Formatting is one of the rules you need to adhere to as you prepare to write your research paper. Whether you are using the MLA or the APA style, there are common rules you need to follow so that you can write and present your ideas in a structured and logical manner. However, when you draft your paper, follow the specific instructions and guidelines that your lecturers give you. That provision means that you should give such specific guidelines more importance than the general ones that I will share with you in this post. This article will give you some ideas on formatting a research paper.
Enhancing the readability of your paper
The printing or typing font type and size you use for your paper is vital in formatting. You are supposed to use a 12-point font for example Times and Helvetica. Regarding spacing, double space your paper using an 8 ½” x 11” paper size. You also need to use a 1-inch that is single sided.
Margins are a vital component of formatting you need to take care of. When formatting your research paper allow margins of 1 inch on the top, bottom, right, and left side of all your pages. However, if you are numbering your paper’s pages, leave a ½-inch space at the right side of your paper’s top.
Even though title pages are not a mandatory requirement for all research papers, use it if your lecturer asks you to. But in such cases, you will need to take the word of your professor as final.
This page is the initial page of your paper, and it needs to have the following:
- You will need to type a running head in uppercase beneath the page number and it has to be aligned to the left
- After the running head, type the following beneath it but using small and capital letters as appropriate: The title of the paper; your name; and the name of your learning institution.
The abstract is another area of your research paper format you need to pay attention to. But how long is a research paper abstract supposed to be? The abstract should be about two hundred words, but not more than that. This section needs to come after you have done the rest of the paper so you can get the details to summarize.
When writing a summary, balance between clarity and brevity so that you don’t cut off necessary words that could have helped your readers to understand your paper. You have to let your abstract include the following components.
- Your study’s aim
- Briefly, describe how you approached the problem
- The deductions of the research
- Any emerging question
But how do you style your abstract? Do the following:
- It should fit within one paragraph only
- You need to write it in past tense
- It has to be a stand-alone section of the paper
- Its facts should not differ from what you have captured in other parts of the paper
- All the information and data needs to be accurate
Page and paragraph numbering
Numbering of your paragraphs and pages is vital in the format of a research paper. You ought to insert all your numbers on the right top side of all your pages with a 1/2- inch margin from the edge of the page. Also, number them using the Arabic script but don’t add any other thing such as hyphening or underlining.
You should also number your paper’s paragraphs. Additionally, you need to number the paragraphs using the Arabic script. Just like the pages, don’t try to add any fancy decorations to the numbering.
How to space your lines
You also need to pay attention to the formatting of your research paper’s lines. You need to ensure that you use double spacing between every line with a 1-inch margin on every side so as to leave enough space for your lecturers to comment on your work.
How to space your words
Your research paper setup is incomplete if you don’t take care of how you space your words. As a rule of thumb, you are supposed to give an allowance for a single space between each word, and after punctuations such as question marks and colons. However, you should not leave any spacing after a punctuation mark such as a comma.
Blunders to beware of
After looking at what you need to do to format your research paper, below are costly goofs you need to avoid:
- Dividing figures and tables instead of confining them to one page
- Submitting papers that are out of order
- Placing headings at the bottom of pages with its details on the next page
Tips to enhance your paper’s formatting
- Indent the initial lines of all paragraphs
- Use formal language
- Don’t use unnecessary figures
- Know where and when to use the past and present tenses
Research paper help from Custom Writing Bee expert writers
This article has shared with you the general principles that govern the formatting of your research paper. It has shown how to format all the key sections of the paper such as the abstract, indenting, spacing of paragraphs and lines, margins and numbering your paragraphs, and pages. With all this at your fingertips, you are set to fly to new heights of excellence in the way you format your research paper. But if you face any disruptions before writing your research paper, you are always welcome for help. Custom Writing Bee Expert Writers are here to assist all students in every area of writing your research paper. Talk to us today.