Easy Manual On Organizing An MLA Format Research Paper Outline
So, you're writing a paper for school or work. How will track your study? How will you remember not to forget something? With a Formal MLA Outline.
Is a research paper only what a professor assigns in class? Perdue University defines it as the result of a process of investigation and source evaluation, involving authorities, furthering the subject it is written and providing the writer a chance to increase their understanding.
Attorneys use legal sources to draft briefs to file in court, physicians use manuals to investigate illnesses about which they want to write in professional papers, and sales representatives use the Internet to gather information for marketing plans. These examples resemble papers, only they are documents professionals prepare.
Regardless of whether Perdue or anyone else would argue that papers are limited to students, a research paper MLA outline would nonetheless help all authors prepare better documents. It categorizes and keeps track of data, keeps authors organized and less likely to forget important information, which in turn makes the paper easier to write and more thorough.
Modern Language Association Format for Documents
A research paper MLA, or, Modern Language Association, the format is a page setup that has been accepted by educators, journalists, and publishers for more than fifty years. It is as follows:
- 12 point font;
- One-inch margins on all sides;
- 1/2 inch paragraph indents;
- Double-spaced text;
- One space only after periods or other punctuation; and,
- Page numbers in the upper right corner.
The Formal MLA Outline
The Outline is then arranged in descending order as follows:
- First Level: Topics. The first level lists each topic using Roman Numerals (I, II, III) in complete sentences and paragraphs.
- Second Level: Supporting Facts. The second level appears directly under the First Level to which it pertains, indented one extra time, identified with capital letters (A, B, C). Details supporting each topic are written out in note taking form and complete sentences and proper punctuation are not necessary (e.g. take pill w/ H2O & food).
- Third Level: Finer Details. The third level appears directly under the Second Level to which it pertains, indented one extra time, identified with numbers (1, 2, and 3). This level is used only if the notes in the correlating Supporting Fact weren’t enough and further clarification was necessary.
- Additional Levels: the above levels are normally sufficient for basic outlines. If more details are required, they should be added first using small case letters (a, b, c) then with numbers in parenthesis [(1), (2)]
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