APA, MLA, & Chicago Style Research Paper Format Help

Research papers completed according to the stylistic guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA) must follow a specific format as outlined by the APA's Publication Manual.  Formatting APA research papers is strikingly different from formatting according to the style outlined by the Modern Language Association (MLA), so take care to follow the specific requirements of the class and applicable discipline.  Typically, fields in the social sciences follow APA style, and fields in the humanities follow MLA.  Also keep in mind that there's a difference between APA research papers that report on a topic by performing investigative research of existing scholarly literature and APA research papers that report on the researcher's own, individually-designed study.  This tutorial is about the former.

APA research paper format follows a particular presentation order that typically includes:

  • a title page;
  • an abstract;
  • an introduction;
  • a literature review;
  • a results or findings section;
  • a discussion of the implications of the results;
  • a list of references;
  • if needed or helpful, an appendix.

APA, MLA, & Chicago Style Research Paper Format HelpWhen formatting APA research papers, the writer should be sure that each element of the project follows the specific guidelines of APA style as detailed below.

The title page features the title of the report, the researcher's name and institution, the name of the class for which the report was completed (if applicable), and a running head (which is a distinguishing characteristic of APA research paper format, requiring that an abbreviated form of the title is presented as a header at the top of the title page).

An abstract is a summary of a research paper and its findings, which is used by researchers to quickly and easily determine if the report at hand is relevant to a topic of research that they may be undertaking.  Therefore, the abstract should touch on the major points of the research paper, while remaining brief.  Because an abstract encapsulates the scope of the report as a whole, it should be completed after the research paper is complete.

The introduction is the first page of the project itself.  It clearly introduces the research topic or research problem, explains why this topic or problem is an important topic of research, and outlines the method of studying or researching that topic or problem.  If appropriate or required, the introduction should include a clearly stated hypothesis describing the researcher's expectations for the study's findings.  

The literature review is often considered the most difficult component of APA research paper format.  A literature review is a comprehensive report on the existing literature available regarding that topic.  When presenting the literature review, it's necessary to clearly outline both the procedures undertaken by relevant studies and the findings of each study.

The results or findings section comments on the literature review by critically examining various points made by previous studies and synthesizing those points to present definitive conclusions about the topic.  

The final section required when formatting APA research papers is the reference section.  The reference section lists the studies and other secondary source materials that the author cited in the body of the paper and clearly documents the sources' authors, the year(s) in which they were published, and the details of where the sources can be found.

Some APA papers will include an appendix to present additional information about certain aspects.  Typically, an appendix holds information that's too large to represent in full in the body of the text itself, or information that's considered to be supplementary.

Formatting APA research papers is a time-consuming process that requires the writer to follow explicit directions regarding presentation.  For detailed advice on formatting and style questions, refer to the APA Publication Manual.  

MLA Style Research Paper

An MLA style research paper is a project that a student writes using MLA format.  MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is a common style used in academia.  MLA style research papers must follow specific formatting, as well as rules for footnotes and citations.  MLA style research paper formats are common in high school, undergraduate, graduate school, and doctorate programs.

MLA style research papers should always begin with a cover sheet that includes the centered title of the work 1/3 of the way down the sheet.  Under the title of the report, the student should include his/her name.  The date and course title should appear centered at the bottom of the page.  Professors will often require additional information to appear on the cover page as well, such as the professor's name and the specific course number.  

When formatting the report, MLA style research paper guidelines dictate that it should be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font and that the pages should be double-spaced.  Margins should appear one inch around the document on all sides and each paragraph should be indented by half of an inch (which is the TAB key or five space keys).  Additionally, page numbers should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page.  The first page is usually not numbered, though some professors will require it.  Also, many professors require that a student's name also appear next to the page number.  

In terms of MLA style research paper citations, learners should include a separate page for all endnotes, as opposed to inserting endnotes at the end of a page.  The report should also have its own Works Cited section, in which cited works are formatted properly according to MLA guidelines.  MLA guidelines vary based on the type of work that the student needs to cite.  For example, the citation for a Web site is different from the citation format for a book or a magazine.  

MLA style research papers are common for all levels of academic study.  Even though they're common, many learners confuse MLA with AP (Associated Press) style.  AP style is similar to MLA style in that it's a standardized format that students and professionals use to compose their documents.  However, AP style is most often used in journalism and has different formatting and citation requirements than MLA style.  

MLA style research papers are common for all academic courses.  However, AP style is common for journalism courses.  Therefore, students studying English and journalism may need to switch between MLA and AP styles when creating their documents.

Chicago Style Research Paper

A Chicago style research paper is one that adheres to the Chicago style of formatting academic papers.  The hallmarks of Chicago style research papers are in text citations, the use of footnotes and endnotes, and content notes.  Chicago style research papers are required in many social science courses such as political science and history.

A Chicago style research paper is useful for presenting sources in a way that citation styles such as APA and MLA don't cover.  Chicago style presents more than just the author name and publication date within the text itself or as footnotes to the text.  This enables the reader to quickly discern where the reference came from.  The use of footnotes and endnotes also allow the writer of the report to comment on the use of the references and the source of the information that appears within the text.  The footnotes and endnotes that appear in Chicago style research papers are also ideal places for the author to insert comments that enhance the understanding of the material being presented but aren't crucial to the overall project.

For the most part, when an instructor asks for a Chicago style research paper, that instructor is telling students that he/she wants them to use footnotes or endnotes.  However, even in Chicago style research papers, in-text citations that use only the author's last name, the publication date, and the page number, are used for smaller papers.  If the citation style required for the document is unclear, a student should confer with the instructor or a Chicago style writing guide.

Footnotes, endnotes, and content notes are indicated by the use of a superscript number, which is simply a number appearing above the line of text, in a smaller font than the rest of the text.  Most word processing programs allow students to insert footnotes, endnotes, and content notes automatically and format the number as well as the text.  In general, footnote text, which appears at the bottom of the page on which the citation appears, is completed in 10-point font while the report font itself is completed in 12-point.  Endnote text appears at the end of the document and is completed using the same size font as the rest.  The first time a reference is cited using endnotes or footnotes, the citation should include the full citation.  An abbreviated citation can be used thereafter.

A Chicago style research paper still requires the student to create a bibliography even though all of the information contained in the bibliography has already appeared in the footnotes.  The bibliography should be presented in alphabetical order and each citation should have the second and subsequent lines of the citation indented.  Students should always refer to a Chicago citation style guide for complete guidelines.

APA Dissertation

An APA dissertation is one of the most time-consuming and research-intensive projects that any student will have to take on during his/her college years.  APA dissertations are not only required to be well-written and comprehensive research papers, they must be formatted according to the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association.  APA style guidelines are used for many varieties of humanities papers, not just those completed on psychology-related topics.

All APA dissertations should follow a few basic guidelines.  These guidelines require:

  • a properly-formatted cover page;
  • double-spaced text (except for block quotes);
  • 1-inch margins;
  • a header with an abbreviated title and page number;
  • a bibliography;
  • the following sections/chapters:
  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature Review
  4. Methodology
  5. Data, Analysis, and Results
  6. Conclusion.

Many instructors require that students begin their APA dissertations at the end.  That is, by gathering all of their reference material.  The listing of references that a student has when he/she begins an APA dissertation is, by no means, a set-in-stone listing that can't include any additional references.  Many students find that as they write their APA dissertation, they come across the need to acquire additional references to answer questions that arise while completing their document or that add clarification to their existing information.

An APA dissertation must be either qualitative or quantitative.  Many students who are undertaking the writing of an APA dissertation don't understand the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative paper.  In short, a quantitative APA dissertation used statistical numerical data to support the thesis.  The writer knows in advance what he/she is looking for and formats his/her research in order to prove his/her thesis.  This doesn't mean, however, that the thesis is correct and the statistical data gathered during the research may, in fact, disprove the researcher's thesis.  Disproving a thesis isn't necessarily a bad outcome for an APA thesis writer, as the point is conducting the research and writing a good paper rather than merely substantiating a theory.

A qualitative APA dissertation is one that uses words, pictures, and/or objects as the data to be analyzed.  A debate has raged for some time about which type of dissertation is the most credible but most writers and instructors alike agree that the proof is in the end result, not necessarily the format of the APA reference project.  For more information on how to write an APA dissertation, consult a copy of the latest version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

MLA Essay

The MLA essay is most commonly assigned in humanities courses.  Most students prefer MLA essays simply because MLA style is simple and usually more familiar.  MLA essays use much of the same formatting that students learned when writing reports throughout their entire primary and secondary education.

An MLA essay begins with the basics.  Students should put their full name, course name and number, submission date, and instructor name at the upper left corner.  An instructor might also request that the student include his/her "student identification number" and other information, as well.  Students should always be sure to include any additional information that the instructor requests.

An MLA report should also include a header that displays the student's last name and page number in the right header.  Programs such as Word, Works, and other up-to-date word processing programs have a feature where the student can set the program to automatically update the page number so that they don't have to manually enter it for each page.  The header should be formatted with the student's last name, five blank spaces, and then the page number.

Each MLA report should have a title.  The title should reflect the contents of the report and shouldn't be inflammatory or offensive.  The title should be one double-spaced line down from the student name block and should be centered.  Students should be sure that their title is properly capitalized.

MLA essays require the use of an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman or Arial.  The font should be 12-point size, unless otherwise indicated by the instructor.  (Some instructors prefer students to use 14-point font.)  MLA essays should be double-spaced with one-inch margins all around.  Students should include a blank line between paragraphs and indent each new paragraph 1/2 inch.

The main reason that students often prefer to write MLA essays is because of the ease in inserting citations.  Unlike some more difficult styles that require the use of footnotes, endnotes, or complicated citations, MLA essays call for simple parenthetical citations inserted at the point of reference within the text.  Citations should include the last name of the reference's author, a comma, and then the page number where the reference can be found.

Citations are important because they give credit to the original author of the information that the student has used.  Using someone else's work without properly citing its use is called plagiarism, regardless of whether the lack of citation is intentional or unintentional.  In addition to in-text citations, MLA essays also require a bibliography on a separate page at the end.

Chicago Style Term Paper

A Chicago style term paper is one that's written, cited, and documented according to the Chicago Manual of Style, a publication manual that details guidelines for writing, citing, and formatting texts.  Chicago style term papers are commonly assigned in history courses.  Some humanities professors will also prefer their students to use Chicago style.

Chicago style is different from the other primary academic writing styles—APA and MLA.  Therefore, a student shouldn't assume that he/she can complete a Chicago style term paper using some elements of Chicago style but also incorporating elements of another writing style.  Each style manual is comprehensive in its directions for writing, formatting, and citing.  Therefore, a student must use Chicago style for all aspects of his/her Chicago style report.  

The most important element of Chicago style a student will need to know when completing a term paper is how to properly cite and reference.  Chicago style outlines two ways of documenting sources in the body of a text.  The first is by using parenthetical notes at the end of a sentence (like this).  The other way of documenting sources is to list sources in footnotes.  Footnotes indicate sources at the bottom of a page through the insertion of corresponding superscripted numbers after a sentence.  Frequently, instructors will state their preference for either parenthetical notes or footnotes.  Most of the time, Chicago style term papers will also be required to include a comprehensive list of the secondary sources used in the document.  This list will be titled "Bibliography" and will come after the text.

Typically, Chicago style term papers will not require the inclusion of a title page.  Some teachers may prefer that a title page be added, but generally, the title of the report can appear on the first page of text.  The author of the report, the name of the course and instructor, and the date of submission will also be included on this page, justified along the left-hand margin at the top.  Unless otherwise specified, a Chicago style term paper will be double-spaced.  Additionally, the pages should be numbered, beginning on the first page of the text.

Chicago style has its own set of dictates regarding grammar and style.  Therefore, if a student finds himself/herself questioning his/her use of punctuation, capitalization, or abbreviation, he/she should reference the Chicago Manual of Style for an authoritative answer.

APA Term Paper

An APA term paper is a document completed in accordance with the stylistic and citation recommendations of the American Psychological Association (APA).  Though the APA is focused on the study of psychology, APA style has become extremely popular and is now widely used across many disciplines.  While papers in the humanities will still be completed in MLA style, APA is the predominant writing style for all of the social sciences and many other disciplines, as well.  APA term papers are now common in business, education, nursing courses, and a variety of other fields.  Some of the most common aspects of APA style that are pertinent to writing term papers will be discussed here.

First, it's important for writers to realize the purpose of APA-style texts.  The American Psychological Association designed its writing style to accommodate research texts completed in psychology.  Most APA texts, including APA term papers, will be investigation-based texts, meaning they report on either the data and studies of other scholars, the research of the writer, or both.  Furthermore, because research in psychology and the other social sciences is constantly being updated, APA style requires that all in-text citations present not only the author's name, but also the year in which the cited study was published.  This is one of the primary characteristics distinguishing APA from MLA style, and illustrates one of the most significant differences between APA term papers and MLA term papers: in psychology and the social sciences, when research was published is almost as important as what the research indicates; in the humanities, wherein scholars study texts and other works of art that don't change, the date of the research isn't as important.  Another significant difference between APA and MLA style is that in APA, paraphrasing secondary sources is preferred over quoting.  In MLA, the generous inclusion of textual quotations is a common occurrence.

One of the most important aspects of APA style that will be relevant to the composition of an APA term paper is structure.  One of the most prominent characteristics of APA style is its use of headings.  It is likely that an APA term paper will use only one or two of the five possible levels of APA headings.  These headings should clearly and concisely identify what the primary topic of each section of the report is.  If there are sub-categories for each topic, then sub-headings should be implemented.

When reporting research in an APA term paper, writers must remember to not only paraphrase more often then they quote, but also to report all research in past tense.  Rather than saying, "Smith finds," the writer must say, "Smith found."

Regarding formatting, all APA term papers must be double-spaced and typed using a standard, 12-point font.  They should have a title page that announces the title, name of the writer, name of the course, and the current academic term/semester.  The text of a term paper should begin on the page following the title page.

All APA term papers must have a references page.  This page should follow the text and precede any appendices, if there are appendices included.  This page should be titled "References," double-spaced throughout, and list in APA format every study cited.

As mentioned previously, in-text citations for APA-style texts must feature the year in which the cited study was published.  In addition, the citation should name the author.  If the citation is citing a paraphrase, the page number on which the information was found in the source shouldn't be listed.  If the citation is citing a direct quote, the page number should be included.

Detailed information regarding all aspects of APA style and how to write APA term papers can be found in the APA Style Manual.  This is the most authoritative source on all matters regarding APA composition.

MLA Term Paper

An MLA term paper is a format that a learner will need to use in order to complete a term paper properly.  Specifically, MLA is a format that's extremely common for academic writing.  Most academic institutions will require or suggest that their students create their documents in MLA style, as MLA is a standardized term paper form that's easy to follow and makes all reports appear to be similar.

MLA term papers have specific formatting guidelines.  MLA style doesn't refer to the content that appears in a report, but it does pertain to how a student will include content.  Therefore, students need to pay attention to MLA guidelines when creating their documents.  

If a professor has assigned a project that should be completed in MLA style, the professor will probably give students MLA guidelines.  However, MLA term paper guidelines are also available online and in resource books for writers.  If a professor assigns a term paper but doesn't tell students what format to use, it's safe to assume that MLA style will suffice, as it's a standard style for academic reports.  

MLA term papers begin with a title page, in which the student includes his/her title, as well as the student's name and course number.  The student may also include the report submission date on the title page.  

Next, each page of the document should contain a page number in the upper right hand corner of the page.  The student's last name should appear in all capital letters just before the page number.  Most professors don't want a page number on the title page or the first page, but some may.  

The report should be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font and double-spaced.  Margins should be set to one inch on the top and bottom of the page and one inch on the left and right sides.  Each first sentence of a paragraph should begin five spaces into the paragraph, which is the same amount of space that a student can create using the TAB key.  

MLA reports should all look the same when a professor receives them.  That way, professors can be assured that students have included an appropriate amount of information, and the professor can easily check references.  

There are some courses, however, where a student will need to complete a term paper in APA style.  APA style is common in science courses, as its format is more similar to the professional guidelines in science-related industries.  However, when a student needs to complete a formal academic term paper, the report will usually follow MLA term paper guidelines.

APA Style Research Essay

An APA style research essay is a document that a learner will write according to standard essay writing guidelines.  However, the APA style research essay must specifically follow APA style, as opposed to MLA or Chicago style.  Students may have to write research projects for any course at any grade level.  Therefore, understanding the nature of the report and the requirements of the APA format are important if the student wishes to be a successful project writer.  

First, in order to understand how to format an APA style research essay, learners should first become familiar with the role of the research essay.  It is generally considered to be a relaxed writing format that often requires students to incorporate first-person perspective and opinions.  Such compositions are usually shorter than research *papers*.  

A research essay requires that students research a particular topic and communicate their findings.  However, because an essay is generally completed from a point-of-view, a research essay usually requires students to provide their own opinions about a particular topic, even if it isn't written in first-person.  

When a student is specifically required to complete an APA style research essay, he/she needs to ensure that he/she follows generally research essay writing requirements.  Additionally, the student must format the report according to APA guidelines, which are very specific and can be applied to all forms of academic writing, including essay writing, paper writing, thesis writing, and more.  

One of the distinguishing characteristics of APA style is that the font should be in size 10 or 12 Times Roman.  All text should be left justified with half inch margins around the page.  Also, every line should be double-spaced.  Additionally, all APA style research reports should have a cover page that follows the same APA format.  

APA style research essays are unique from academic documents that are completed in other formats.  One of the most telling differences appears on the cover page.  APA style research reports should include not only a title, but also a title abstract that's left justified at the top of the page.  Also, APA style research reports should have a page number on the cover page.  

While there are many similarities between APA style research essays and MLA essays, students need to be sure that they're following the correct format.  If they're required to complete an APA style research essay, they may want to ask a professor for specific guidelines in order to ensure that they have the most accurate information possible regarding the format.  

Literature Review in APA Style

APA is an acronym that stands for the American Psychological Association.  APA is a style that many learners should be familiar with when they create academic works, as it's very common in academic settings.  When a student needs to complete a literature review in APA style, he/she may need to reference the style online or through a printed manual in order to ensure the correct format.

Literature review APA guidelines basically state that the project should be typed on standard-sized paper with one-inch margins on all sides.  The font should either by size 10 or size 12, but it should be Times New Roman or something similar to Times New Roman.  Literature reviews in APA style should also be double-spaced.  

All literature reviews in APA style should include a header at the top of the page.  The header should include a page number on the right-hand side of the page, along with the first two or three words of the report title (ending five spaces before the page number).  

There are also four sections that should be included in an APA formatted literature review.  These sections are: title page, abstract, body, and references.  

The title page should contain the page header (note: MLA style papers don't contain a header on the title page).  The next line should contain a running head, which should be flush-left on the page.  The running head should contain part of the title.  The words "Running head" should appear in this line, as well.  After the running head, center the title, byline, university, and professor's name (if required by the professor).

Next, the learner will need to write the abstract, which should be a basic overview of the literature review.  Depending on the length of the review, this abstract can be one paragraph or two paragraphs, but no more—even if the review is very long.  

Following the abstract, the student needs to create the body.  The body should contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.  When the student references a source in the body, he/she should properly cite that source according to APA style, which differs depending on the resource.  Finally, the references should be included at the end.  Each reference should be cited differently.  

When searching for "Literature review APA style" in Google, a student will soon discover that APA is different from MLA style in many ways.  Most obviously, literature reviews in APA format should include a specific title page that contains the running headline as well as the header that will be used throughout the document.  Citations, font size, and font type may also vary.  Students should always review APA style guidelines before writing a literature review in APA style to ensure that they follow the correct standards and don't confuse them with MLA standards.

APA Style and Bibliography Format

When completing an academic paper with APA style citations and bibliography format, the instructor will likely require that the student cite references and write a bibliography showing the sources that were used to conduct the research.  The purpose of citing this information is partially to add clout to the report while also providing the reader with information that he/she may pursue in order to learn more about the subject.

When following the APA style of citation, there are several rules to which the student must strictly adhere.  If the written work is a copy manuscript, for example, it's necessary to double space all of the lines when utilizing APA style.  If the writer is using the style in order to create a final manuscript, on the other hand, single space is the required format.  In this case, however, it's necessary to skip a line between each of the listed references.  If writing a paper for a course, it's important to ask the instructor which of these formats is necessary.

When completing the reference list, all of the items that are listed must be placed in alphabetical order according to the author's name.  When listing the author's name, the author's first and middle names should be listed by initial only, while the author's last name should be written fully.  If the name of the author isn't known, the reference should be listed with its title first with the date following this information.

When writing the title of an article or a book, the writer should capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle.  When writing the title of a periodical, on the other hand, the writer should capitalize all of the significant words found within the title.

When using magazine articles as references, the writer must include the month and day on which the magazine was published.  In addition, when utilizing Web sites, the writer must show the date on which the particular webpage was created.  If this information isn't available, the writer should use "n.d."  in place of a date.

Since the rules used when writing in APA style are quite strict, it's essential for the writer to gain a more solid understanding of how to properly complete an essay with this style.  In many cases, the instructor will provide the students with a handout that shows the basics of completing an essay with this style.  Nonetheless, it's crucial for the student to acquire more information on this type of formatting before finalizing the document.  The library at the school the student attends will typically be able to provide him/her with more information regarding APA style and bibliography format.

APA Style Research Paper

During their academic careers, the majority of students are called upon to write one or more research papers.  As part of the requirements for these papers, students are usually required to format their documents according to a particular style guide.  An APA style research paper is one that is completed to conform to what is called APA formatting.  APA formatting is a style of formatting papers and citing references determined by the American Psychological Association.  The latest version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was published in 2001.

Unlike some other formatting guides, the APA style research paper calls for a cover page.  At the top of the cover page, the student should place what is called a "running head".  The running head is simply the title of the report and it's placed in the upper left header of the title page.  The title can be shortened if it's exceptionally long.  The cover page should also include, centered on the page, the title of the document, the name of the student, and the university affiliation.  Never type the title of the report in all caps.

The pages of the project itself should be numbered in the upper right corner of each page.  The entire document should be double-spaced and each paragraph should be indented five to seven spaces (one half inch).  Even the title page should be double-spaced.  However, the abstract of the report and long (block) quotations shouldn't be double-spaced or indented.  Every page other than the title page should be aligned left.  Many APA style research papers are required to have an abstract and it should appear alone on the second page.  The body of the document should begin on the third page.

APA style research papers require that headings be placed in outline form.  Main headings should be centered using uppercase and lowercase typing.  Secondary headings should be aligned left; again with uppercase and lowercase typing.  Third level headings (and so on) should be indented with uppercase and lowercase typing.  Headings don't need to be bold or in any different font styles.

Each APA style report should have a references page.  This page should be an alphabetical listing of each reference cited in the body.  Citation styles vary according to the type of reference, therefore students should consult the most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for in-paper citation formatting advice.  The reference page should have the word "references" at the top of the page and it should begin on a new page.  The first line of each reference should be indented one half inch.  This is called a hanging indent.

APA style research papers are easily recognizable by their formal cover pages and their unique citation styles.  Some instructors don't require the cover page but may require that all of the other APA formatting rules be followed.  Students should be certain to follow the guidelines as dictated by their instructor.  

Sample MLA Research Paper

MLA, which stands for Modern Language Association, is a standardized style in which many professors require that their learners write their documents.  It is a popular academic writing style, but not necessarily a professional writing style that's used by professional writers.  By reviewing a sample MLA research paper, learners will not only learn how to cite their sources, but they will also learn how to format a reference project.  

From a sample MLA research paper, learners should first recognize the basic formatting and writing guidelines.  For example, the sample MLA report should be typed on standard computer paper (which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches).  All MLA reports should also be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font.  Unlike some other research paper formats, MLA requires that there's only one space after each period, comma, or other punctuation mark.  Paper margins should be set at one inch on all four sides.  The first line of each paragraph also needs to be indented by half an inch (which is different than Web writing).

When citing sources, sample MLA research papers should indicate that all citations are done using either italics or with an underline.  Endnotes should be included in their own section, not in the works cited section.  In order to reference a citation within the body of the document, the last name of the author and the page number should appear in parentheses directly after the citation.  The sample MLA research paper citation might look something like this: (Jones 5).  

Proper citation sections of sample MLA research papers also require MLA format.  Each type of document should be cited using a specific format.  For example, the format that one would use to cite a book is very different from the format one would use to cite a Web site resource.  Sample MLA research papers will usually have examples of several types of citations.  

A sample MLA research paper is different from a sample AP (Associated Press) paper.  The AP style and MLA style are very different.  AP style is one of the most common styles for professional writers, such as reporters.  For that reason, many English students and students studying media writing should be very familiar with AP style as well as MLA style.  

MLA style is a largely academic writing style that puts a special emphasis on proper citations.  When a student reviews a sample MLA research paper, he/she should always make sure that the report has been writing in MLA style instead of AP style, though the two are similar.

APA Research Paper Examples

Many students will have to write APA research paper examples for their courses in all grade levels.  Such papers are common academic assignments that allow students to learn about a particular subject in-depth and then communicate their findings in a thoughtful manner.  When a student has to complete a paper, he/she needs to follow a particular style guide, such as MLA or APA style.  Because these two styles are very popular, but different, students may wish to access an MLA or APA research paper example for more information about the format they will need to follow.  

When students need to complete a paper using APA style, they should look for a well-written APA research paper example.  There are many resources for APA research paper examples, including online resources, an on-campus writing center, and even a professor.  Therefore, learners should find it fairly easy to get their hands on several different APA research paper examples that can help them understand more about the APA format.

One of the most important things that students need to think about when looking for APA research paper examples is the validity of the example.  All APA reports should follow the same basic format and specific style.  Therefore, it's important for students to find examples that truly represent APA style in all manners.  

Students many want to compare their APA research paper examples with APA guidelines in order to ensure that the example they're using follows the guidelines accurately.  Students may also want to compare one APA research paper example to another in order to look for discrepancies that could affect their own formatting and style choices.  

Basically, all APA research paper examples should have a cover page that contains a title abstract, title, author name, page number, date, and several other elements that are consistent with APA style.  Each page, aside from the cover page, should be completed in size 12 Times Roman font with half inch margins around the page.  Sentences should be double-spaced, as well.  Each paragraph should be indented by five spaces.  

There are differences between APA research paper examples and MLA paper examples that students should be aware of in order to ensure that they get the right examples.  While MLA and APA styles are very similar, they differ in many important ways, as well.  For example, the cover page of an APA paper contains more information and a different format than the cover page for an MLA paper.  Therefore, finding the right examples is critical.

MLA Research Paper Examples

Whenever a student is required to complete an MLA research paper, it may help helpful for him/her to see an MLA research paper example for tips on how to format the report and what types of sections he/she should plan to include (such as a cover page or appendix section).

Students in all levels of academic study may have to follow the MLA format when writing reports, as the MLA format is one of the most common and widely accepted formats.  Therefore, it may be helpful for all students to review MLA research paper examples before they write their first MLA papers.  

In order to find MLA research paper examples, learners can access a variety of resources.  Many students are given MLA research paper examples by their professors, which are usually papers that former students have completed.  Other students may find MLA research paper examples through a campus writing center, which are usually located on most campuses.  Another resource where students may be able to find an MLA research paper example is online.  

When a student looks for a MLA research paper example online, he/she should begin by checking the source.  Many excellent MLA research paper example sources are university Web sites.  For example, many university writing centers have an online division where students can access MLA style and format examples of all different types of academic papers.  

Some professors will publish MLA guidelines online as well in order to ensure that students have access to the guidelines when and where they need them.  Some professors will post MLA research paper examples next to these guidelines so that students can use the examples as a reference.

If a student is looking online for an MLA research paper example, he/she needs to be sure that the information that he/she is receiving in the example is accurate.  One way to check this information is to cross-reference the example with a list of basic guidelines.  For example, all MLA research paper examples should be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font.  They should also have a cover page, which lists the title of the report as well as the student's name.  

When students look for MLA research paper examples, they need to be sure that the examples that they're using follow MLA format and not APA format.  Both formats are similar and can be easily confused.  For example, both formats require that students use double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font.  Therefore, students may want to double check with the owner of the example to make sure that it was completed using MLA style.

APA Research Paper Samples

In many cases, when learners write research papers, they will need to follow a very specific format.  APA and MLA formats are the two most common paper formats for all levels of academic study.  While the two formats are common and very similar, there are enough differences to require students to learn more about the specific styles, if they want to get good grades.  In order to learn about APA style, students may wish to review APA research paper samples.

APA style research papers have very common requirements.  For example, all words should be typed in black Times New Roman font in size 12.  All lines should be double-spaced.  The first sentence of each paragraph should be indented by five spaces, or one tab point.  The margins on all sides of the page should be half an inch wide.  Also, the title of the report, page number, and student's last name should appear at the top of each page.  

When students wish to review APA research paper samples, they need to be sure that the samples follow APA style.  APA style is very similar to other styles, making it difficult to distinguish between the two, in some cases.  However, APA research paper samples will have a title abstract and page number on the cover page, which should quickly distinguish them from other samples.  

There are many resources where students may be able to find an APA research paper sample.  Many professors will supply their students with APA research paper samples to review if they're required to write papers using APA research paper formats.  Students may also find an APA research paper sample from an on-campus writing center.  When students use these resources, they may be able to find that they're more reliable than some internet resources.  

However, there are many benefits to using an APA research paper sample from the Internet.  Not only are APA research paper samples available whenever and wherever a student wants, but there's also a great deal of variety online, which may help students to learn even more.  

Students need to keep in mind that no matter where they find their APA research paper samples, the samples should always be accurate and in APA style.  The major competing style is MLA format.  However, in MLA format, the cover page is very plain with only a title, the student's name, and a date.  Therefore, learners should be able to quickly distinguish between the two styles by looking at the cover page.

What is MLA Format?

Arguably, the common format for college writing is MLA research paper format.  In fact, most professors recommend that if a specific format isn't assigned to students, they should follow the MLA style guidelines for their documents.  Therefore, an MLA research paper isn't only a common format for assignments, but it's also a format that all students will most likely need to become familiar with during their academic careers.  

When it comes to completing an effective and correctly formatted MLA research paper, students need to take a look at two basic elements: MLA style and the role of the research paper.  First, a research paper is a very common assignment for all grades levels and courses of study.  When students are assigned research papers, they will need to study one particular topic in-depth and then communicate their findings in a well-flowing document.  Many students spend weeks or months researching and writing such a document.  

Secondly, students need to understand what the MLA part of MLA research papers means.  MLA is a very ubiquitous style for all levels of study and all subjects.  There are several distinguishing characteristics of MLA research papers.  However, students would be wise to look for specific MLA guidelines, which they can obtain from a trusted source online or from a professor.  

There are many different considerations that go into the MLA format.  First, all MLA research papers need to have a cover page that includes the title and the student's name.  Many professors also require learners to include the date, course, and professor's name.  

The body of an MLA report should also be completed in 12-point, Times New Roman font.  Text should be left-justified and placed within 1/2-inch margins around the page.  MLA reports should also have a header that contains the page number.  

Students who are required to write MLA reports should be aware that there are many different formats for writing assignments.  Therefore, when they look for examples of reports or writing style guides, they need to be sure that they're using MLA examples and guides and not APA or Chicago resources, for example.  

While MLA and APA are very similar style guides, they do have different formats for the reference section and the cover page that alert professors immediately if a student has followed the wrong format.

APA Format Research Papers

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a specific format or style for writing quality research papers.  Formatting, editing, and citing references in the text are the three major areas that writers must carefully consider while composing these standardized documents.

First of all, the APA format report should be double-spaced.  It must also have one inch margins for the top, bottom, left, and right side of every page.  The writer must indent five to seven spaces (or ½ inch) at the beginning of every paragraph within the document.  Moreover, the writer must use a 12 point, traditional typeface such as Times New Roman.  For page numbering, the student must remember to add numbers to the upper right-hand corner of every page, following the running head, which is a short title.

For editing content and style, the APA format research paper is typically uniform in terms of structure and scope.  Students must be sure to write clearly in order to help the reader understand the intended scope or purpose.  To facilitate the writing of coherent and unified APA format research papers, students must prepare rough drafts.  Then, each student can carefully read and correctly revise the rough draft according to universal grammar and usage rules.  Any student who has difficulty with the writing of an APA format research paper must practice organizing thoughts and ideas prior to completing the rough draft and composing the final copy.  Further, learners can seek both online and offline assistance with APA styling and formatting.  Libraries often provide reference materials that illustrate APA format.  Also, there are many Web sites online that offer tutorials which show how to follow APA procedures for documentation.

For referencing citations in the text of APA format research papers, the student must be aware of collecting current and reliable sources of materials that substantiate the purpose or thesis of the document.  While performing these research steps, the student must give credit to the sources of information that he/she used to compose the document.  By clearly indicating where any quotes or statistics were obtained, every student can avoid plagiarism.  Moreover, using in-text citations instead of lengthy footnotes, the APA format is both concise and accurate.  Lastly, the student must prepare a reference page where he/she delineates all reference materials alphabetically in order to give the reader a comprehensive listing of relevant sources.

Research Paper Bibliography

A research paper bibliography is the section of a document in which a learner will include all relevant resources that he/she has used in order to create the document.  Research paper bibliographies can include a few resources to many dozens of resources, depending on the level of information that a student has used during his/her assignment.  The minimum recommended number of resources is usually about five.

In order to complete a research paper bibliography, the learner will need to include the name of the publication that he/she has used for the research, its author(s), publication date, publisher, and any page numbers that the student referenced.  A bibliography can include sources for books, periodicals, journals, magazines, Web pages, and more.  

There are specific formats that students should use for the document bibliographies.  For example, MLA format requires that the student include the last name of the author, first name, name of publication, publisher, publication date, and pages used.  However, each format will be modified for the specific reference.  The way a student would reference a magazine is different from the way a student would reference a book.  A professor will indicate which format a student should use.

It is important for students to be aware that when they include a bibliography in their documents, it should refer to a specific resource that the student used.  In most cases, a professor will only allow students to include resources that they actually cited in their work.  Therefore, every entry in the bibliography should link directly to a part of the report in which the student used the resource.  

Research paper bibliographies also only include those materials that a student used first-hand.  In some cases, if a student has used another report or resource that has its own set of resources, he/she will mistakenly copy his/her resources bibliography.  For example, if a student used a college dissertation as a resource, he/she may copy all of the references from the college dissertation bibliography to use in his/her own paper.  However, a learner should only include references that he/she used directly—not second-hand resources.  

A research paper bibliography is different than research paper footnotes.  Research paper footnotes often contain references, just like a bibliography.  However, research paper footnotes serve to clarify or reinforce a particular idea that a student presented in an analysis assignment.  The research paper footnotes should only include references that are also included in the bibliography, as well.

Sample APA Research Paper

A sample APA research paper may help some students to learn how to format their documents according to APA style.  APA style is a particular type of style that's often preferred by journalism professors and students studying media.  A sample APA research paper will help a learner to learn about the required APA font, font size, margins, cover page inclusions, and more.

A style guide is basically a system of determining a particular style that should be used.  The style helps to make all reports consistent.  In most cases, a professor will prefer one style over another.  For example, if students have to write sample APA research papers, the professor most likely prefers APA style to MLA style.  

Many style guides are very similar in that they require learners to use Times Roman font at size 10 or 12.  They also require learners to have one inch margins around the edge.  These particular style guide requirements help professors to assess paper length and general word count in order to ensure that a student has correctly completed a project according to the professor's guidelines.  

Style guides often vary in terms of what should be included on the cover page.  Students using sample APA research papers will notice that there isn't only a title on the cover page, but there's also a title abstract, which helps to describe the title.  Most sample APA research papers also have an abstract that's about one paragraph long on the page after the cover page.  

If a professor assigns a particular style, the professor expects students to use it.  The professor may mark points off of the final project grade if students don't use the style guide correctly.  Therefore, it may be wise for students to find or buy a sample APA research paper in order to make sure they understand what the required style entails.  

There is a difference between sample APA research paper and MLA research papers.  Again, one of the biggest differences has to do with the cover page of the report, where APA reports should have a title abstract.  However, the page title and page number location on each page will also vary based on whether the paper is MLA or APA style.  Students should, therefore, be sure that they use a sample APA research paper if they're required to follow APA style and not a sample MLA paper.

MLA Research Paper Format

The MLA research paper format is the style that a learner will have to use as he/she completes his/her assignment.  All professors and institutions adopt a particular style guide that they require their students to use.  However, some professors are stricter than others when it comes to enforcing the style guide.

The two most popular style guides for research papers are MLA and APA.  The MLA research paper format is the most popular style, as it's most widely used in all levels of study and by all academic departments.  APA style is preferred by journalism professors, in most cases.  

The MLA research paper format basically states that students should always have a cover page with their documents.  On this cover page, the student should state the title of the report in the center of the page about one third of the way down the page.  Just under the title, the student should state his/her name.  At the bottom of the cover page, the student should state the date and the course title.  

The font that students should use throughout the document is 12-point, Times New Roman.  The MLA research paper format also requires that students have one inch margins around the four sides.  The indentation at the beginning of each paragraph should be five spaces, or the equivalent of the TABS key, in MLA research paper formats.  

Also, MLA research paper formats require that students put their last name followed by the page number at the top of each page, except the cover page.  In some cases, professors might ask students to leave their names out, though.  

The purpose of MLA research paper formats is to ensure that all papers that a professor receives are uniform.  This uniformity helps the professor to be sure that the reports are of an appropriate length and he/she isn't distracted by formatting issues.  

There are many similarities between MLA research paper formats and APA formats.  However, the differences are enough to make them two separate formats.  Therefore, students need to be aware that if they're required to complete an assignment according to MLA style, they shouldn't compose a report according to APA style.  The major difference between the two styles will appear in the cover page, as APA requires student to put page numbers and an abstract of the title on the cover page.

Parts of an APA Research Paper

An APA research paper is a lengthy text that examines one topic by reporting on a variety of scholarly views on that topic in the writing style preferred by the American Psychological Association (APA).  An APA research paper is different from other types of academic works only in its style and formatting requirements.  These requirements are typically expressed by the instructor of the course for which the APA research paper is being composed.  They may also be found in the APA Publication Manual.

The content of most research papers, regardless of style and format, will be similar.  They will present multiple scholarly resources on the topic they're examining and discuss what the findings and ideas of those scholarly resources suggest about the topic at large.  APA research papers are no different.  Students will need to devote significant time and dedication to a scholarly investigation of their topic and then present it in a logical and organized way.  The difference in APA research papers is simply in the way in which that content is presented.

The first element of an APA research paper is the title page.  The title page should present the title of the report, the student's name, and the name of the student's course, professor, and institution.  It should also list the date on which the work is being submitted, and what is known as a "running head."  A running head is an abbreviated form of the paper's title, and should be presented on the first line of the title page, justified to the left.

Following the title page, some instructors will require that APA research papers include abstracts.  An abstract is a summary of the main points.  If included, the abstract should be brief but should encapsulate the primary points of each of the paper's main sections.

The body of APA research papers will vary depending on the writer's topic and field.  However, it's customary for all APA research papers to be divided into several different sections that are each clearly labeled with a different heading.  For instance, the beginning of an APA research paper may be labeled "Introduction," the research problems may be labeled "Research Problems," etc.  Frequently, an instructor will determine what sections and headings he/she wants the report to have.

Within the body of the text, the learner will incorporate the findings of his/her research.  Note that APA style favors the use of paraphrasing over quotation.  Therefore, use quotations only when the phrasing can't be successfully reworded, or when the author's statement is most clear when it's left in quoted form.  Otherwise, summarize researchers' findings in a paraphrase.  Both paraphrases and quotations need to be accurately cited according to APA style, which requires that the name of the author and the year the study was published be documented for all sources.  For quotations, the citation must also include the page number from which the source came.

At the end of the document, the student must include a page titled "References" that lists, in alphabetical order, all of the sources mentioned.  These must be documented according to APA requirements, which are detailed in the APA Publication Manual.

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