On this site, you will find general information about MLA and APA format styles with specific requirements regarding title pages, headings, margins, and pagination. Regardless of the style manual you follow, use only standard fonts for your paper. Do not enlarge the font to make your paper appear longer; do not make the font smaller so you can fit your paper into the prescribed number of pages. Do not use a cursive or decorative font.
This site offers only examples of the more common citations students use. For a wider range of topics, you need to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Both style books are available in the bookstore and at the library.
General format and title page: Your research paper needs to be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches). Use one-inch margins on all four sides of each page. Unless your professor specifically calls for one, a title page is unnecessary. In place of a title page, MLA style requires a heading on the first page of your paper. The heading appears in the top, left corner of the first page, double-spaced. The heading includes your name, your professor's name, the course you are taking, and the date. Center your title one line below the heading. Double-space the title if it extends past the first line. Write your title in capital and lower-case letters. Do not underline your title or put it in quotation marks. The page number preceded by your last name should appear in the upper right corner one-half inch from the top. Do not use a hyphen, period, or any other punctuation with the page number. Use this example as a guide:
April 1, 1999
Argumentative Strategies of Dan Quayle
and Lloyd Bentsen: A Critical Analysis
of Vice-Presidential Debates
This sentence begins the amazing research
paper you will turn in to Dr. Moore who will no
doubt be so overwhelmed with its excellence that
he will ask you to submit it for publication.
Headings: If your paper is long you may divide it into sections (for example, "Literature Review," "Research Method and Results," and "Discussion"). In some cases, you may divide one or more of those sections into other sections (for example, you might divide the second section listed above into "Participants," "Interview Protocol," and "Caveats"). Your purpose would be to improve clarity. Divisions might help a reader better follow a discussion that extends for twenty-five written pages. Consistently using the same style of heading for each level informs the reader whether the upcoming topic is a subtopic of the previous discussion or another central issue. Select a form for each level of division (for example, you might write Level 1 centered, caps and lower case; Level 2 flush left, lower case only, etc.); use the same form for the same level your paper. Regardless of the system you choose, the title on the title page should conform to MLA standards.
Margins and spacing: All margins should measure one inch. Page numbers will appear within the top margin, but no other text should extend past the one-inch margins. Indent five spaces to begin paragraphs. Double-space the text of your paper.
Pagination: Number all pages of your paper in the upper right corner, one-half inch from the top. Do not write -2- or p. 2. The number should appear by itself with no punctuation.
General format and title page: Your research paper needs to be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches). Use one to one-and-a-half inch margins on all four sides of each page. APA (American Psychological Association) calls for a title page. A running head on this page is not necessary unless you are submitting your paper for publication. At the top of your title page, flush right and one-half inch from the top edge of the paper (inside your top margin), you will write what is called a "manuscript header." A manuscript header consists of one or two key words from you title followed by the page number (see example). Your title will appear centered on this page, written in capital and lower-case letters. If your title extends past one line, double-space between lines. Your name will appear centered and in capital and lower-case letters one double-spaced line below your title. Your university name (Oregon State University) will be placed one double-spaced line below your name. If you are a communication major, you also will include below the institution's name the title of your department. For example:
Classroom Violence 1
Effects of Verbal Aggressiveness
on Proclivity for Violence
Oregon State University
Department of Speech Communication
Following your title page, the remainder of your paper should be placed in the following order:
abstract (if one is required)
author identification notes
The pages of your manuscript should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page, as part of the manuscript header in the upper right corner of each page. Your references should begin on a separate page from the text of the paper under the label "References" (with no quotation marks, underlining, etc.), centered at the top of the page. Appendices and notes should be formatted similarly.
Headings: APA style prescribes five heading levels, but they vary according to the length of your paper. If you are writing a formal piece to be submitted to an undergraduate conference, closely consult the APA style book. For class papers, ask for your professor's preference. If no preference is given, follow the suggestions written in this section under MLA.
Margins and spacing: Leave margins of at least one inch on all sides of your paper. Page numbers will appear within the top margin, but no other text should extend into the margins. Indent five to seven spaces to begin paragraphs. Double-space the text of your paper.
Pagination: Page numbers should be placed in the top margin one inch from the right side of the paper. The number should appear by itself with no punctuation.