Format for a Research Papers

September 14, 2020
Format for a Research Papers

One of the most complicated tasks you may ever have to complete as a student is to draft a research paper. Many rules and guidelines are surrounding the task, including those on how you locate, use, and organize information. For your work to be considered outstanding, you will need to deliver a well-formatted paper in line with the highest standards of academic and scholarly writing.

For most students, the process of creating a stellar and well-formatted paper is stressful and time-consuming. It requires spending time on topic selection, gathering and analyzing data, drafting, editing, and proofreading. Still, the writer has to make sure that all the requirements have been met and that the work is logical. In this article, we present some useful insights on how to easily format your research paper.


A lot of work goes into producing a stellar paper. Other than choosing an interesting topic and gathering evidence, you also have to understand how to organize your information. Please understand that there are numerous requirements when it comes to formatting, with different departments and instructors having their own specifications. Before you begin working on your assignment, make sure that you understand what is required.

Here are some general guidelines on how to format a research paper, categorized into components to ease understanding:


Often the way you organize your research paper will depend on a specific style. For instance, you may be asked to use Turabian, MLA, APA, or Chicago styles. While these approaches have variations in terms of the citing, of course, and the use of sections and subsections, we recommend prioritizing legibility and clarity. In other words, your presentation of information should use a legible font like Times New Roman or Arial, using consistent arrangement throughout the document.


Unless when organizing the running head, the whole document ought to have one-inch margins on all sides. For MLA and APA papers, page numbers should appear at the top of each page. Remember to always double-space your paper.


As has been noted, requirements for formatting differ from one department to the next. For instance, your professor may ask for the use of New Times Roman font and may even specify the font size. Remember, the mission of formatting is to ensure legibility and foster clarity. In terms of alignment, always flush texts to the left, with the right margin being uneven. Double-space throughout your work.


The title is an important aspect of your research paper format. Its objective is to capture the attention of the reader, offering concise information relating to the content of the document. Make sure that your title is no more than ten words. When using the APA style, the title page is always the first page. If unsure whether the page is necessary, obtain confirmation from your instructor.

Here are examples of titles for research papers:  

  • The Impact of Shiftwork on the Health of Nurses
  • The Role of Transformational Leadership in Organizational Change

As you can see, there is no period included after the title. The same applies to the headings and subheadings in the rest of the paper.


Although research papers do not necessarily require title pages, this aspect of your work can enhance the presentation. It is particularly ideal when presenting a group project as it allows the listing of all the authors who contributed to the work. Seek clarification from your supervisor or instructor before incorporating a title page.


Research papers tend to be lengthy and should be divided into sections and subsections for clarity. Each main section of your paper should start with a heading, which has to be properly capitalized. Double-spacing applies even in this case. Avoid underlining headers.


Every research paper should have an outline, indicating the contents of the work. The table or organized by listing down the sections and subsections of the document. This allows readers to see how your work is organized and even jump directly to specific sections.


All pages in a research paper ought to be numbered at the top on the right. When using the MLA style, the page number ought to be accompanied by your last name. For APA, however, page numbers are complemented by the running header. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by your professor.

Here is an example of an MLA style page numbering:


When writing a research paper, you should always strive for legibility and clarity. By using the right fonts and consistent ordering, your readers will be able to enjoy your work and make sense of your arguments.

Whether you use Turabian, MLA, AMA, Chicago, or APA formatting styles, the kind of layout incorporated in your document should reflect consistency and legibility. We recommend double space arrangement for the entire paper. You can either use Arial font or Times New Roman.

Here is an example of double-spacing:


Your instructor will offer direction on whether your research paper is to be submitted electronically or as a print document. When asked to print your work, only use good quality white 8½-by-11-inch paper. The printer should also be of high quality, with content printed on a single side to enhance readability.


In any academic paper, all the sources used to support arguments have to be properly recognized within your document as well as in an accurate listing at the end of your paper. In other words, your works cited should be presented at the end of the document. Start listing your bibliographic entries in a fresh page fitting to the style favored by your teacher.

Pay attention to spellings, comas, and abbreviations as you create your bibliographic entries. Remember to keep numbering the pages consistently throughout the document. Most importantly, adhere to the prompt requirements. 

Example of works cited page:


In your student life, you will write tons of different papers, ranging from essays to term papers and dissertations. When tasked with writing research papers, your goal should be to analyze an issue using credible and up-to-date evidence. Remember, the objective is to communicate effectively and intelligently.

Also, research papers have rules governing how they are written and formatted. Of course, your instructor will also have preferences for the organization of information, which should be outlined in an assignment prompt. Make sure to read the instructions, understanding what you have been tasked with accomplishing before you get started. If unsure, seek clarification from your professor.


There is a lot of work that goes into research paper writing. You may find yourself having to spend sleepless nights reading through huge volumes of books. Once you have created an outline gathered evidence, it will be time to draft your work.

While the ideas indicated here should make the writing process easier, we understand that effective research papers require skills that take time to master. If you need assistance with formatting a research paper or if you lack time to write a custom paper on your own, then you should consider professional assistance.

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