Research papers in the MLA format are used in the liberal arts disciplines. These areas include the humanities, literature, languages, and the like. Like any other manual of style the MLA format has a list of prescribed rules when it comes to formatting research papers.
The MLA title page, as opposed to the APA format of a research paper’s first page, includes the MLA heading and the main body of the researcher’s paper. The MLA heading is composed of the researcher’s name, his or her instructor’s name, course title, and date, in that specific order. Right after the heading is the research’s title.
The MLA format requires that the entire research paper to be typed in double space and to have a 12-point font size. There is no prescribed font to be used as long as it’s readable. Every page should have a page number along with the researcher’s last name right before it. So if the researcher’s name is Laura Willis, the upper right-hand corner of each page should appear as “Willis page number.”
The MLA format also differs from the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and the APA when it comes to in text citation. While all three include the author’s last name when making a citation in the body, the CMOS and the APA also mention the year when a reference material was published. The MLA in text citation, in the meantime, requires the page number of a publication instead of the year.
The MLA works cited page is the section where the researcher lists all of the references he or she used in completing his or her research, whether they are in print or electronic form.
In citing books, the elements needed are the author’s full name, the book title in italics, the publisher, the publisher’s location, the year when the book was published, and the medium of publication. Here is an example: Martin, F. David, and Lee A. Jacobus. The Humanities through the Arts. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print. When writing down the author’s name, always put his or her last name first. If there is more than one author, only the first author will have his or her last name put first; all succeeding authors’ names should be written as given name first, followed by the family name.
When citing a scholarly article, include the author’s name, the title of the article in quotation marks, the name of the journal in italics, the volume and issue numbers, the year when the article was published, the page numbers where the article appeared, and the medium of publication. The following is an example: Doty, Mark. “Theory of the Sublime.” The American Poetry Review 35.6 (2006): 16-17. Print.
There are times when a researcher needs some online resources. It’s a good thing that there is also an MLA format for references like these. The components included in citing an online source are the writer’s name (if there is one), the section of the webpage the researcher has referred to (if only a section of the website has been used) in quotation marks, the name of the website in italics, the group directly related to the website or publisher, the date when the article or the webpage was created, the medium of publication, and the date when the article or webpage was visited. If there is no available publisher or date when the article was written, n.p. (no publisher) and n.d. (no date) can be used instead. The following is an example: Wagner, Jennifer. “Linguistics 101: An Introduction to the Study of Language.” ielanguages. n.p. n.d. Web. 02 June 2012.
The MLA format is easy enough for students to master. There are several publications that instruct the correct usage of the MLA in research papers. There are also online sources that can be referred to.