Every research paper comes with its instructions, including the number of pages, structure, and formatting style. There are different documentation and formatting styles in research paper writing, including APA, MLA, and Chicago. These three are the most common in higher institutions and publication journals, but many more research paper format styles are available.
Whatever paper you are writing, you will need to organize your writing per the preferred academic paper format your institution gives you. Each paper format has its organization and arrangement styles. We will give you a detailed analysis of the most common academic research format.
How to Format an Academic Paper
Knowing how to format a research paper is important because not using the right format for your paper can result in failure. Meanwhile, formatting a research paper takes less time than the actual research. The important thing is knowing the vital parts of a research paper; this helps you quickly outline your paper. It can also guide you in framing your research paper, giving it a professional and publishable outlook.
You need to know what style guide to use before you begin writing your paper. These style guides help regulate your paper’s grammar, bibliography, citation, and topography. The style guide you use in your research studies will depend on your field of study.
Research Paper Outline APA Format
The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide is often used in social science and behavioral research. A research paper in APA style guide reporting on the experimental study will contain the following:
- A title page,
- Methodology or Methods,
Depending on what your paper is about, the contents may also include Figures and Tables as well as an Appendix (singular) or Appendices (plural). A research paper following the APA formatting should:
- Be on 8-and-half by the 11-inch white paper,
- Have one-inch margins at the paper’s top, sides, and bottom,
- Have font type Times New Roman, font size 12,
- Have double-spaced lines,
- Include cover pages, which must be center-aligned,
- Have each page with a left-aligned running header that contains your study title,
- Top, Right-align page numbers on every page – that includes the cover page,
- Have each word indented in each paragraph, excluding the abstract,
- Not have the title bolded, rather should have individual section headings,
- Contain in-text citations of other reports, studies, and articles with the author’s name and publication year.
Research Paper Outline MLA Format
The Modern Language Association, or MLA for short, is typically used in humanities research papers; its official manual is the MLA Handbook. This is the first formatting style middle school and high school students will learn in English Language and Language Arts. This formatting style is flexible and straightforward to use. A research paper following the MLA formatting style should have;
- A cover page,
In MLA formatting style,
- Use an 8-and-half x 11 inches white paper,
- Each page should have one-inch margins at the top, sides, and bottom,
- Indent the first word in every paragraph by one-and-half inches,
- Each block or set-off quotation should be indented by one-half inch from the left margin,
- Any font type is good, as long as it is easy to read, like Times New Roman; if you use italics, ensure it is distinct from the regular typeface.
- Font size should be 12,
- The entire research paper should have double spacing, and
- Unless instructed otherwise, let there be only one space after periods and other punctuation marks.
Chicago Style Research Paper Format
The Chicago formatting style doesn’t require a particular font or font size; only that the paper be simple and readable. When writing a research paper in Chicago formatting style, apply it this way:
- Use a simple, readable, and standard font and font size – for example, Times New Roman, 12,
- All the texts in the entire paper should be double-spaced,
- Use one-inch or larger margins evenly throughout the paper,
- Each new paragraph should be indented by one-half inch.
- Place the page numbers at the bottom center or top right.
In conclusion, there are various research paper formatting styles, including the ASA research paper format. Understanding what style your paper should follow before writing and ensuring you follow it religiously is important.