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How to Format a Research Paper

We will discuss using the APA style, the formatting and documentation, the MLA style, American Psychological Association, and the Modern Language Association. There exist major formatting styles that get used that include:

  • APA (American Psychological Association). It gets mainly used in education, social sciences, and psychology.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association). It gets used mainly in humanities, English, arts, and Literature.
  • Chicago. It gets commonly used in magazines, books, and newspapers.
  • AMA (American Medical Association). It gets used in biological sciences, health, and medicine.
  • Turabian. It gets used across all disciplines and subjects.

We will put our focus on APA and MLA.

If you find it challenging to keep up with the documentation rules, you are one in a million. It is an intellectual challenge to write and complete a research paper. However, if you follow the set guidelines of proper formatting, you will have immense advantages over so many people. It gives importance to your article, and it will get seriously received by readers that you target. It will also show that you give respect to other people's work by giving them credit.

Formatting Guidelines

You will get to know the guidelines for using formatting and citation as developed by the APA style. The major components include;

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • The body section
  • Reference page

The above components must be under one document and not in separate ones.

Title Page

The title page of your paper will enclose the following information:

  • Paper's title
  • Author’s name
  • The institution's representation of the author
  • Header at the page's top, surrounding the title of the paper and the page number.

Make sure you list the first three components as they appear from the top of the page. Utilize the headers and footers to add the header, place the title text on the left, and put the page number to the right upper corner.

Abstract

The abstract of your paper appears on the next page of your paper, which summarizes your findings. You do not have to provide an abstract in all of your documents. A crisp abstract has about 150 words and must get written in an impersonal and objective style.

Margins, Headings, and Pagination

Use the following guidelines to help you format;

  1. Make sure the side, top, and bottom margins of your paper are precisely 1 inch.
  2. Utilize double-spacing in the whole paper
  3. Make use of a standardized font like the Times New Roman in a size that is legible, e.g., 12 point.
  4. Utilize a continuous page numbering across the whole paper from the title page right to the reference page.

Headings

The formatting style of APA organizes information using headings to make it easier for the reader to follow through with your work. Here are some of the headline styles used in the APA formatting style, from the best to the least.

  1. Headings for sections apply the centered and boldface type. The headings get titled case, and vital words get capitalized.
  2. Subsections get left-aligned with a boldface type, and the headings are titled.
  3. The next level utilizes the left-aligned, boldface type with an indent. The first word gets capitalized, and the headings end in periods.
  4. The next level copies the previous one, but the headings get italicized and boldfaced.

Guidelines of the in-text citation

Whenever you decide to paraphrase or quote material from any source of your research, make sure you include a citation throughout. It gives credit to the author. It must bear the name of the author and the year of publication. When you directly quote a source, you should include the page number where the quote appears in the citation.

Reference List

The small and brief citations mirror the more detailed quotations provided at the paper's end that appear in the reference section. They bear the author's name, publication date, and, if necessary, the page number.

Here is a list of what you should include in the section;

  • The author's name or the institution responsible
  • The publication year
  • The title of the source
  • If it is a book, mention the city of publication.
  • If the source is an essay or article, note the text where the article or essay appears
  • For journals, magazines, ensure you have the volume number, pages, issue number where it appears
  • If you outsourced from the web, state the URL where the link gets located.
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