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Research paper formats: MLA and APA


There are many different research paper formats out there. The most popular for students in an academic setting include:

  • Harvard style
  • Chicago style
  • MLA style
  • APA style

MLA and APA are the two most popular for academic essays. MLA is often used for English or Literature papers while APA is often reserved for social sciences or other research papers. Both are a means of formatting the content of your paper in a similar fashion and of citing your sources within the text. They each require a title as well as a reference page. APA requires a cover sheet and an abstract page while MLA often places the cover sheet information at the top left hand corner of the first page with the title of the essay and the introductory paragraph directly beneath. In both formats that title of your paper should be centered. Make sure to review the citation guides for both styles in order to properly format your references.

Many students have the same fears when it comes to writing an essay. They are afraid that their essay will be the worst essay out of everyone in the class. If this describes your fears then it is important that you try and relax. Do not let this fear hold you back from writing your essay. Instead allow this fear to motivate you so that you write the best possible essay.

Other students are afraid that their essay will sound childish or remedial because they lack the right academic words. If this describes your fears then it is important to remember that no one is perfect and it takes practice at writing essays and reading before you can write like an expert. You will not be judged on a lack of five dollar words if your essay has a solid argument and proper structure.

Then there are the students who fear that they cannot come up with an original thesis. If this describes your fear then it is important that you remember the purpose of your writing is not just to come up with a viewpoint on a subject that has never been thought of by anyone else around the world before. The purpose is for you to read and learn about the work done by other writers or other researchers and to comment on that work in your own way. Originality will come in due time.

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Writing Advice

Make sure you always follow the specific finalizing instructions from your teacher, because they will be marking your research paper and looking for those things.

Don’t rely completely on your word processor’s spell check, because it won’t catch everything. Print your research paper if you can, and give it a good old fashioned proofread.

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Research paper writing advice