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Dissertation Writing Made Simple: What To Know About The MLA Format

When you write your dissertation, you’ll be required to write it according to a specific formatting style. One of the most common of these formatting styles is the MLA format, and this handy guide will teach you all the most important things you need to know about the MLA style.

What is the MLA formatting style?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is essentially a set of rules and guidelines about how to format a formal paper. These rules and guidelines cover a multitude of aspects of your paper, such as the title page, in-text citations, quotes, references, and even margin sizes. Generally, this style is used for papers in the humanities, like philosophy, so make sure your subject falls within the humanities.

Basic guidelines

There are a few general guidelines you need to follow when using the MLA style. You need to type your paper on a computer, with double-line spacing and a simple font in size 12. Your margins need to be one inch on all sides of your page, and you should only leave one space after full stops or other punctuation marks. Whenever you write the titles of other works, you need to use italics; and you may also use italics sparingly to emphasise certain words. Number your pages in the top right-hand corner of each page, and do number the first page unless your advisor asks you not to. If you have any endnotes, put them on a new page just before your Works Cited page, and call them Notes. Finally, print your dissertation on standard white A4 paper.

The first page

Generally, this style does not require a title page, so only make one if your advisor explicitly asks for one. Start by making a header that consists of your surname, a space, and the page number. Your name, your advisor’s name, the name of the course, and the date need to go in the top left-hand corner of your first page. Next, write you title and centre it, without italicizing or underlining it. Make sure you use Title Case, and don’t capitalise all the letters. Then you can start writing the body of your paper.

Works cited

The MLA style makes use of a Works Cited list at the end of the paper. The list must be arranged in alphabetical order by each author’s surname. There’s a specific format for different types of works cited, such as books or websites, and you can look online for a comprehensive list of these different formats to make sure you write each of them correctly.


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