Many students tend to face problems and encounter plenty of unknown issues when working on their academic papers, and many would agree to the fact that the most of questions and problems are related to the formatting of their academic paper. It is true that the formatting issue is one of the most complex, and it requires maximum of attention. Usually, college instructors and teachers give their students basic information about the most common academic formatting styles, the main rules and requirements of those, as well as make the students familiar with possible difficulties they can encounter. If you are thinking about your term or research paper format style, if you are looking for effective relevant information and want to get some tips as to how to work on formatting part of your work, go on reading this small article.
First of all, what is research paper format and what are the most commonly used styles? Formatting is a set of special rules and requirements as to such details as text alignment, page margins, page numbering, paragraph indentation, and so on. However, it is more important that formatting style is also setting the rules and requirements as to placing in-text citations and creating references. When you are using some information which is not considered a common knowledge and is understood as thoughts or specific ideas of other people, you should place references to the academic source (a book, a magazine article, etc.) where you took this piece of information from. It is especially valid for such things as quotations. If you fail to reference quotations, thoughts or ideas of other people you’ve used in you academic paper, it will be considered plagiarism and you’ll get an F grade for your academic paper. Formatting styles give you detailed information about how to place in-text citations and references properly.
There is a number of academic papers formatting styles which are chosen by the students for their term or research papers, academic essays, etc. Two of those, MLA and APA, are considered the most popular. MLA is recommended for the academic papers in such fields as psychology, art and others, and APA style is good for academic papers on such fields as social sciences, economy, etc. The guidelines as to paper margins, text formatting and other “technical” issues are almost the same for both styles. Both of the require text be flush left, with 1 inch margin on all sides, typed in 12 pt size, Time New Roman or Courier font, double-spaced. However, there is the main difference: MLA style papers do not require any title page, so the academic work should start right from the very first page with the name of the student, the name of the instructor, the name of the course and the date stated as the first four lines of the work. In contrast to that, APA style papers must have a title page of strictly specified format (see here).
However, everything related to referencing and citing academic sources you used for your work is different for APA and MLA formatting styles. It is quite difficult to mention all the details and particularities as to these differences, and the best way to master the art of referencing in the framework of APA or MLA formatting styles is using samples and examples of the styles. There are plenty of those can be found online, and you should not waste your time for studying and learning general rules of referencing. Just open a sample of referencing a book, a magazine or journal article, a website, or any other academic source, and do exactly the way it is done in the example. Keep in mind that research paper format is not something that is created in order to make your life more complicated. It is a set of rules which are actually helpful and can assist you organize your work, produce an interesting and successful academic paper, and receive a good grade for it. Good luck in your work!