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Citation: Format Your Paper

Format Your Paper

Order of Sections for Student Papers (2.2)

  1. Title Page with Page Number: Title in bold, Author, College, Course, Instructor, Due Date
  2. Body (including title, introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
  3. References
  4. Appendices (including tables & figures)

Margins, Fonts, & Page Numbers (2.18-24)

  • Margin: 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
  • Use page numbers, including title page, 1/2 inch from top and aligned right
  • Use Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 10, Times New Roman 12, or Georgia 11

Title Page (2.03)

  • Include your name, college name, course name, instructor name, and due date
  • Title should be concise and state the paper's main idea
  • Title should be bolded
  • Capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle as well as all main words and leave all minor words (and, at, about, for, the, etc.) lowercase
  • Do not use periods or abbreviations
  • Do not italicize, underline, or use all capital letters
  • Center horizontally in upper half of the page

Body (2.26-27)

  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
  • Double-space and align text to the left (do not justify text)
  • Include sections: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion
  • Write concisely and clearly, using professional language; however, favor active over passive voice, and use “I” and “you” to this end
  • Do not overuse technical jargon
  • 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, but always write out numbers that start a sentence
  • 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 align level 3 headings left, bold, and italicized


Quotations (8.23-27)

  • 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
  • If citing only one source multiple times within one paragraph, cite it once in the first sentence as long as the source remains clear
  • 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 (2.12 & 9.4-5)

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 and bold "References" at the top of the new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (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; if no author, by title (not including a, the, or an)
  • 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 (2.15)

  • 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 (9.51)

  • Double-space and align text to the left (do not justify text)
  • Give each entry a hanging indent
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name; if no author, by title (not including a, the, or an)
  • Indent the annotation a half inch from the left margin
  • If the annotation has multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph after the first another half inch
  • Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate