How to Start a Research Paper Basic Formatting Rules
Research papers require lot of attention when it comes to their formatting. The first elements that the students need to consider format of their papers are title pages and introduction pages. These parts give the reader information about the topic, the author, institutional affiliation and the date of submission.
It is very important to have proper format for these opening pages because they are the first things that the professors look at during examination of the work.
Writing Styles: APA and MLA
First of all, the papers should correspond to the requirements of APA and MLA. The most widely used formatting styles. They both give clear instructions of formatting the title and introduction pages. Let’s review these requirements.
APA and MLA have different approaches to the format of the first pages. For example, APA requires having separate page and MLA just has the main content starting on the first page right after the title of the topic. However, both styles have headers on the pages. APA requires the header to be included at the top right corner of the page and MLA asks to have it on the left side. There are some differences in headers as well. For example, APA header gives the readers information about the topic of the paper and MLA requires the name of the student to be shown. The last difference between the headers in these styles is that APA has RUNNING HEAD along with the topic on the first page, followed by just topics. The header in MLA remains consistent throughout the paper.
The numbers of pages in both styles are identical. APA has this element on the right top side of the sheet just like MLA does. You have to consider the use of text in your research paper. Review the requirements of both styles (that is if you are not required to use Chicago or other styles, of course) to formatting of the text and stay within the guidelines.
Most Common Requirements
Research papers, including bibliography page, should be double-spaced according to the two styles. Also the text should align to the left in APA and MLA. They also require usage of certain fonts. For example, MLA states that the papers must use easily readable fonts and recommends Times New Roman. On the other hand, APA in addition to this font allows the usage of Courier and sometimes Arial.
University Rules May Differ
We have just reviewed the requirements of the two most used styles of formatting research papers. However, your professor might have additional requirements for you because of university rules or other regulations. Make sure you have all questions about formatting discussed with your professor before you start writing your research paper. Some universities may have additional requirements to follow by their students so get to know them because it would be unacceptable to write a great paper that is not formatted properly. Formatting of research papers is very important in academic world. You as a part of it should conform to the rules and get the benefits.