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MLA & APA Citation: Format Your Paper

Format Your Paper

Order of Sections (2.01-2.13)

  1. Title, Author, and College
  2. Abstract (separate page)
  3. Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
  4. References
  5. Appendices (including tables & figures)

Margins & Page Numbers (8.03)

  • 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
  • Use page numbers, including title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin

Text Format (8.03)

  • Use Times New Roman, 12 point. For numbers, use a sans serif font
  • Double-space and align text to the left
  • Use active voice
  • Don't overuse technical jargon
  • No periods after a web or email address

Running Head (8.03)

  • Shorten title to 50 characters or less for the running head
  • In the top margin, align left with the page number aligned on the right
  • On the first page, put "Running head: [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number]" after that, just use "SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number]"

Title Page (2.01-2.03)

  • Include the title, your name, the class name, and the college's name
  • Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
  • No periods or abbreviations
  • Do not italicize or underline
  • No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
  • Center horizontally in upper half of the page

Abstract (2.04)

  • Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent first line
  • Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
  • Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper

Body (2.05-2.10 & 4.15)

  • Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent
  • Double-space
  • Include sections: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion
  • Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
  • Write out numbers up to nine and use a number for 10 or more
  • Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times
  • Capitalize major words in the titles of books and articles
  • Center and bold level 1 heading, align level 2 headings left and bold, and indent level 3 heading left, bold, and follow with text

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Quotations (4.08-4.09)

  • Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
  • For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
  • When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
  • Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote

References (2.11 & 4.15)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

  • Center "References" at the top of the new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
  • List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B.F.)
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
  • Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
  • No quotation marks around titles of articles

Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (2.13)

  • Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
  • Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
  • For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
  • If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
  • If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
  • Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
  • Notes go below tables and figures

Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. Give each entry a hanging indent. In the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent.

Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.