How To Make The Most Of An MLA Format Research Paper Sample

Experts agree that one of the best ways to learn how to properly write and format a research paper is by having a sample to use as a guide. There are several places where you can get a reliable sample, including academic journals, the internet, and even from your professor. But what do you do when you finally have an example to work from? What do you look for? How does it help? Here are some ways to make the most of a great MLA sample:

Notice How the Paper Is Organized

One of the first things to look for is how the different sections – the abstract, the methodologies, bibliography – are organized. Each discipline will have a different formatting style to follow, but if you’re working within MLA’s guidelines consider yourself one of the lucky students. An MLA research paper is one of the most straightforward assignments you can possibly work on. Just take a look at the example and you will find out for yourself.

Pay Attention to Logic and Structure

After checking how a sample is organized, take note of how an argument unfurls, in terms of logic and structure. Depending on the subject there are several different ways to do this, but there are some structures that are easier to follow and thus make more sense than others. For instance, if you are writing on history you may find that an argument that develops chronologically makes the most sense. If you are writing on philosophy you may find that grouping like-minded philosophers makes the most sense.

Take Note of Proper Formatting

As mentioned earlier, MLA is one of the easiest format styles to work with. But there are still many details you need to make sure you follow. Papers will generally have one-inch margins all around and will not require a separate title page, but there are many other rules we can’t begin to cover here that you should know. Therefore use your example to help you navigate through all of the technical details that separate great papers from the rest.

Look at How Citations are Made

One of the most complicated parts of writing an MLA research paper is knowing how to properly make citations when you quote, paraphrase or use data provided by somebody else. Use your sample to get a full understanding of how this works as well as some insight as to why it’s important. Citing properly will ensure you aren’t penalized a letter grade or, worse, are accused of plagiarism.