What Does An MLA Format Research Paper Look Like: A Brief Tutorial

When the supervisor asks you to write your research paper in MLA format, he is asking for very specific features. Your ability to stick to these rules will determine your overall grade. It is therefore important to understand the rules and follow them throughout your paper.

Document Settings

Documents settings include the size of the margin, spacing for the entire document and the font size. Ensure that the margin of the entire paper is one inch. All the work on your document should be double spaced. This includes sections that are quoted. You are required to use 12 points font size throughout the document. Ensure that all your settings are consistent from one chapter to the other.

Page Header

MLA format requires all page headers to be uniform. The details to be captured on each page header include the name of the research paper and the page number. All the principle words of the title should be capitalized. These details should be formatted to appear on the upper right of every page. You should use a similar font size on all headers.

Title Block

The block should contain an informative title and details about the research paper. The paper does not require a title page. Details that go into the title page, including your name, that of your teacher and details about the assignment, should be placed on the upper left corner of the first page. The title runs through the entire document at the header section.

Figures and Tables

Special attention should be paid to the figures and tables when using the MLA format for research papers. Ensure that each figure or table has a title. They also must be assigned corresponding numbers either numerically or alphabetically. A combination of the two formats may be used depending on the structure of your paper. Orderly numbering makes it easy to trace figures by referring to the content page.


The bibliography of a research paper in MLA format has special features. Cited works should be sorted alphabetically using the name of the author. You should not place a comma between the name of the author and the page number. Any periods and commas are placed outside the in-lines of the quotes.

It is possible to set your word processing software to automatically generate MLA format for your research paper. If you think this will be challenging, you can always do it manually. Ensure that you maintain a consistent MLA format throughout the paper.