MLA research paper example

When you have specific instructions for a writing assignment, it is vital that you follow these instructions to the letter. On many occasions a student is disappointed even devastated when they receive their grade for a paper they truly thought was well researched and well-written. Why is this so? They didn't follow the instructions. It’s a common complaint from tutors and examiners. The student wrote well, even very well, but they didn’t answer the question.

If you have to write a research paper using the MLA system, there is a standard set of rules to follow as far as layout of your paper is concerned. The MLA or Modern Language Association system has been in use for many years and it is used by students, scholars, journalists and more. It is a universally recognized system. Its points of order are clearly expressed and easy to understand. If you are creating an essay, dissertation or research paper and have been asked specifically to format your work using the Modern Language Association system, then you have plenty of opportunity to complete your work in that way. There are books, web sites and pamphlets all explaining the ways and means of the MLA system.

You must acknowledge sources

It is essential that when creating your paper and you quote from a publication be it a book, magazine or newspaper article be it in printed form or online, you must correctly and properly notate the source. The MLA system details specifically how you make such acknowledgments.

Now just to complicate matters, albeit slightly, there are variations allowed which depend on the source document from which you have quoted. If it's a single book with a single author then a certain format is used. The order is the author’s name beginning with their surname, then the title followed by the publisher’s details and the date of publication. However, if your source is a magazine or newspaper article then a slight variation occurs. Likewise, if the source is from an online publication, a third variation is recommended. These may seem like minor variations but if followed accurately, they make reading a document, your paper, so much easier.

There are dozens of websites and printed publications available which detail the MLA system. It is your responsibility to discover the method. It is not complicated. Once you use the MLA system it becomes second nature to put it into practice.

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