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General Advice On How To Create An MLA Research Paper With An Abstract

The MLA style for formatting and making citations is a simple style used most often for academic research papers written within the humanities. There are some general rules you can always apply if no specific requirements are given by your professor. Here’ everything you need to do know about creating an MLA research paper with an abstract.

General Formatting Rules

Use standard white 8.5” x 11” paper, double spaced, with a 12-pt legible font. Generally, Times New Roman or Calibri are perfectly acceptable. Put in 1-inch margins all around and be sure to set the text to left justify. Include your first name an page number in the upper-right hand corner of every page about one-half inch from the top margin inside the header. Use an automatic function to ensure the page numbers are automatically set as you add new pages.

An assignment written in MLA does not need a separate title page. Instead put your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date in the upper left hand corner of the first page. On the next line put in the title in regular text (no bold, no italics, and no underline) and centered. You should start the main portion of the text in the next line. All quotations or citations should have the author’s last name and page number. The first entry for each should also include the title of the work being cited.

Formatting the Abstract

The abstract is a short paragraph used by academics and researchers in order to quickly and efficiently decide if a specific work is useful to his or her own study. These are usually placed at the beginning of the work; but as this is formatted in MLA, most instructors prefer the abstract to be written as a separate page attached to either the back or in the front of the work. Consistency is key so it would be to your benefit to get specific instructions from your professor before assuming the abstracts location.

The abstract should be no more than 250 – 300 words maximum and should directly and concisely describe what your work is about. Rewrite your thesis statement and provide a few sentences detailing the exact talking points in the body paragraphs. Provide one more sentence summarizing your findings. Place this short paragraph about a third of the page down with the simple header “Abstract” to signal the readers what the content is about.