How To Write A Good Research Paper In The MLA Format: Getting A Sample

MLA style is one of the most common writing styles used in the humanities. Students may have to use this style in their composition, religion, history, English, philosophy or literature classes. To get a top score on an essay, students need to learn how to use MLA style correctly. If the paper is not formatted properly, the professor may return it for corrections.


In this style of writing, students should always double space the entire document. This includes any works cited, writing or quotations. The paper should use a one-inch margin around every edge. At the end of the document, the student must list a works cited page that includes any of their sources. Although the works cited page has several in-depth requirements, students can use a few basic rules to complete it. In the works cited, any book title, play, magazine, pamphlet or newspaper should have the name underlined. Specific articles in a magazine or poems should have the name placed in quotation marks.

On the top of each page, students should add a number that allows the reader to track where they are at in the paper. Page numbers also help students reorganize their essay if they accidentally drop the papers. In addition to these requirements, students should always use present tense whenever they are introducing a quotation. Past tense is only used for quotes that are already in past tense. This tense is also used for discussing historical events.

Why Should Students Use a Sample?

Remembering all of the different formatting rules can be impossible for even the best of students. Using a writing guide helps, but it takes time to flip through the pages. Instead of wasting time, students should find a sample paper that is written in MLA style. They can use this sample to guide how they format and write their paper. A sample paper is also an excellent tool for creating and formatting a works cited page.

Finding an Example

For English classes, the professor will normally hand out an example of a good paper. Other humanities classes may not provide sample papers. In these cases, the student will need to go online to look for a sample. There are free essay sites, writing services, academic pages and tutors online that offer free examples. If this technique does not work, the student can always ask their teacher for a sample of MLA style writing.

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