a margin of one inch on all its sides except when an article has a running head.

  • Formatting of text

It is advisable to use Times New Roman font size 12 because it is regarded as one of the correct methods of writing. Avoid justifying the text at the right margin. Ensure that all the sections of the article, such as quotations and work cited, are double-spaced. It is vital to note that the first lines of paragraphs and blocks of quotes are indented half an inch from the left margin.

MLA Style Research Paper
MLA Style Research Paper
  • MLA format heading and title

The heading includes your name, your professor’s name, the course code, and the date. The details mentioned above should be placed one inch from the top of the first page and in line with the left margin. Also, note that the title of the paper is not italicized, bolded, or put in quotation marks.

  • Running head

Page numbers should appear in the right-hand corner, half an inch from the top and in line with the right margin. Make sure your last name is typed, followed by a space before you write the page number. Note that you are not supposed to add any punctuation before the page number.

The running head, your last name, and page number will appear automatically on all pages. It is vital to note that some instructors don’t allow running head on the first page and, therefore, stick to any guidelines given.

  • List of works cited

The list of works cited is supposed to be placed at the end of the paper but on a new and separate page. Like the body text, note that the reference list also contains a running head. The title “work cited” should be centered an inch from the top of the page.

If an entry in the work cited has more than one line, indent the subsequent lines half an inch from the left margin. Ensure that the list is double-spaced.

  • Tables

All tables and illustrations should appear close to the text they relate to. Label the table with the word ‘Table’ and type an Arabic numeral after it. Ensure that both label and title is typed flush left above the table and in separate lines, as shown below.

Table 1

Table Banking Savings Mobilization

Statements Mean  Std. Deviation
Table banking has allowed me to open a savings account.3.97.655
Table banking supports savings mobilization4.04.645
Table banking has allowed me to save some money4.24.549
The table banking Interest rates are much  reasonable4.48.629
The MSEs adopt savings mobilization.4.37.636
Savings mobilization has resulted in a prosperous long-term relationship with MSEs.4.38.575
Table banking has helped me to access loans as a result of the savings.4.38.689
Table banking has enabled us to reinforce the culture of savings.4.24.664
The savings have allowed  me to pool funds and reinvest in the business4.20.679
Reinvestment of table banking savings has led to the expansion of my business.4.31.670
  • Illustrations

Moreover, if you are using an illustration/figure, label it ‘Figure’ and assign it an Arabic numeral. Note that the label and the title should appear below the chart and with a one-inch margin. If the information regarding the source is not cited in the text, don’t include its details in the work cited. The figure below shows how you should label an illustration.

MLA Research Paper Format

How to Put an Essay into MLA Format

Writing a research paper in MLA format requires that you adhere to the following conditions.

  • Line spacing

All text in an MLA essay must be double-spaced. The double spacing rule extends to the list of ‘work cited.’

  • Sentence spacing

Before you go to the next sentence, create a single space after a period. For instance, “Dennis sleeps early.” He is always the first person to wake up.”

  • Use of italics

It is vital to note that in MLA, the titles of books and other works are italicized but not underlined. Also, note that italics are also used for words or phrases you want to emphasize.

  • The first page

Just like the rest of the paper, the text appearing on the first page ought to be double-spaced. Most importantly, ensure that you left justify the following at the top of the first page: your first and last name, your professor’s name, the name of the class, and the date.

MLA Paragraph Spacing

All text in an MLA paragraph ought to be double-spaced and written in Times New Romans font size 12. The first line of each paragraph should be indented half an inch from the left margin.

Final Thoughts on Writing MLA Format Research Essay

If you want to write an excellent MLA paper, you must observe the following. First, avoid justifying the lines at the right margins and ensure that the whole paper is double-spaced. Second, let the margin be one inch on all sides of the paper. Third, ensure that the font for all text is in Times New Roman size 12. Finally, the list of works cited should be placed separately on a separate page at the end of the paper.

You may also consider reading our helpful guidelines listed below.

Bonus point:

MLA Format Research Paper Checklist

MLA Research Paper Format