When studying at higher levels of school and throughout college, you will likely be asked to prepare research papers. A research paper can be used for exploring and identifying scientific, technical and social issues. If it's your first time writing a research paper, it may seem daunting, but with good organization and focus of mind, you can make the process easier on yourself. Writing a research paper involves four main stages: choosing a topic, researching your topic, making an outline, and doing the actual writing. The paper won't write itself, but by planning and preparing well, the writing practically falls into place. Also, try to avoid plagiarism.
If you choose to indent your paragraphs as recommended in the MLA Handbook (132), begin a new paragraph by typing the first word 1/2″ ( cm or 5 spaces) from the left margin. The entire essay is typed double-spaced, except for Footnote citations at the foot of the page. Title of essay centered, 1” ( cm) margin on all four sides, page number at upper right hand corner 1/2″ ( cm) down from the top.
If your instructor prefers that paragraphs not be indented, you must still double-space your lines, but you will need to quadruple-space between paragraphs. More empty space is created for the instructor to write comments when paragraphs are not indented.
Footnotes must be listed numerically and consecutively, both in your essay and in your Footnote citation. Footnote numbers must be superscripted. In your text, add a superscripted number immediately after the quote or reference cited with no space.
The Footnote citations must be added at the foot or bottom of the SAME page where you have cited the sources. All first Footnote references must be cited in full. Subsequent references of the same work may be shortened to include only the author’s last name and page number. If the source cited has no author stated, use whatever minimal information is needed to identify the same work previously cited, . short title and page number. Formerly, the Latin terms ibid. and op. cit. were used but they are no longer preferred.
It is recommended that you use Endnotes in place of Footnotes. This will eliminate the need to allow sufficient space to accommodate all the required Footnote entries at the bottom of the same page where your citations occur. If your instructor has no preference, use the much simpler Parenthetical Documentation in place of Footnotes or Endnotes.
For details on how to handle Footnotes that continue onto the next page, please see MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 6th ed., pages 299-300.
Begin your Footnote citations four lines (quadruple space) below your text. Follow the spacing as shown in the example below, . indent the first line 1/2″ ( cm), and add a space after the superscripted number. Do not indent second and subsequent lines of Footnotes. Single-space Footnotes within each citation as there is not much room at the bottom of the page. Double-space entries between citations, and be sure to list them in the same consecutive order as cited in the text of the essay.