What is a research paper in MLA Format? MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association, and such research papers follow specific guidelines for citing sources. A research paper written in MLA format adheres to the MLA rules and guidelines. It has twelve-point font, double-spacing within the text, in-text parenthetical citations, as well as sources referenced on a Works Cited Page, a header addressed appropriately (student’s name, course name, title, professor, etc.), as well as a title page that is formatted according to MLA rules and guidelines.
One benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows students how to write papers in the liberal arts and humanities disciplines. MLA is the research format used for cinematic studies, cultural studies, art history, English, History, comparative literature, languages, and other classes. Students can only be approved in these disciplines by writing within the research framework these disciplines require.
Another benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows mastery of MLA style. The best way to test students’ knowledge of a research format is to demand that students produce a research paper in the required format. Knowledge is not knowledge until it is incarnated in application. Students who properly format their papers well need to say nothing of their knowledge—it is evident. Any professor can read students’ research papers and distinguish those who have studied the format from those who have not. This is a huge benefit for professors of English classes. Grades are often (though not always) a reflection of hard work and effort.
Lastly, a benefit of MLA format papers is that, by studying MLA reference style, students will gain an appreciation for the research format. The longer students study how to do MLA format, the better they will become. The better their efforts at learning MLA reference style, the more they will use it; and the more students use the format, the more cherished it will become for them. What was once a tedious, monotonous, and boring exercise will become an acquired skill that will help them better understand research and the scholars that produce it. MLA format could possibly work to increase the number of scholars in academic scholarship!
A research paper in MLA is the culmination of a research effort with the help of the MLA format. Students can turn in their papers on the required due date with a sense of satisfaction for a research job well done.