Proper way to format a research paper


General Formatting Guidelines

The list of works cited appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes. Begin the list on a new page. The list contains the same running head as the main text. The page numbering in the running head continues uninterrupted throughout. For example, if the text of your research paper including any endnotes ends on page 10, the works-cited list begins on page Center the title, Works Cited , an inch from the top of the page fig.

If the list contains only one entry, make the heading Work Cited. Double-space between the title and the first entry. Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines half an inch from the left margin. This format is sometimes called hanging indention , and you can set your writing program to create it automatically for a group of paragraphs.

Hanging indention makes alphabetical lists easier to use. Double-space the entire list. Continue it on as many pages as necessary. Place tables and illustrations as close as possible to the parts of the text to which they relate. A table is usually labeled Table , given an arabic numeral, and titled. Type both label and title flush left on separate lines above the table, and capitalize them as titles do not use all capital letters.

Give the source of the table and any notes immediately below the table in a caption.


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To avoid confusion between notes to the text and notes to the table, designate notes to the table with lowercase letters rather than with numerals. Double-space throughout; use dividing lines as needed fig. Any other type of illustrative visual material—for example, a photograph, map, line drawing, graph, or chart—should be labeled Figure usually abbreviated Fig.

If the caption of a table or illustration provides complete information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, no entry for the source in the works-cited list is necessary. Musical illustrations are labeled Example usually abbreviated Ex. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information. The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well.

What is a research paper?

Use your outline to help you. Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:. Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

Tips for Writing the Perfect Research Paper Cover Page

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead. When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence an optional piece of information to include and followed the title with a parenthetical citation.

How to Format Your Research Paper

Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase. Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage.

Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:. The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

How to format your research paper

Skip to content Increase Font Size. Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper. But how do you format your paper to ensure that every detail is correct? If you're a scientific researcher or co-author looking to get your research published, read on to find out how to format your paper.

This article will explore some of the formatting rules that apply to all scientific writing, helping you to follow the correct order of sections IMRaD , understand the requirements of each section, find resources for standard terminology and units of measurement, and prepare your scientific paper for publication. The four main elements of a scientific paper can be represented by the acronym IMRaD: introduction, methods, results, and discussion.

On the first page of the paper, you must present the title of the paper along with the authors' names, institutional affiliations, and contact information. The corresponding author s i. For example:.

In this summary of your research, you must state your subject i. Below the abstract, include a list of key terms to help other researchers locate your study.

13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Note that "keywords" is one word with no space and is followed by a colon:. This is the reader's first impression of your paper, so it should be clear and concise. Include relevant background information on your topic, using in-text citations as necessary. Report new developments in the field, and state how your research fills gaps in the existing research. Focus on the specific problem you are addressing, along with its possible solutions, and outline the limitations of your study.

This is the part of your paper that explains how the research was done. You should relate your research procedures in a clear, logical order i. Simply refer to the established methods you used, but describe any procedures that are original to your study in more detail. Now that you've explained how you gathered your research, you've got to report what you actually found. In this section, outline the main findings of your research. You need not include too many details, particularly if you are using tables and figures. While writing this section, be consistent and use the smallest number of words necessary to convey your statistics.

In this section, you interpret your findings for the reader in relation to previous research and the literature as a whole. Present your general conclusions, including an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the research and the implications of your findings. This section is sometimes included in the last paragraph of the discussion. Explain how your research fits within your field of study, and identify areas for future research. Write a brief paragraph giving credit to any institution responsible for funding the study e.

Some journals require a statement attesting that your research is original and that you have no conflicts of interest i. This section only needs to be a sentence or two long. Here you list citation information for each source you used i. The list of references can be in alphabetical order author—date style of citation or in the order in which the sources are presented in the paper numbered citations.

Follow your style guide; if no guidelines are provided, choose a citation format and be consistent.

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