First Page of Research Paper (MLA Style)
- At the top of the first page, at the left-hand margin, type and double space:
your instructor's name
the course name and number
the date: day, month, year
- Then double-space again and center the title above your text.
(If your title requires more than one line, double-space between the lines.)
The title should not be underlined and it should not be written in all capital letters.
Capitalize only the first, last, and principal words of the title. Titles might end with a question mark or an exclamation mark if that is appropriate, but not in a period.
- Double-space again before beginning your text
- Number your pages consecutively throughout the manuscript (including the first page) in the upper right-hand corner of each page, one-half inch from the top.
- Type your last name before the page number.
• Suggested Citation Guides
Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual. 5th ed.
New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
New York: Modern Language Association, 2009. Print.
A Statement on Plagiarism
Using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism. "Ideas or phrasing" includes written or spoken material, of course – from whole papers and paragraphs to sentences, and, indeed, phrases – but it also includes statistics, lab results, art work, etc. "Someone else" can mean a professional source, such as a published writer or critic in a book, magazine, encyclopedia, or journal; an electronic resource such as material we discover on the World Wide Web; another student at our school or anywhere else; a paper-writing "service" (online or otherwise) which offers to sell written papers for a fee.
Let us suppose, for example, that we're doing a paper for Music Appreciation on the child prodigy years of the composer and pianist Franz Liszt and that we've read about the development of the young artist in several sources. In Alan Walker's book Franz Liszt: The Virtuoso Years (Ithaca: 1983), we read that Liszt's father encouraged him, at age six, to play the piano from memory, to sight-read music and, above all, to improvise. We can report in our paper (and in our own words) that Liszt was probably the most gifted of the child prodigies making their mark in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century – because that is the kind of information we could have gotten from a number of sources; it has become what we call common knowledge.
However, if we report on the boy's father's role in the prodigy's development, we should give proper credit to Alan Walker. We could write, for instance, the following: Franz Liszt's father encouraged him, as early as age six, to practice skills which later served him as an internationally recognized prodigy (Walker 59). Or, we could write something like this: Alan Walker notes that, under the tutelage of his father, Franz Liszt began work in earnest on his piano playing at the age of six (59). Not to give Walker credit for this important information is plagiarism.