How to format a research paper


Depending on the style guide you are using, the formatting of a research paper will change. APA, MLA, and Chicago include other formatting standards for things such as:

You can use pre-made Microsoft Word templates if you do not want to deal with the details during the writing process.

Following the formatting has a number of advantages:

Formatting an APA paper

The following are the key principles for formatting a paper in APA Style:

Title page

The following information appears on the title page of your paper:

In practice, your APA title page should look like this:

apa cover
Level Heading format
Centered, Boldface, Title Case Heading (The text starts a new paragraph.)
Flush Left, Boldface, Title Case Heading (The text starts a new paragraph.)
Flush Left, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading, (The text starts a new paragraph)
Indented, Boldface Title Case Heading Ending with a Period. (Paragraph text continues on the same line as the same paragraph.)
Indented, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading Ending with a Period. (Paragraph text continues on the same line as the same paragraph.)

In-text citations in APA papers

Reference page

Author-date in-text citations throughout the text, as well as a reference page at the conclusion, are required in APA Style citation. The reference page should be formatted as shown in the image below.

apa references

Formatting an MLA paper

The following are the significant guidelines for writing an MLA style paper:

MLA first page

A heading appears above your title on the first page of an MLA paper, with the following information:

mla first page

In-text citations in MLA papers

The author-page approach of in-text citation is used in MLA style.

Works cited page

Wherever you refer to a source in your work, you should use MLA in-text citations. At the conclusion of your paper, you’ll need to include a Works Cited page that lists all of the sources you used. It is formatted in the following manner.

mla works cited

Formatting a Chicago paper

The following are the key criteria for writing in Chicago style:

Title page

Class papers will either include a title page or the title will be on the first page of the paper, according to Chicago style. If your teacher or professor requires a title page, follow these guidelines:

chicago title page

Bibliography or reference list

There are two citation types available in Chicago: author-date citations with a reference list and a bibliography or footnote citations with a bibliography. Choose one of the two styles and stick with it.

Employs parenthetical citations in the text to refer to the source’s author’s last name and the year of publication, as the name implies.

chicago ref

Employs numbered footnotes throughout the text to refer the reader to a condensed reference at the bottom of the page.

A book reference that appears in the text as:

Would be found in the following format in the reference list:

Frequently Asked Questions

The format of your research paper can change based on the method specified in the instructions. Some examples of this standard are MLA, APA, or Chicago writing style.

In APA, use a standard font like Times New Roman 12 pt. or Arial 11 pt. Set the page margins to 1 inch. Double-space your lines. If you’re submitting for publication, be sure to include a running head on each page. Every new paragraph should be indented ½ inches.

In MLA, use a legible font, such as Times New Roman 12 pt. Set the page margins to 1 inch. Double-space your lines. Every new paragraph should be indented ½ inches. For headings, use title case capitalization.

Although research paper formats may vary depending on the writing style specified in the instructions, they all share some qualities. You need to make sure to use a legible font such as Times New Roman, use double-spacing, and make sure to indent every new paragraph. 

Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us at live chat.

Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.

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