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Research Paper Format
The research paper format may be difficult to master. But you will risk not being taken seriously, if you try to avoid the main rules.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Outline Examples
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
Here are some important points about the format and other tips on writing a research paper (listed alphabetically).
An example of the research paper format
Most reports have at least one appendix section to allow you to include data, figures and calculations without breaking the flow of the main body of the report. Most scientists reading your report will not be too interested in the exact details, only the results .
The appendix , however, allows somebody interested in your results to check your research more thoroughly. Whilst it can be regarded as a 'dumping ground' for peripheral information and raw data, it should still be structured properly and referred to in the report.
Please make sure that you back up all your files on disk and as a hard copy. So many students over the years have lost days of hard work because they did not bother. If you are not sure how to then ask the computer department for help.
Drafts and Checking
Sometimes, when you think that you have finished your report, it is a good idea to ask another person to read through it for you and pick out the obvious mistakes.
They can give you input on your research paper format and it is also very easy to miss your own mistakes so an independent review is useful. After this process you can finalize your first draft of the report.
Grammar and Spelling
Even though you are writing scientific reports, it is essential to the research paper format that your grammar and spelling are correct and readable.
If your report is poorly written, people will tend to assume that your research is also poor and you are giving the assessor an easy excuse to give you a lower grade.
Spell-checkers are good for an initial check on your language use but they are not powerful enough to pick up every mistake. If you are not confident enough about your language skills to write a good report, "bribe" or pay somebody more skilled to edit it for you, when you've finished your paper.
Most students studying English or other languages are only too happy to have the chance to earn a little money on the side.
Graphs are one of the easiest ways to display your results and findings in an easy to understand format. Any graphs should take up a full page and be numbered as diagrams 1, 2 etc. They should be referred to by these descriptions in the body of the text.
Graphs are not essential to the research paper format, but helps you present your main points.
Where relevant, graphs should include any error bars so that anybody reading your report can quickly see the degrees of significance of your results. If you don't know what an error bar is, don't worry about this.
Graphs are best kept as simple as possible and, in the computer age, should be drawn with one of the many software programs available.
You should not lose credit for using traditional pen and paper, but most universities and schools will teach you how to utilize computer spreadsheet applications and the saving in time and effort is worthwhile.
Most scientists were taught, during the earlier years at school, that you should include a hypothesis statement at the beginning of every experiment . This would take the form of
"Bacteria reproduce more quickly at higher temperatures".
There is a debate about whether it is a good practice or not to include your hypothesis statement in the research paper format.
This is mostly because many people seems to be "skewed" against defending their hypothesis . Remember that because you want something to be true (your hypothesis), never do affect how true it is.
It is, however, essential to make sure in your abstract and introduction exactly what you are trying to prove.
Illustrations and Photographs
Illustrations such as flow diagrams and diagrams of apparatus set-up can be a powerful way of simplifying the methods you used in your experiment. If you have the means and ability, it is useful to draw these on a computer but no credit will be lost if paper and pencil is used, as long as it is neat and clear.
In the case of photographs, it is preferable to use a digital camera as scans and photocopies have less clarity. They should be compressed a little to save file space and printing ink but still clear. Along with graphs, illustrations and photographs should be numbered as ' figures '.
In the age of the internet, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that your research can be found, both on the internet and on university intranet search facilities.
Many scientists are moving towards putting a section under the abstract with about 10 - 15 keywords and phrases which will allow search engines to pick up the research paper .
At this time, this is a 'gray-area' of report writing so probably not worth worrying about too much. Check with your department if this is common practice for their papers.
A curiosity is that it was the scientific community in CERN, Switzerland/France, which invented keyword-search on network computers to easier spread their research to other scientists. That was actually the a great leap towards internet as we now know it.
Most departments, when starting the report writing process, will give you instructions on what is the common used research paper format. The style can vary a bit between different department (such as the style of references ), but it is mostly similar. If you're not sure about the research paper format, ask your supervisor.
A few general rules of thumb are that it should be written in a common font, size 10 or 12 and double spaced.
In the age of the internet, it is becoming bad practice to underline headings or other text as anybody reading your report online may expect there to be a link there.
In the case of field work, it is always a good idea to list the name and the exact map co-ordinates of the places from where samples were taken. This enables another researcher to duplicate your experiment exactly.
The date and time are also useful as nature often varies wildly even within the space of a few hours. With the advent of mapping applications such as Google Earth, it is no harm to include a map of the site or sites in the appendices.
There are an increasing number of campaigns to persuade scientists to use 'everyday English' in their reports.
At the moment, scientists writing reports tend to use the passive voice; "It was found that……" or "The results showed….." By contrast, the active voice takes the form of; "We found….." or "I discovered…."
If you were writing for a mainstream publication that was read by the general public then using the active voice may be useful.
However, the vast bulk of research papers are going to be read only by other scientists so it is best to stick to the passive voice. The passive voice is essential to the research paper format, and suggests to others that this is not your personal theories, it is scientifically based statements.
Update:The APA-standard does now allow for a more active voice. Read more here .
For higher level reports and dissertations you will have to give a presentation, either in front of fellow students or lecturers. They will be looking to find holes in your report or will try test your knowledge outside the report.
When writing your report, you must bear this in mind and make life easier for yourself. Make certain that your background research is thorough and that you have been very self-critical when discussing and elaborating your results .
Each scientific discipline and sometimes even each individual supervisor has their own way of setting out references so it is always good to ask for the correct research paper format. Relevant journals you have been reading are also a good guide.
As long as you are consistent and include all of the information that will allow somebody else to replicate your research then it should not matter.
In general, the best ways are;
SARGENT, J.R. (1995); Origins and functions of lipids in fish eggs: Nutritional implications. Found in; Broodstock management and egg and larval quality, Edited by Bromage, N.R. and Roberts, R.R, pp 353 - 372, Blackwell Science, Oxford, 1st Ed.
For journal articles;
NAVARRO, J.C. AMAT, F. SARGENT, J.R. (1991) A study of the variations in lipid levels, lipid class composition and fatty acid composition in the first stages of Artemia sp. Marine Biology, Issue 111, pp 461 - 465.
Most internet articles should include the date that they were written or last updated. Also include the author in the case of an online article.
SARGENT, J. R., (2007), personal communication
In the main body of the text you should refer to the article by the name of the author and year. If there was more than one writer then use all of their names the first time, then use 'et al' (Navarro et al, 1991) or 'Navarro et al (1991) found that…'
Set out your reference list alphabetically by first author and try to be consistent with layout .
It is more important for the research paper format that your references are clear than worrying about where every last full stop should go.
Research is the foundation of any scientific report and will allow you to learn the background information leading to your particular experiment.
You should include a synopsis of your research in the introduction of your report as it will provide a non-specialist with a quick history of the field.
When following the trail of citations it is very easy to lose track of where you are so it may be useful to draw yourself a 'tree' structure to keep track of all the linked articles.
The best place to start your research is on the internet as it will give you direct information. You should beware of using information from the internet that is not cited as there is no system of peer review and information can be very inaccurate.
Domain names can be a guide as .edu, .gov, .ac.uk or similar show that the information is from a reputable site. Wherever possible you should try and follow any citations to the original source.
Books and journals are the safest way to find information. They are usually peer reviewed and the information, as long as up to date, can be regarded as accurate.
Personal information is another way to obtain information. Although many scientists are busy people they are often willing to spend a little time providing you with information. As long as you do not have a class full of students pestering people for meetings, a quick e-mail or letter can often produce results.
For any research, citations should be laid out in an accurate manner, as described above.
It is essential that scientific/Latin names are used for describing all species, from elephants to bacteria. The reason for this is that common names vary wildly from country to country and even between regions within a country.
For the first use of any name it is good practice to use the full name e.g. Parus caeruleus. After this, a shortened form, P. caeruleus, is fine as long as it is clear to the reader if very similar scientific names are used during the course of the experiment.
If you are being exact, it is good practice to name the person or organization which first documented the species although, except for recently discovered species, this is not usually essential.
This is an often misunderstood word in the method of analyzing scientific results. In the case of statistical tests, statistical significance shows whether a result has been proved beyond doubt or whether it may be the result of experimental or sampling errors .
Trends and results can still be important even if not proved by statistical tests; proving the hypothesis to be incorrect is still significant to science.
Many scientists and students spend a large part of their careers trying to avoid statistical tests.
They are still an essential part of analyzing your results so must be used; if you are unsure, most high schools and universities have a few statistical wizards in place to guide you on which tests to use.
It is a good idea to talk to them before you design your experiment because they will tell how many samples need to be collected to prove significance.
Tables are an essential part of analyzing your data and allowing others to see your results. Where applicable, graphs are a clearer way of publishing your results, but where you have many small variations it may be preferable to use a table for clarity.
Tables should be numbered and referred to in the text by these numbers. Even if you use graphs in your results, it is often no harm to include tables in the appendix.
It is an unnecessary practice to include both graphs and tables showing the same information in the main body of your report.
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Martyn Shuttleworth (Mar 23, 2008). Research Paper Format. Retrieved May 29, 2023 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/research-paper-format
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- A Research Guide
- Research Paper Guide
Research Paper Format
Regardless of the nature of your research, if you are writing a paper an outline will help you to not only organize your thoughts but also serve as the template for your entire paper. An outline for a research paper is a visual reminder to include all of the pertinent details of your research into your essay or paper. It is essentially a skeletal version of the true paper and will guide you through the entire process.
How do you create an outline for your paper?
Initially, dividing your essay, research or other paper into various components (Introduction, Body, Conclusion, etc.) will help you to stay better organized and reduce the risk of important information being forgotten or unintentionally omitted. Furthermore, breaking the essay down into these parts will allow you to address specific parts individually and lessen the chances of feeling overwhelmed.
How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper
The structure of your outline will be similar regardless of whether you are writing a scientific paper or something more general. Interestingly, the structure of a research outline is nearly identical to that of a research paper template. In order to better acquaint yourself with the structure of an outline, check out sample research papers online. The USC Guide to Making an Outline will also help you.
The chief components to an outline are:
- The Introduction
- The Conclusion
Relatively straightforward, right? However, the part to remember is that each part serves a specific purpose and how you arrange information in your outline will drive how your paper reads upon completion.
The Introduction is one of the most important elements of any great research paper, and interestingly enough, often written LAST. This is because the purpose of the introduction is to grab the attention of the reader, this is done by presenting the reader with the topic, and using the thesis statement as an opportunity to ‘hook’ the attention of the reader.
The Body is the heartiest part of the essay, it includes many fact-rich paragraphs or subsections and will allow you to build upon your thesis statement by providing facts to support your argument. This section should not only elaborate on your opening statement, but also provide insight into the methods used to conduct your research and include investigative points or answers to questions pondered.
You will also want to consider using a literature overview. This is achieved by documenting the literary sources used to support your theories and hypothesis. The topic of your paper and the selected literature should be adjacent.
If you used any sort of data validation, this will typically follow the methodology and literature sections. This is where you will highlight your results and mention other variables that you’ve uncovered in your research. You might choose to use graphs or tables, but remember to explain these to your readers.
Lastly, you will write your Conclusion . The conclusion typically does not offer new information, but rather summarizes the main points addressed in the paper. It is mandatory to also reiterate the thesis statement and mention any future research.
In order to help you, we have made a review of the top research paper writing services :
How to Format a Research Paper
There are a number of sources you can turn to for research paper help and, depending on your field of study, they pick up a plethora of potential high quality topics to pull your subject matter from.
As you will learn from looking through any good research paper example, writing a great paper involves so much more than simply throwing a bunch of text and citations into a word processor and hoping for the best.
A passing grade means not only thoroughly researching your topic and ensuring that all of your sources are accurately cited, but also ensuring that your research essay is properly formatted. The following guideline will help you to create finished paper that not only reads like it was professionally written – but also looks like it!
Formatting A Research Paper
Use clean, good quality 8 1/2″ x 11″ white paper, one side only.
Leave margins of your essay 1″ (2.5 cm) at the top, bottom, left and right sides of each and every page. 1″ is about 10 typed spaces. Exception is made for page numbers which are placed 1/2″ (1.25 cm) from the top upper-right hand corner, flushed to the right margin.
3. Title Page
A title page is not essential for a research paper unless specifically requested by your teacher. The MLA Handbook provides a general guideline on writing a research paper and documenting sources. In case of conflict, you should always follow guidelines set down by your teacher.
If you don’t have a title page, you may begin 1″ from the top of the first page of your essay and start typing your name flushed against the left margin. Then under your name, on separate lines, double-spaced, and flushed against the left margin, type your teacher’s name, your course code, and the date.
If your teacher prefers the first page of your essay not be numbered, you will begin numbering with page 2.
Double-space after the date. On a new line, center the title of your essay. If you have a long title, double-space between lines of the title.
Example: Jones 1 Tracy Jones Ms. K. Smith NRW-3A1-01 16 January 2006 Gun Control: Pros and Cons Do not type your title all in capital letters. Do not put quotations marks before and after the title. Do not underline the title, or put a period at the end of the title. Proper names of people and places as well as important words should be capitalized in the title, but prepositions and conjunctions are normally shown in lower case letters, e.g. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets . The same rule applies to headings and subheadings as well.
Follow the same capitalization rules for acronyms as you normally would in writing a text of the essay, e.g. FBI would be all in capitals as it is the acronym for Federal Bureau of Investigations . When using an acronym, especially an uncommon one, you must indicate what the letters stand for at the first occurrence in your essay. Example: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is nearly finished converting from using standard desktop PCs to blade PCs .
If a Title Page is a requirement for your assignment, begin on a new page. Use a format preferred by your teacher. Otherwise, center each line and double-space every line on a blank page: name of school (optional), title of paper in upper and lower case, course code, course name (optional), teacher’s name, your first and last name, and date.
Your separate title page should appear as follows: Gun Control: Pros and Cons NRW-3A1-01 Ms. K. Smith Tracy Jones 16 January 2006
The following example shows what NOT to do for a title page: TITLE OF ESSAY: “GUN CONTROL: PROS AND CONS” COURSE CODE: “NRW-3A1-01” TO MY TEACHER: “MS. KATIE ELIZABETH SMITH” FROM YOUR STUDENT: “TRACY MARIA CHRISTINA CARMELA JONES” ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE: “MONDAY, JANUARY THE SIXTEENTH, IN THE YEAR 2006” It is not necessary to describe or explain the title page by adding the words: Title, Course Code, To, From, or Due Date. More is not better. Minimal information providing simple identification is adequate.
4. Numbering Pages and Paragraphs
Number your pages consecutively throughout the essay in the upper right hand corner, flush against the right margin and 1/2″ from the top. The MLA Handbook recommends that you type your last name just before the page number in case the pages get misplaced (134). On page 4 of your essay, for example, your top right-hand corner should show: Jones 4
Page numbers must be written in Arabic numerals. Do not add anything fancy to decorate a page number. Do not underline it, enclose it between hyphens, parentheses, asterisks, or precede it with “Page”, “Pg.”, “P.”, or add a period after the number. In other words, DO NOT use any of the following:
PAGE 4, Page 4 , Pg. 4, P 4, pg. 4, p. 4, #4, ~ 4 ~, – 4 -, * 4*, (4), “4”, 4 , or 4.
Simply write: 4
Remember, there is no period after the page number.
If you are submitting your essay to your teacher via e-mail, he or she may prefer that you number all your paragraphs consecutively with reference points by adding  at the beginning of your 1st paragraph,  before your 2nd paragraph, and so forth. Electronic submission of documents is becoming more common as e-mail is being used widely. This system will facilitate the citation of sources by identifying a specific paragraph for reference very quickly.
5. Spacing Between Lines
Whether your essay is handwritten, typed or printed, the entire essay should be double-spaced between lines along with 1″ margin on all sides for your teacher to write comments.
Spacing Between Words
In general, leave one space between words and one space after every comma, semi-colon, or colon. Traditionally, two spaces are required at the end of every sentence whether the sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark. Although it is not wrong to leave two spaces after a period, it is quite acceptable nowadays to leave only one space after each punctuation mark. However, NO space should be left in front of a punctuation mark; for example, the following would be incorrect: op. cit . or “Why me?”
For details on how to place tables, illustrations, figures, musical notations, labels, captions, etc. in your essay, please see the MLA Handbook (134-137).
If a handwritten essay is acceptable to your teacher, remember to double-space all lines, and begin each paragraph with an indentation of 1″ from the left margin. Use the width of your thumb as a rough guide.
If you are using a typewriter or a word processor on a computer, indent 5 spaces or 1/2″ at the beginning of each paragraph. Indent set-off quotations 10 spaces or 1″ from the left margin.
Your instructor may give you a choice to indent or not to indent your paragraphs. No matter whichever one you choose to use, you must be consistent throughout your essay.
If you are NOT indenting, you will start each paragraph flush to the left margin. It is essential that you double-space between lines and quadruple-space between paragraphs. When paragraphs are not indented, it is difficult for a reader to see where a new paragraph begins, hence quadruple-space is called for between paragraphs. Set-off quotations should still be indented 10 spaces or 1″ from the left margin.
7. Right Justify and Automatic Hyphens:
Do not right justify your entire essay and do not automatically format hyphens if you are using a word processor to type your essay. Left justify or justify your essay and type in the hyphens yourself where needed. Left justification is preferred as it will not leave big gaps between words.
8. Titles of Books, Magazines, Newspapers, or Journals
When used within the text of your paper, titles of all full-length works such as novels, plays, or books, should be underlined, e.g. Shakespeare’s Theater .
Put in quotation marks titles of shorter works, such as newspaper, journal, and magazine articles, chapters of books or essays, e.g.: “Giving Back to the Earth: Western Helps Make a Difference in India.”
For all title citations, every word, except articles (“ a “, “ an “, “ the “), prepositions (such as “ in “, “ on “, “ under “, “ over “), and conjunctions (such as “ and “, “ because “, “ but “, “ however “), should be capitalized, unless they occur at the beginning of the title or subtitle, e.g.: “And Now for Something Completely Different: A Hedgehog Hospital.”
Look it up in a dictionary whenever you are not sure whether a word is being used as a preposition, a conjunction, a noun, a verb, or an adverb. The word “ near “, for instance, may be an adverb, an adjective, a verb, or a preposition depending on the context in which it is used.
For complicated details on how to cite titles and quotations within titles, sacred texts, shortened titles, exceptions to the rule, etc. please consult the MLA Handbook (102-109).
9. Writing an Essay All in Capital Letters:
DO NOT WRITE OR TYPE EVERYTHING ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS EVEN THOUGH THIS SAVES YOU TIME AND EFFORT NOT TO HAVE TO USE THE SHIFT KEY REPEATEDLY OR TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHEN OR WHEN NOT TO USE CAPITAL LETTERS.SOME PEOPLE WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THEY HAD NEVER LEARNED TO WRITE SENTENCES IN UPPER AND LOWER-CASE LETTERS PROPERLY WHEN THEY WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.OTHER PEOPLE WRITE ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAKE WHAT THEY WRITE APPEAR IMPORTANT.READING A PAPER ALL WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS,ESPECIALLY ONE WITHOUT SPACES AFTER PUNCTUATION MARKS,SLOWS DOWN READING SPEED AND MAY EVEN REDUCE READER COMPREHENSION,BESIDES BEING EXTREMELY ANNOYING TO THE READER.REMEMBER THAT THE PURPOSE OF WRITING ANYTHING IS TO COMMUNICATE.MOST OF US ARE NOT CONDITIONED TO READ ALL TEXT IN CAPITAL LETTERS.WORD PROCESSORS ALSO TREAT WORDS STUCK TOGETHER WITHOUT SPACES AS SINGLE WORDS CAUSING OTHER PROBLEMS.
10. Table of Contents
A short essay or research paper requires no Table of Contents.
If your written report or research paper is extremely long, it may be helpful to include a Table of Contents showing the page number where each section begins.
For those writing a lengthy document, i.e. a book, here is the suggested order for placing items in a Table of Contents:
Acknowledgements, Foreword, Introduction, Body (Parts I, II, III), Summary or Conclusion, Afterword, Explanatory Notes, Appendices, Contact Organizations, Glossary, Endnotes (if not using Footnotes or Parenthetical citations), Bibliography, Index.
A less involved Table of Contents may simply include the following sections: Introduction, Body (use main section headings), Conclusion (or Summary), Works Cited (or References), along with the corresponding page number where each section begins.
Introduction ………………………………………………………………… 1 Government ………………………………………………………………… 3 Economy ……………………………………………………………………… 6 Arts and Entertainment ……………………………………………….. 10 Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….. 14 Works Cited ………………………………………………………………… 15
11. End of Essay
No special word, phrase or fancy symbol is needed to mark the end of your essay. A period at the end of your last sentence is all that is needed.
12. Keeping Essay Together
Sheets of paper should be stapled at the upper left-hand corner. Use a paper clip if no stapler is available. Do not use a pin or fold the paper. Unless specifically requested by your teacher, do not hand in your paper in a folder, a binder, a plastic jacket, rolled up with an elastic band around it, or tied with a ribbon or a string. Do not spray perfume or cologne on your paper or use scented paper. And NEVER hand in your research or term paper in loose sheets even if the sheets are numbered and neatly placed in an envelope or folder.
The condition of the paper you hand in is an indication of the respect you have for yourself and for your teacher. Before handing in your paper, ask yourself, “Is this the VERY BEST that I can do?”
Final Note on Your Essay
The topics used for each research paper are inherently different, and even identical topics will appear to be unique based on the viewpoints and educational level of the author. Regardless of your grade level or the topic you’ve been assigned, a research paper outline can help you turn in a great essay. It should include a bulleted list of subheadings and headings; be sure to mention as much detail as possible. Crossing out each section as you finish it will help you to stay thorough.
Here is a sample research paper outline .
- A quick overview or introduction of the topic or issue
- The methodology being used
- The thesis statement
- A full review of every source used and all of the corresponding literature
- A brief explanation of the relevance of the research
- Detailed and thorough information about the main points of the argument
- Use as many paragraphs as necessary. Each paragraph should represent a different point.
- Brief summary of all of the main points or facts mentioned in the body.
- Reiteration of the thesis statement
- Closing remark or thought.
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IJSRP Research Paper Format
Research papers must be drafted in double column standard paper format (.doc/.docx) . In case paper have technical equations and not possible to format in double column format, you can format in Single Column format. Download the IJSRP paper format (MS-Word) template and submit your research paper for review/final publishing.
In case it is not possible to send paper in word format, you can send research paper in PDF or LATEX format. Kindly mention in paper submission email that paper is in Latex format.
Download Research Paper Format Template:
To download the research paper format, right-click the above link and choose "Save Link As..." to save the sample document to your computer. Paper must be send in .doc/.docx or PDF/LATEX format only.
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Research paper format
Formatting a Research Paper
If your instructor has specific requirements for the format of your research paper, check them before preparing your final draft. When you submit your paper, be sure to keep a secure copy.
The most common formatting is presented in the sections below:
Heading and title, running head with page numbers, placement of the list of works cited, tables and illustrations, paper and printing, corrections and insertions on printouts, binding a printed paper, electronic submission.
Except for the running head (see below), leave margins of one inch at the top and bottom and on both sides of the text. If you plan to submit a printout on paper larger than 8½ by 11 inches, do not print the text in an area greater than 6½ by 9 inches.
Always choose an easily readable typeface (Times New Roman is just one example) in which the regular type style contrasts clearly with the italic, and set it to a standard size, such as 12 points. Do not justify the lines of text at the right margin; turn off any automatic hyphenation feature in your writing program. Double-space the entire research paper, including quotations, notes, and the list of works cited. Indent the first line of a paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Indent set-off quotations half an inch as well (for examples, see 76–80 in the MLA Handbook ). Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation mark, unless your instructor prefers two spaces.
Beginning one inch from the top of the first page and flush with the left margin, type your name, your instructor’s name (or instructors’ names, if there is more than one instructor), the course number, and the date on separate lines, double-spacing the lines. On a new, double-spaced line, center the title ( fig. 1 ). Do not italicize or underline your title, put it in quotation marks or boldface, or type it in all capital letters. Follow the rules for capitalization in the MLA Handbook (67–68), and italicize only the words that you would italicize in the text.
Local Television Coverage of International News Events The Attitude toward Violence in A Clockwork Orange The Use of the Words Fair and Foul in Shakespeare’s Macbeth Romanticism in England and the Scapigliatura in Italy
Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited ). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin.
A research paper does not normally need a title page, but if the paper is a group project, create a title page and list all the authors on it instead of in the header on page 1 of your essay. If your teacher requires a title page in lieu of or in addition to the header, format it according to the instructions you are given.
Number all pages consecutively throughout the research paper in the upper right-hand corner, half an inch from the top and flush with the right margin. Type your last name, followed by a space, before the page number ( fig. 2 ). Do not use the abbreviation p. before the page number or add a period, a hyphen, or any other mark or symbol. Your writing program will probably allow you to create a running head of this kind that appears automatically on every page. Some teachers prefer that no running head appear on the first page. Follow your teacher’s preference.
The list of works cited appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes. Begin the list on a new page. The list contains the same running head as the main text. The page numbering in the running head continues uninterrupted throughout. For example, if the text of your research paper (including any endnotes) ends on page 10, the works-cited list begins on page 11. Center the title, Works Cited , an inch from the top of the page ( fig. 3 ). (If the list contains only one entry, make the heading Work Cited .) Double-space between the title and the first entry. Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines half an inch from the left margin. This format is sometimes called hanging indention , and you can set your writing program to create it automatically for a group of paragraphs. Hanging indention makes alphabetical lists easier to use. Double-space the entire list. Continue it on as many pages as necessary.
Place tables and illustrations as close as possible to the parts of the text to which they relate. A table is usually labeled Table , given an arabic numeral, and titled. Type both label and title flush left on separate lines above the table, and capitalize them as titles (do not use all capital letters). Give the source of the table and any notes immediately below the table in a caption. To avoid confusion between notes to the text and notes to the table, designate notes to the table with lowercase letters rather than with numerals. Double-space throughout; use dividing lines as needed ( fig. 4 ).
Any other type of illustrative visual material—for example, a photograph, map, line drawing, graph, or chart—should be labeled Figure (usually abbreviated Fig. ), assigned an arabic numeral, and given a caption: “Fig. 1. Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child , Wichita Art Museum.” A label and caption ordinarily appear directly below the illustration and have the same one-inch margins as the text of the paper ( fig. 5 ). If the caption of a table or illustration provides complete information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, no entry for the source in the works-cited list is necessary.
Musical illustrations are labeled Example (usually abbreviated Ex. ), assigned an arabic numeral, and given a caption: “Ex. 1. Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, Symphony no. 6 in B, opus 74 ( Pathétique ), finale.” A label and caption ordinarily appear directly below the example and have the same one-inch margins as the text of the paper ( fig. 6 ).
If you print your paper, use only white, 8½-by-11-inch paper of good quality. If you lack 8½-by-11-inch paper, choose the closest size available. Use a high-quality printer. Some instructors prefer papers printed on a single side because they’re easier to read, but others allow printing on both sides as a means of conserving paper; follow your instructor’s preference.
Proofread and correct your research paper carefully before submitting it. If you are checking a printout and find a mistake, reopen the document, make the appropriate revisions, and reprint the corrected page or pages. Be sure to save the changed file. Spelling checkers and usage checkers are helpful when used with caution. They do not find all errors and sometimes label correct material as erroneous. If your instructor permits corrections on the printout, write them neatly and legibly in ink directly above the lines involved, using carets (⁁) to indicate where they go. Do not use the margins or write a change below the line it affects. If corrections on any page are numerous or substantial, revise your document and reprint the page.
Pages of a printed research paper may get misplaced or lost if they are left unattached or merely folded down at a corner. Although a plastic folder or some other kind of binder may seem an attractive finishing touch, most instructors find such devices a nuisance in reading and commenting on students’ work. Many prefer that a paper be secured with a simple paper or binder clip, which can be easily removed and restored. Others prefer the use of staples.
There are at present no commonly accepted standards for the electronic submission of research papers. If you are asked to submit your paper electronically, obtain from your teacher guidelines for formatting, mode of submission (e.g., by e-mail, on a Web site), and so forth and follow them closely.
Research papers must be drafted in double column standard paper format (.doc/.docx). All the papers should be submitted in IJSRP paper format
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If your instructor has specific requirements for the format of your research paper, check them before preparing your final draft. Double-space the entire research paper, including quotations, notes
As surprising as it might be sometimes not writing is the hardest and most time consuming part of the research paper but formatting. The goal of writing a college research paper is to inform and instigate
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