Ask a Professional: How Do You Format Your Research Papers?
There are several main formats of research papers that can be used by students. You should ask your supervisor if you have to choose a certain format or to apply the one you are comfortable with. Many students agree that it helps a lot to ask for sample papers and learn the main formatting guidelines. It is a challenging task to answer a question about how one should format a research paper, but the directions below cover the most important points, so study them carefully and visit your instructor if you have any doubts.
- Use modern computer technologies to make formatting easier: You can use several word processors to type and format the paper. Besides, there is plenty of clever program solutions to work with tables, design figures, paste citations, edit equations, and compose tables of content. If you have troubles with formatting, search online and install useful software.
- Type with double spacing: The text should be readable and neat. It is recommended to use Times New Roman font in a 12 pt. size. Avoid non-serif fonts and do not try to make something special and fancy. Remember that this is a formal assignment, so keep it simple and do not mix font styles.
- Apply the same margins all the way round: Never use margins that are less than one inch. It is better to use 1 ¼ inch margins. Justified margins make your text look nice, but it is better to avoid them, because they may create inappropriate spacing.
- Pay attention to the spacing: Punctuation marks do not require special spacing. There is no need to put extra spacing after a semicolon, period, colon, etc.
- Be careful with quotations: There is a set of rules relevant to quotations. For example, do not use spacing around quotation marks, choose the right parentheses, and keep in mind that commas and periods are put inside quotation marks.
- Do not underestimate the importance of titles: When your title is unclear, it means that you do not focus your research. It is a common rule to capitalize all the important words of the titles. The first and last words are always capitalized. The title never ends with a period, but you can use an exclamation or question mark if necessary. Remember that you should not put quotation marks around your titles.
- Format the first page according to the requirements: In some cases, you do not have to prepare a separate title page. If so, do not forget to provide your name and surname, date, and a course number at the first page of the paper.