The Structure Of An MLA Research Paper: 8 Useful Tips

If you are tasked with writing an MLA research paper there are a few things you should bear in mind. Below you will find 8 useful tips for creating the structure of an MLA research paper:

  1. The MLA citation is one of the most commonly used citation methods particularly for the liberal arts and humanities fields.
  2. The MLA style comes from the Modern Language Association. There is a handbook for writers and for scholarly publishing, inside of which you can find examples for:
    • how to format each type of source you have in a research paper
    • how to cite each type of source you have in a research paper
    • how to write your in-text citations
    • how to write your endnotes and footnotes
    • how to create your works cited page
    • When you cite sources, you must use a parenthetical citation which involves placing the relevant pieces of information inside of parentheses. In almost all cases you will want to include the:
    • last name of the author
    • the page number you are citing
    • the date that the content was published
    • This changes based on the type of source you are citing and how many authors are listed on the source. It is for this reason and many others that it is recommended that you refer to the handbook published by the Modern Language Association to double check everything.
    • Overall though, your paper will include:
    • an introduction
    • body
    • conclusion
    • works cited page
    • The information you cite inside of your essay needs to match the way it appears in the works cited page which is your bibliography at the end of your research paper.
    • MLA format requires that you include:
    • your name
    • your course name
    • your teacher’s name or academic institution
    • the date
    • All of these things should be listed in the upper left hand side of the first page.
    • Each page must be numbered, with your last name right before the page numbers right flush on the right hand side. On the next line you place your title, centered in the page, followed by the beginning of your paper.

      All of your content should be:

    • double spaced
    • Times New Roman font
    • size 12
    • indented

    Again, each source you cite within your MLA paper needs to adhere to the MLA rules based on the type of source that it is and the number of authors on that source. That being said, it is important for you to refer to the MLA handbook to make sure that you properly format and cite each source that you are including inside of your essay and then to make sure it is done properly in the works cited page.