The Ultimate Guide To Formatting Your Research Paper

Research papers undoubtedly involve a lot of detailed work to hit their mark. While the content matters, presentation is also crucial to research paper writing. That said, academics and research writers must follow strict and detailed formatting and citation guidelines.

However, several formatting styles are available, so sticking to your school’s requirements is essential. This article will delve into the various types of research paper formatting and the general guidelines.

Why is research paper formatting important?

Research paper formatting is important for various reasons. For starters, it compels your readers to take your work more seriously, as it reflects your standard of professionalism. Likewise, formatting can help students understand what their department requires from them.

While writing research papers may seem tedious, formatting can help researchers pay attention to details and produce a well-curated work without stress. With formatting, it is easier to credit writers of each paper, article, or journal you have used in your work, so feel free to consider this.

How many types of formatting do researchers use?

As mentioned earlier, several formatting types are available for researchers to leverage. It’s worth noting that each style has its specific application methods and uses. Here are some popular formatting options used in research papers and academic journals.

  • APA formatting– The American Psychological Association method is mostly used by researchers in the fields of psychology, social sciences, and education.
  • MLA formatting– scholars and students in the humanities, literature and arts fields often use the Modern Language Association formatting style.
  • AMA formatting– the American Medical Association style is often evident in research papers relating to medicine, health, and biological sciences.
The Ultimate Guide to Formatting Your Research Paper
The Ultimate Guide to Formatting Your Research Paper

How do you format your research paper?

It’s important to note that most academic research papers use the APA and MLA formats. That said, these guidelines are applicable to all papers and isn’t exclusive to any formatting style.

  • Page and paragraph numbers

Numbering is an integral part of your research paper, and should be found on each page. Experts recommend placing them at precisely 1.25 centimetres (½ an inch) from the top upper-right hand corner, leaning towards the right margin. Numberings are usually done in Arabic numerals, so keep this in mind.

As a tip, avoid using other symbols with your page numbers, such as asterisk, hyphen, and so on. You will also write your last name before the page number if you use the MLA format.

  • Margins and line spacing

Leave 1 inch or 2.5 centimetre margins on the left, right, top and bottom of each psge. As a tip, use ten typed spaces to create your margins. It’s worth noting that your research paper is neater and more readable with margins. While at it, leverage double-spacing for the best results.

  • Section headings and subheadings

Headings introduce main sections of your paper. That said, ensure they are capitalised, double-spaced from lines above and beneath them, and aligned to the centre. Subheadings are also important as they make your work more organized.

However, you only need to capitalise the first letter of each subheading and align them to the left side of the page (justified). You can italicise or underline your subheadings, depending on your preference. You can also make them bold, so keep this in mind.

  • Title page

Your title page should contain the following:

  • Title of your paper
  • Your full name
  • Your school or institution
  • Header (which contains your title in capitalised letters).

When drafting your title, make it a point to use descriptive words that you and other readers can associate with your research.

The Ultimate Guide to Formatting Your Research Paper
The Ultimate Guide to Formatting Your Research Paper
  • Abstract

Your abstract should summarise your subject matter and other predominant aspects of your research in 200 to 300 words. It should contain the following:

  • Your research questions
  • Purpose of your research
  • Your chosen research design
  • Information on your research methodology
  • Key findings in the form of trends or quantitative results
  • A brief but clear summary of your interpretation and conclusion
  • Results’ implications.

Get your research paper formatting right!

Stressing over your research paper formatting is over, as we are here to ensure that your work is meticulously written and organised to impress and captivate your readers. Simply contact us on +233 548334499 and [email protected].



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