How to Cite a Research Paper Using MLA Format

If you are a high school or college student, you will come across a situation where you will need to cite a research paper, dissertation, or create an annotated bibliography. There are numerous formatting styles, but the most commonly used are the MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. Our paper writing service writers will teach you how to correctly cite a research paper in MLA format in this article.


What exactly is MLA Formatting?

MLA is the Modern Language Association’s formatting style, which is used in English studies, comparative literature, foreign language, and literature or cultural studies. This academic style guide is widely used in the US, Canada, and other countries.

Formatting the Front Page

So, how do you format a research paper in MLA format? A research paper in MLA format consists of four major components.


Except for the running head, page margins should be 1 inch on both sides of the text and top and bottom.

Text Formatting

It is recommended to use Times New Roman typeface when writing a research paper or another academic assignment because it is easily readable. Set the size to the standard, which is usually 12 points.

Change the single-spaced line spacing to double-spaced. This makes reading easier on the eyes and allows the professor to make critical remarks neat and organized. In addition, the first line of a paragraph should be indented 12 inches from the left margin.


Fill out the course information in the top-left corner of the front page. The title page of an MLA format research paper should look like this:

  • Full Name
  • Name of Teacher/Professor
  • Name of Course
  • Due Date for Assignment

After double spacing, type your title below the date, aligned center, and without a period in the end. Your title should not be bold, italicized, or underlined. There is one exception to the rule: use italics if another source’s title is included in yours. Make sure you follow the capitalization rules. Check the MLA Handbook (pp. 67–68) to see if it’s correct.

An MLA title for a research paper in MLA format looks like this:

Sarah E. Johnson

Professor Lumpur

Biology 201

2 Apr 2019

Page Numbers

In the top right-hand corner, enable automatic page numbering. This is done to keep track of the page order, and it also looks nice. Allow a 12-inch margin from the top and flush with the right margin.


The In-Text Citation

In-text citations are usually subordinate, meaning information is always added in parentheses at the end of the sentence. However, if you include the necessary information in the sentence’s language, you should omit the parenthetical citation.

For example, if the author’s name appears in the in-text citation, there is no need to include it at the end; insert the page number, and you’re done referencing.

The reader may become confused if two sources are from the same author. When they look at the source, they will discover two different articles. To avoid this, include a brief title for each research citation so that readers know which authorities to look for.

When a source has two or three authors, include the last names of all authors. When there are four or more authors, they must all be listed after the first author’s last name.

Include references in two sections when citing a research paper in MLA format: The quotes used in the essay are listed on the Works Cited page at the end.



The citation information contained within the body of the paper is referred to as an “in-text citation.” When you use a direct quote from a source or refer to it by title or author, it is most obvious to use it in the text.

You should generally include the author’s last name and page number enclosed in parentheses following the quote. If the author’s name appears in your sentence, you only need to include the page number in the bracket.


The Works Cited page

  • References: When referencing sources in an MLA research paper, you must inform the readers about your sources to cite this information. The reference page is also known as the “Works Cited” page. The author gives credit to the source on this page. A citation includes the alphabetical order of the author’s last name, the title of the article, and the date issued.
  • Stick to the following format: Author(s)->”Article Title.” ->”Journal Volume Title.” Pages in the issue (Year)
  • Sources Electronic. Use the inventor’s name and page number or area number from electronic sources for in-substance references. This is only applicable if the information lacks page or section numbers in any way. After referring to the recorded data, you would include the author’s name in the section.