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Creating a Research Paper


In both academic and business environments, you will be asked to write reports. Business reports range form proposals to cost justifications to five-year plans to research findings. Academic reports focus mostly on research findings. Whether you are writing a business report or an academic report, you should follow a standard style when preparing it.

Many different styles of documentation exist for report preparation, depending on the nature of the report. Each style requires the same basic information; the differences among styles appear in the manner of presenting the information. For example, one documentation style may use the term bibliography, whereas another uses references, and yet a third prefers works cited. Two popular documentation styles for research papers are the MLA (Modern Language Association of America) and APA (American Psychological Association) styles. The project uses the MLA documentation style.

MLA Documentation Style

When writing papers, you should adhere to some style of documentation. The research paper in this project follows the guidelines presented by the MLA. To follow the MLA style, double-space text on all pages of the paper with on-inch top, bottom, left, and right margins. Indent the first word of each paragraph one-half inch from the left margin. At the right margin of each page, place a page number one-half inch from the top margin. On each page, precede the page number by your last name.

The MLA style does not require a title page; instead, place your name and course information in a block at the left margin beginning one inch form the top of the page. Center the title one double-space below your name and course information.

In the body of the paper, place author references in parentheses with the page text parenthetical citation instead of footnoting each source at the bottom of the page or at the end of the paper. In the MLA style, footnotes are used only for explanatory notes. In the body of the paper, use superscripts (raised numbers) for note reference marks, which signal that an explanatory note exists.

According to the MLA style, explanatory notes are optional. Explanatory notes are used to elaborate on points discussed in the body of the paper. Explanatory notes may be placed either at the bottom of the page as footnotes or at the end of the paper as endnotes. Double-space the explanatory notes. Superscript each note reference mark, and indent it on-half inch from the left margin. Place one space following the note reference mark before beginning the note text. At the end of the note text, you may list bibliographical information for further reference.

The MLA style uses the term works cited for the bibliographical references. The works cited page alphabetically lists works that are referenced directly in the paper by each author's last name, or, if the author's name is not available, by the title of the work. Place the works cited on a separate numbered page. Center the title, Works Cited, one inch from the top margin. Double-space all lines. Begin the first line of each entry at the left margin; indent subsequent line of the same entry one-half inch from the left margin.