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The Ultimate Guide To Formatting A Research Paper

As you proceed through your high school or college curriculum, you will write at least a couple of research papers. It is a regular task but still, you may experience a lasting mental block when asked to complete this assignment. A research paper requires conducting an experiment that may become a challenge for you. It also must be completed according to certain format guidelines, usually APA or MLA. To some students, following these instructions is often tougher than conducting the research. 

While you are searching for the best website to buy research paper online to save you from this pain, we suggest you to complete it yourself. In this guide, we will cover the most problematic points that concern formatting your research paper. Now, completing this assignment according to the required style will become easier than you think.

What is the general structure of a research paper?

Before we speak about bringing your writing to a certain format, it is important to know what components this assignment must include. Your research paper starts with a title, which contains the name of the course and the topic of this assignment, as well as your name and the name of your teacher. The title is followed by an abstract—a brief outline of your topic. A table of contents comes right after that and guides the reader through your research project. Then, you have several body paragraphs, usually starting with the introduction and ending with conclusions. Every section has its heading, which is also included in the table of contents. 

When you are done with the main part of your research paper and have made conclusions, it is time to add the list of references. It is also called a bibliography and includes the names of books and journals cited in your paper. After references, you should include appendices to your project if there are any. In the end, also place footnotes, tables, and figures if necessary. So, this is a brief outline of what an average research paper looks like. Still, you may have a slightly different structure depending on the complexity of your paper. 

Secrets of good formatting

In this section, we will give you general recommendations on how to format your research paper according to APA or MLA styles. Before you start working on your project, ask your teacher whether there are any specific format requirements to take into account. Whatever your topic is, the following points will help you write a neat and clear research paper. 

Paper, margins, and page numbers

We will start with the simplest things. As you use a standard size paper (8.5 x 11″), leave 1’’ margins on each side. The number of a page is placed half an inch from the top of the page and flush with the right margin. Often, you should type your last name separated by a comma from the page number.

Text formatting 

Simplicity is your key to success in formatting this research paper. Choose an easily readable font, like Times New Roman, for your text. For figures, it is better to use Arial. Set double-spacing throughout your writing. Align your text on the left, leaving the right margin uneven. The first line of each paragraph comes half an inch from the left margin. Leave one space after a period if your instructor does not require two. 

Heading and title page

In most cases, a title for a research paper does not require a separate page. To make a title, put your name, the name of your teacher, the name of course, and the date on separate lines in the upper left corner. The heading is written right below the title in the middle using regular capitalization rules. However, if your writing is extensive or if it is a group project, your teacher may require a separate page for a title. In such a case, format it according to your teacher’s instructions. 

Tables and illustrations

To illustrate your research paper, you need to provide charts, tables, or pictures. Place them as close as possible to the text they refer to. Mind that photos, graphs, charts, and diagrams all should be named as Figure, e. g. Fig 1.

List of cited sources

This is the part of the research paper most students dread. Nevertheless, it is not as complex as it may seem. Start a new page with the same running head and uninterrupted page numeration on it. The title, Works Cited, comes an inch from the top. There is a double space between the title and the first entry. If an entry takes up more than one line, make a half-an-inch indent from the left margin. Use double-spacing within and between entries. 

Binding printed pages

This part is perhaps the easiest. A simple paper clip or staple will do for most teachers. Follow your instructor’s requirements about this, if there are any. 

Writing a decent research paper is easy

Many tasks may look terrifying before you take them on. The same can happen while you write your research paper. If your teacher has no specific requirements for the format, it is quite easy to compose your research paper according to APA or MLA recommendations. After all, your experiment matters in the first place, and only then comes formatting. We hope our advice helped you to make your assignment look good. With a little practice, you can improve your writing with every paper.

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