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Research paper formats. APA & MLA styles for your paper

June 10, 2016 - Posted toStudy and Education

Content apa and mla formatting your research papers

During this summer, before your entry into your first year of college, take the time to get to know the difference between APA and MLA formatting. You will be required to do a lot of college writing, and having this knowledge now will keep you from headaches later.

There is a surplus of paper help online to get you ready for your assigned research paper writing, but if you have decided to tackle these projects on your own, it is best to get a jump on the specifics before the fall semester begins.

APA (American Psychological Association): General Format

These papers are used by many of the social sciences, such as Psychology, and should follow the APA format so that readers can flow through the content without having to take too much time to find what is pertinent to the paper.

  1. APA covers what the layout is for typical manuscripts, margin requirements and how to stylize your headings. APA will show you how to visualize your papers.
  2. This format will explain your reference pages, how to format your title pages, and any abstract ideas.
    There are two types of APA papers commonly used according to the Purdue Owl website, which is a great resource for college writing. They include the literature review type and the experimental report.
  • When writing a literature review you will be required to include a title page, a detailed introduction, and a separate page for references
    The details of this type of paper should be given by your professor and will vary from class to class. Don’t get a literature review confused with an annotated bibliography, they are different, and if you are asked to present one along with your paper, get to know the format requirements of each.
  • An experimental report is designed around your own research, and will be more difficult than the literature type paper. There are professionals that help with research paper writing if you run into snags; that is why we suggest you start learning the different styles now instead of waiting until your semester begins. An experimental styled report will include the following, but can differ from class to class depending on your professor’s specifics.

(Title page, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references, appendices, tables/figures.) Check your guidelines for APA formatting thoroughly each time you sit down to your paper and you will not forget what is expected.

MLA Style

This is the most commonly used reserach paper format across the board in college writing. You will be required to use this in 95% of all your papers. If you have not used this format in High School, it would be a surprise, but not unheard of.

It is suggested for this type of writing you invest in a MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). This can be found on a number of online bookstores such as Keep this book or one suggested by your professor on her books list, by your computer at all times. You will refer to it long after you leave college if you are a writer or publisher. You can also find it in the library, but having your own copy is worth the investment.

Some Basics for MLA Styled Writing

  • Typed paper on a computer and printed out. It should be standard size 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
  • MLA style guide requires all papers to be double spaced using a legible font, most professors want Times New Roman and won’t settle for anything else. The size of the font is usually 12 pt.
  • Professors are very keen on what the specifics they ask for look like when glancing at a paper. There is one professor that reports that if the margins are not set to 1 inch, she can tell right away and takes off points for that. Margins should be 1 inch.
  • When creating a header that also creates numbers. Some professors want your first initial and your last name along with the page number in case pages get lost in the shuffle. Your instructor’s guidelines are to be adhered to in this case.
  • To provide emphasis to your work, use italics when using titles of the works you used when researching your paper.
  • Your works cited page should be separate from your endnotes page. Works cited pages go last, the title of each is to be centered and not bold.

No matter what style of writing you have been assigned, the following must be taken into consideration for each:

Your Introduction

While writing your paper, give the reader some background to the subject, author, or book you are writing about. State your thesis (the purpose of your essay, or response to the assignment. Try to be as direct and specific as you can in college writing. Include a plan of development, or brief summary of the evidence you plan to use to support the thesis.

Body and Supporting Paragraphs

Flow seems to be an ongoing problem for writing college papers. To help with this, include topic sentences at the beginnings of body paragraphs to explain what paragraphs are about, and to connect them to the thesis.

Consider the order of your body paragraphs: you need not follow the order of events in a book you are writing about, but the order of the body paragraphs should relate to the thesis and plan of development. If you have a particularly strong point or example, you might want to save it for last.

Your Conclusion

Summing up your essay or research papers are a must. They are not just words or thought that you finalize with. Start by referring back to, but not repeating the thesis. If possible, try to suggest the larger meaning of what you have shown in your essay: how does it relate to life today or to your experience; what is your opinion about it? Do not be drawn into a completely new discussion though.

Preparing the Outline for Your Paper

As we mentioned APA formatting is going to be tougher than your MLA style papers. With that in mind, a strong outline prepared in advance will help to keep your thoughts and experiment outcomes in order during the writing of this style paper. It can also be used when trying to write a smart paper.

To prepare a good outline, begin with your notes. It is important to ensure that you are able to learn to recognize keywords. The keywords for your notes are often found on the introduction of the outline of the class lesson, reading this information can help you to easily and readily determine what your headings should be. Using these keywords in your notes as little headings will keep your notes organized. This can make it easy for you to create your own study aids as well as being able to locate specific information that you are looking for when it’s time to pull your paper together.

No matter the type of paper you are tackling remember to give yourself time. There are many students that end up rushing their paper and leaving out specifics that the instructor has asked for due to rushing through their paper.

We suggest that rather than rushing through your notes or note-taking, learn to focus on the key points and pieces of information that is being presented to you and use this information to create the basis for your outline. At the point that you find the instructor moving on to a new topic, and you are still taking notes, don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down or pause for a moment so that you can complete your thought, they will understand and greatly appreciate that you are listening to them. In case you need a research paper service we are here to offer any type of help.

Being prepared to write when entering college is the first step every high school graduate must face. We sometimes want to relax during the summer months, but when you are the student that can say you are finished with your assignments early enough to relax later, you will be glad that you prepared now.

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