Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- Research paper
- Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates
Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates
Published on November 19, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 20, 2023.
The formatting of a research paper is different depending on which style guide you’re following. In addition to citations , APA, MLA, and Chicago provide format guidelines for things like font choices, page layout, format of headings and the format of the reference page.
Scribbr offers free Microsoft Word templates for the most common formats. Simply download and get started on your paper.
APA | MLA | Chicago author-date | Chicago notes & bibliography
- Generate an automatic table of contents
- Generate a list of tables and figures
- Ensure consistent paragraph formatting
- Insert page numbering
Table of contents
Formatting an apa paper, formatting an mla paper, formatting a chicago paper, frequently asked questions about research paper formatting.
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in APA Style are as follows:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial.
- Set 1 inch page margins.
- Apply double line spacing.
- If submitting for publication, insert a APA running head on every page.
- Indent every new paragraph ½ inch.
Watch the video below for a quick guide to setting up the format in Google Docs.
The image below shows how to format an APA Style title page for a student paper.
If you are submitting a paper for publication, APA requires you to include a running head on each page. The image below shows you how this should be formatted.
For student papers, no running head is required unless you have been instructed to include one.
APA provides guidelines for formatting up to five levels of heading within your paper. Level 1 headings are the most general, level 5 the most specific.
APA Style citation requires (author-date) APA in-text citations throughout the text and an APA Style reference page at the end. The image below shows how the reference page should be formatted.
Note that the format of reference entries is different depending on the source type. You can easily create your citations and reference list using the free APA Citation Generator.
Generate APA citations for free
A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper
Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!
Proofread my paper
The main guidelines for writing an MLA style paper are as follows:
- Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
- Use title case capitalization for headings .
Check out the video below to see how to set up the format in Google Docs.
On the first page of an MLA paper, a heading appears above your title, featuring some key information:
- Your full name
- Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
- The course name or number
- The due date of the assignment
A header appears at the top of each page in your paper, including your surname and the page number.
Works Cited page
MLA in-text citations appear wherever you refer to a source in your text. The MLA Works Cited page appears at the end of your text, listing all the sources used. It is formatted as shown below.
You can easily create your MLA citations and save your Works Cited list with the free MLA Citation Generator.
Generate MLA citations for free
The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
- Use 1 inch margins or larger.
- Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.
Chicago doesn’t require a title page , but if you want to include one, Turabian (based on Chicago) presents some guidelines. Lay out the title page as shown below.
Bibliography or reference list
Chicago offers two citation styles : author-date citations plus a reference list, or footnote citations plus a bibliography. Choose one style or the other and use it consistently.
The reference list or bibliography appears at the end of the paper. Both styles present this page similarly in terms of formatting, as shown below.
To format a paper in APA Style , follow these guidelines:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial
- Set 1 inch page margins
- Apply double line spacing
- Include a title page
- If submitting for publication, insert a running head on every page
- Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
- Apply APA heading styles
- Cite your sources with APA in-text citations
- List all sources cited on a reference page at the end
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:
- Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
- Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
- Center the paper’s title
- Use title case capitalization for headings
- Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
- List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end
The main guidelines for formatting a paper in Chicago style are to:
- Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman
- Use 1 inch margins or larger
- Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center
- Cite your sources with author-date citations or Chicago footnotes
- Include a bibliography or reference list
To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, January 20). Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved December 4, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/research-paper-format/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, apa format for academic papers and essays, mla format for academic papers and essays, chicago style format for papers | requirements & examples, what is your plagiarism score.
Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.
13.1 Formatting a Research Paper
- Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
- Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.
In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:
- AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
- APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
- Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
- MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
- Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines
While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.
If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.
Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.
Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:
- Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
- Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
- Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.
General Formatting Guidelines
This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.
These are the major components of an APA-style paper:
Body, which includes the following:
- Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
- In-text citations of research sources
- References page
All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.
The title page of your paper includes the following information:
- Title of the paper
- Author’s name
- Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
- Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)
List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.
The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.
In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.
Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.
Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.
Margins, Pagination, and Headings
APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.
Use these general guidelines to format the paper:
- Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
- Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
- Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
- Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
- Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.
Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:
- Your title page
- The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
- Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract
APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.
The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:
- Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
- Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
- The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
- The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
- The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.
Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .
Table 13.1 Section Headings
A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.
Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.
Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:
Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.
In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.
This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.
Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.
Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).
Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.
As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”
Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.
David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).
Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.
Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.
Writing at Work
APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:
- MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
- Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
- Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.
The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.
The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:
- The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
- The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
- The full title of the source
- For books, the city of publication
- For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
- For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
- For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located
The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)
In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.
- Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
- Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
- APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
- APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
- In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
- In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.
Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
Insights hub solutions
Uncover deep customer insights with fast, powerful features, store insights, curate and manage insights in one searchable platform, scale research, unlock the potential of customer insights at enterprise scale.
Engaging insights in minutes: launching five new features to speed up analysis
Built to scale: introducing video blurring plus four more features for security and collaboration
Dovetail in the details: 24 improvements to automate, tag, and share
Events and videos
© Dovetail Research Pty. Ltd.
How to format a research paper
7 February 2023
Writing a research paper can be daunting if you’re not experienced with the process. Getting the proper format is one of the most challenging aspects of the task. Reviewers will immediately dismiss a paper that doesn't comply with standard formatting, regardless of the valuable content it contains.
In this article, we'll delve into the essential characteristics of a research paper, including the proper formatting.
Make research less tedious
Dovetail streamlines research to help you uncover and share actionable insights
- What is a research paper?
A research paper is a document that provides a thorough analysis of a topic , usually for an academic institution or professional organization. A research paper may be of any length, but they are typically 2,000–10,000 words.
Unlike less formal papers, such as articles or essays, empirical evidence and data are key to research papers. In addition to students handing in papers, scientists, attorneys, medical researchers, and independent scholars may need to produce research papers.
People typically write research papers to prove a particular point or make an argument. This could support or disprove a theoretical point, legal case, scientific theory, or an existing piece of research on any topic.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of research papers is that they contain citations to prior research. Citing sources using the correct format is essential for creating a legitimate research paper.
- Top considerations for writing a research paper
To write a research paper, you must consider several factors. Fields such as the sciences, humanities, and technical professions have certain criteria for writing research papers.
You’ll write a research paper using one of several types of formatting. These include APA, MLA, and CMOS styles, which we’ll cover in detail to guide you on citations and other formatting rules.
Specific requirements of the assignment
If the paper is for a college, university, or any specific organization, they’ll give you certain requirements, such as the range of topics, length, and formatting requirements.
You should study the specifics of the assignment carefully, as these will override more general guidelines you may find elsewhere. If you're writing for a particular professor, they may ask for single or double spacing or a certain citation style.
- Components of a research paper
Here are the basic steps to writing a quality research paper, assuming you've chosen your topic and considered the requirements of the paper. Depending on the specific conditions of the paper you're writing, you may need the following elements:
The thesis statement provides a blueprint for the paper. It conveys the theme and purpose of the paper. It also informs you and readers what your paper will argue and the type of research it will contain. As you write the paper, you can refer to the thesis statement to help you decide whether or not to include certain items.
Most research papers require an abstract as well as a thesis. While the thesis is a short (usually a single sentence) summary of the work, an abstract contains more detail. Many papers use the IMRaD structure for the abstract, especially in scientific fields. This consists of four elements:
Introduction : Summarize the purpose of the paper
Methods : Describe the research methods (e.g., collecting data , interviews , field research)
Results: Summarize your conclusions.
Discussion: Discuss the implications of your research. Mention any significant limitations to your approach and suggest areas for further research.
The thesis and abstract come at the beginning of a paper, but you should write them after completing the paper. This approach ensures a clear idea of your main topic and argument, which can evolve as you write the paper.
Table of contents
Like most nonfiction books, a research paper usually includes a table of contents.
Tables, charts, and illustrations
If your paper contains multiple tables, charts, illustrations, or other graphics, you can create a list of these.
Works cited or reference page
This page lists all the works you cited in your paper. For MLA and APA styles, you will use in-text citations in the body of the paper. For Chicago (CMOS) style, you'll use footnotes.
While you use a reference page to note all cited papers, a bibliography lists all the works you consulted in your research, even if you don't specifically cite them.
While references are essential, a bibliography is optional but usually advisable to demonstrate the breadth of your research.
Dedication and acknowledgments
You may include a dedication or acknowledgments at the beginning of the paper directly after the title page and before the abstract.
- Steps for writing a research paper
These are the most critical steps for researching, writing, and formatting a research paper:
Create an outline
The outline is not part of the published paper; it’s for your use. An outline makes it easier to structure the paper, ensuring you include all necessary points and research.
Here you can list all topics and subtopics that will support your argument. When doing your research, you can refer to the outline to ensure you include everything.
Solid research is the hallmark of a research paper. In addition to accumulating research, you need to present it clearly. However, gathering research is one of the first tasks. If you compile each piece of research correctly, it will be easier to format the paper correctly. You want to avoid having to go back and look up information constantly.
Start by skimming potentially useful sources and putting them aside for later use. Reading each source thoroughly at this stage will be time-consuming and slow your progress. You can thoroughly review the sources to decide what to include and discard later. At this stage, note essential information such as names, dates, page numbers, and website links. Citing sources will be easier when you’ve written all the information down.
Be aware of the quality of your sources. A research paper should reference scholarly, academic, or scientific journals. It’s vital to understand the difference between primary and secondary sources.
A primary source is an original, firsthand account of a topic. A secondary source is someone else covering the topic, as in a popular article or interview. While you may include secondary sources, your paper should also include primary research . Online research can be convenient, but you need to be extra careful when assessing the quality of your sources.
Write the first draft
Create a first draft where you put together all your research and address the topic described in your thesis and abstract.
Edit and format the paper
Proofread, edit, and make any necessary adjustments and improvements to the first draft. List your citations as described below. Ensure your thesis and abstract describe your research accurately.
- Formatting a research paper: MLA, APA, and CMOS styles
There are several popular formats for research papers: MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). Certain academic papers use CMOS (Chicago Manual of Style). Other formats may apply to particular fields.
For example, medical research may use AMA (American Medical Association) formatting and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for particular technical papers. The following are the guidelines and examples of the most popular formats:
The humanities typically use MLA format, including literature, history, and culture. Look over examples of papers created in MLA format . Here are the main rules to keep in mind:
Indent new paragraphs 1/2 inch.
Title case for headings, where all major words are capitalized, as in "How to Write a Research Paper."
Use a popular font such as Times New Roman. This applies to all formatting styles.
Use one-inch margins on all sides.
Number sections of the paper using Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).
Use a running head for each page on the upper right-hand corner, which consists of your last name and the page number.
Use an in-text citation within the text, using the author's last name followed by the page number: "Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for" (Heller 155).
On the citations page, list the full name, book or periodical, and other information. For MLA, you will not need footnotes, only in-text citations.
List citations in alphabetical order on a separate page at the end of the paper entitled “Works Cited.”
Continuing with the above example from Heller, the listing would be: Heller, Joseph. Catch-22, Simon & Schuster, 1961.
For a periodical, the format is "Thompson, Hunter S. "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" Scanlon's, June 1970."
Use title case for source titles, as in "On the Origin of Species."
The sciences typically use APA format, including physical sciences such as physics and social sciences such as psychology. Simply Psychology provides examples of APA formatting . The following are the most important rules of the APA format.
Begin the paper with a title page, which is not required for MLA.
Use double-line spacing.
Use a running head for each page in the upper right-hand corner, which consists of the paper's title in capital letters followed by the page number.
The citations page at the end should be titled "References."
In-text citations should include the publication date: (Smith, 1999, p. 50). Note also that there's a "p" for "page," whereas in MLA, you write the page number without a "p."
As with MLA, use title case for headings, as in "Most Popular Treatments for Cognitive Disorders."
Use sentence case for titles of sources, as in "History of the decline and fall of the Roman empire." Note "Roman" starts with a capital because it's a proper noun.
When citing in-text references, use the author's last name and the first and middle initials.
Always use the Oxford comma. This comma goes before the words "or" and "and" in a list. For example, "At the store, I bought oranges, paper towels, and pasta."
Book publishers and many academic papers use CMOS formatting based on the Chicago Manual of Style. CMOS is also called Turabian, named after Kate L. Turabian, who wrote the first manual for this style. Here are examples of CMOS style formatting and citations.
Include an unnumbered title page.
Place page numbers on the upper right-hand corner of the page. Do not list your name or the paper's title as you would for MLA or APA styles.
Use title case for both headings and sources (same as MLA).
Unlike MLA and APA, the Chicago style uses footnotes for citations. Use a superscript for footnotes: "Smith argues against Jones' theory¹.” Footnotes may appear at the bottom of the page or the end of the document.
CMOS supports both short notes and full notes. In most cases, you'll use the full note: "Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin, 2006), 76." For further references to the same source, use a short note: " Pollan, Omnivore's Dilemma, 45." The requirements of some papers may specify using only short notes for all footnotes.
- General guidelines for writing and formatting research papers
Keep these guidelines in mind for all types of research papers:
As you create your first draft, don't worry about formatting. If you try to format it perfectly as you write the paper, it will be difficult to progress and develop a flow of thought. With the first draft, you don't have to be concerned about ordering the sections. You can rearrange headings and sections later.
Use automation tools for citations . Some useful tools make citations easier by automatically generating a citation list and bibliography. Many work with APA, MLA, and CMOS styles.
Check for plagiarism
Use a plagiarism detector to make sure your paper isn't unintentionally plagiarizing. There are many free and paid plagiarism checkers online, such as Grammarly.
Proofread your work
Do several rounds of editing and proofreading. Editing is necessary for any type of writing, but you’ll need to revisit several distinct areas with a research paper:
Check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Read the paper to make sure it's well-argued and that you’ve organized it properly.
Check that you’ve correctly formatted citations. It's easy to make errors, such as incorrect numbering of footnotes (e.g., Chicago style) or forgetting to include a source on your citations page.
Get started today
Go from raw data to valuable insights with a flexible research platform
Last updated: 21 August 2023
Last updated: 11 May 2023
Last updated: 11 September 2023
Last updated: 21 September 2023
Last updated: 6 October 2023
Last updated: 14 November 2023
Last updated: 19 November 2023
Last updated: 1 May 2023
Last updated: 25 November 2023
Last updated: 12 October 2023
Last updated: 10 April 2023
- A Research Guide
- Research Paper Guide
- Research Paper Format
- Short overview of style formats
Page setup and margins format
Font type and size format.
- Line and word spacing
- Numbering pages
- Title page format
- Table of contents format
- Abstract format
Body text formatting
- Titles of sources format
Supplementary materials formatting.
- Outline for your paper
- A final note
Short overview of style formats and research paper setup
- Title page;
- Headings and subheadings of sections (in each of them, the citation norms must be observed);
- List of literature.
How do you style and format a research paper?
Line and word spacing and paragraph indentation formatting.
- If a handwritten research paper is acceptable to your teacher, double-space all lines, and begin each paragraph with an indentation of 1″ from the left margin. Use the width of your thumb as a rough guide.
- If you use a typewriter or a word processor on a computer, indent 5 spaces or 1/2″ at the beginning of each paragraph. Indent set-off quotations 10 spaces or 1″ from the left margin.
- If you are NOT indenting, you will start each paragraph flush to the left margin. It is essential that you double-space between lines and quadruple-space between paragraphs.
Numbering pages of the research paper
Title page research essay format.
Table of contents
Science paper formatting of the abstract, titles of books, magazines, newspapers, or journals.
- The name of the author or group of authors who wrote the text of the book or source;
- Date of publication or year of publication;
- The full title of the book, article, or another source;
- City of publication of the source;
- Issue number and page where you got the information from;
- Site URL if you used internet sources.
- Text format: TXT, DOC, DOCX, or PDF
- Image format: JPG, TIF, PNG, GIF, PDF, PS, EPS or BMP
- Video format: MP4, MOV, WMV or AVI
- Audio format: MP3, AIFF, MOV (Quicktime Audio), RA (Real Audio), or WAV (Windows Audio)
Keeping essay together
How do you create an outline for your paper, how to write an outline for a research paper.
- The Introduction .
- The Conclusion .
A final note on your paper
- A quick overview or introduction of the topic or issue.
- The methodology being used.
- The thesis statement.
- A full review of every source used and the corresponding literature.
- A brief explanation of the relevance of the research.
- Detailed and thorough information about the main points of the argument.
- Use as many paragraphs as necessary. Each paragraph should represent a different point.
- Brief summary of the main points or facts mentioned in the body.
- Reiteration of the thesis statement.
- Closing remark or thought.
- Writing a Research Paper
- Research Paper Title
- Research Paper Sources
- Research Paper Problem Statement
- Research Paper Thesis Statement
- Hypothesis for a Research Paper
- Research Question
- Research Paper Outline
- Research Paper Summary
- Research Paper Prospectus
- Research Paper Proposal
- Research Paper Styles
- AMA Style Research Paper
- MLA Style Research Paper
- Chicago Style Research Paper
- APA Style Research Paper
- Research Paper Structure
- Research Paper Cover Page
- Research Paper Abstract
- Research Paper Introduction
- Research Paper Body Paragraph
- Research Paper Literature Review
- Research Paper Background
- Research Paper Methods Section
- Research Paper Results Section
- Research Paper Discussion Section
- Research Paper Conclusion
- Research Paper Appendix
- Research Paper Bibliography
- APA Reference Page
- Annotated Bibliography
- Bibliography vs Works Cited vs References Page
- Research Paper Types
- What is Qualitative Research
Receive paper in 3 Hours!
- Choose the number of pages.
- Select your deadline.
- Complete your order.
Number of Pages
550 words (double spaced)
Deadline: 10 days left
Sign Up for your FREE account
Home » Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates
Research Paper Format – Types, Examples and Templates
Table of Contents
Research paper format is an essential aspect of academic writing that plays a crucial role in the communication of research findings . The format of a research paper depends on various factors such as the discipline, style guide, and purpose of the research. It includes guidelines for the structure, citation style, referencing , and other elements of the paper that contribute to its overall presentation and coherence. Adhering to the appropriate research paper format is vital for ensuring that the research is accurately and effectively communicated to the intended audience. In this era of information, it is essential to understand the different research paper formats and their guidelines to communicate research effectively, accurately, and with the required level of detail. This post aims to provide an overview of some of the common research paper formats used in academic writing.
Research Paper Formats
Research Paper Formats are as follows:
- APA (American Psychological Association) format
- MLA (Modern Language Association) format
- Chicago/Turabian style
- IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) format
- AMA (American Medical Association) style
- Harvard style
- Vancouver style
- ACS (American Chemical Society) style
- ASA (American Sociological Association) style
- APSA (American Political Science Association) style
APA (American Psychological Association) Format
Here is a general APA format for a research paper:
- Title Page: The title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and your institutional affiliation. It should also include a running head, which is a shortened version of the title, and a page number in the upper right-hand corner.
- Abstract : The abstract is a brief summary of your paper, typically 150-250 words. It should include the purpose of your research, the main findings, and any implications or conclusions that can be drawn.
- Introduction: The introduction should provide background information on your topic, state the purpose of your research, and present your research question or hypothesis. It should also include a brief literature review that discusses previous research on your topic.
- Methods: The methods section should describe the procedures you used to collect and analyze your data. It should include information on the participants, the materials and instruments used, and the statistical analyses performed.
- Results: The results section should present the findings of your research in a clear and concise manner. Use tables and figures to help illustrate your results.
- Discussion : The discussion section should interpret your results and relate them back to your research question or hypothesis. It should also discuss the implications of your findings and any limitations of your study.
- References : The references section should include a list of all sources cited in your paper. Follow APA formatting guidelines for your citations and references.
Some additional tips for formatting your APA research paper:
- Use 12-point Times New Roman font throughout the paper.
- Double-space all text, including the references.
- Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
- Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches.
- Use a hanging indent for the references (the first line should be flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines should be indented).
- Number all pages, including the title page and references page, in the upper right-hand corner.
APA Research Paper Format Template
APA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:
- Title of the paper
- Author’s name
- Institutional affiliation
- A brief summary of the main points of the paper, including the research question, methods, findings, and conclusions. The abstract should be no more than 250 words.
- Background information on the topic of the research paper
- Research question or hypothesis
- Significance of the study
- Overview of the research methods and design
- Brief summary of the main findings
- Participants: description of the sample population, including the number of participants and their characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
- Materials: description of any materials used in the study (e.g., survey questions, experimental apparatus)
- Procedure: detailed description of the steps taken to conduct the study
- Presentation of the findings of the study, including statistical analyses if applicable
- Tables and figures may be included to illustrate the results
- Interpretation of the results in light of the research question and hypothesis
- Implications of the study for the field
- Limitations of the study
- Suggestions for future research
- A list of all sources cited in the paper, in APA format
- 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial)
- 1-inch margins on all sides
- Page numbers in the top right corner
- Headings and subheadings should be used to organize the paper
- The first line of each paragraph should be indented
- Quotations of 40 or more words should be set off in a block quote with no quotation marks
- In-text citations should include the author’s last name and year of publication (e.g., Smith, 2019)
APA Research Paper Format Example
APA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:
The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
University of XYZ
This study examines the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Data was collected through a survey of 500 students at the University of XYZ. Results suggest that social media use is significantly related to symptoms of depression and anxiety, and that the negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users.
Social media has become an increasingly important aspect of modern life, especially among young adults. While social media can have many positive effects, such as connecting people across distances and sharing information, there is growing concern about its impact on mental health. This study aims to examine the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students.
Participants: Participants were 500 college students at the University of XYZ, recruited through online advertisements and flyers posted on campus. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 25, with a mean age of 20.5 years. The sample was 60% female, 40% male, and 5% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming.
Data was collected through an online survey administered through Qualtrics. The survey consisted of several measures, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression symptoms, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety symptoms, and questions about social media use.
Participants were asked to complete the online survey at their convenience. The survey took approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analysis.
Results indicated that social media use was significantly related to symptoms of depression (r = .32, p < .001) and anxiety (r = .29, p < .001). Regression analysis indicated that frequency of social media use was a significant predictor of both depression symptoms (β = .24, p < .001) and anxiety symptoms (β = .20, p < .001), even when controlling for age, gender, and other relevant factors.
The results of this study suggest that social media use is associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety among college students. The negative effects of social media are greater among frequent users. These findings have important implications for mental health professionals and educators, who should consider addressing the potential negative effects of social media use in their work with young adults.
References should be listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. For example:
- Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: The impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121.
- Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among U.S. adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.
Note: This is just a sample Example do not use this in your assignment.
MLA (Modern Language Association) Format
MLA (Modern Language Association) Format is as follows:
- Page Layout : Use 8.5 x 11-inch white paper, with 1-inch margins on all sides. The font should be 12-point Times New Roman or a similar serif font.
- Heading and Title : The first page of your research paper should include a heading and a title. The heading should include your name, your instructor’s name, the course title, and the date. The title should be centered and in title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
- In-Text Citations : Use parenthetical citations to indicate the source of your information. The citation should include the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the source. For example: (Smith 23).
- Works Cited Page : At the end of your paper, include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources you used in your research. Each entry should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the medium of publication.
- Formatting Quotations : Use double quotation marks for short quotations and block quotations for longer quotations. Indent the entire quotation five spaces from the left margin.
- Formatting the Body : Use a clear and readable font and double-space your text throughout. The first line of each paragraph should be indented one-half inch from the left margin.
MLA Research Paper Template
MLA Research Paper Format Template is as follows:
- Use 8.5 x 11 inch white paper.
- Use a 12-point font, such as Times New Roman.
- Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper, including the title page and works cited page.
- Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.
- Use page numbers in the upper right corner, beginning with the first page of text.
- Include a centered title for the research paper, using title case (capitalizing the first letter of each important word).
- Include your name, instructor’s name, course name, and date in the upper left corner, double-spaced.
- When quoting or paraphrasing information from sources, include an in-text citation within the text of your paper.
- Use the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the punctuation mark.
- If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, only include the page number in parentheses.
Works Cited Page
- List all sources cited in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.
- Each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and medium of publication.
- Use italics for book and journal titles, and quotation marks for article and chapter titles.
- For online sources, include the date of access and the URL.
Here is an example of how the first page of a research paper in MLA format should look:
Headings and Subheadings
- Use headings and subheadings to organize your paper and make it easier to read.
- Use numerals to number your headings and subheadings (e.g. 1, 2, 3), and capitalize the first letter of each word.
- The main heading should be centered and in boldface type, while subheadings should be left-aligned and in italics.
- Use only one space after each period or punctuation mark.
- Use quotation marks to indicate direct quotes from a source.
- If the quote is more than four lines, format it as a block quote, indented one inch from the left margin and without quotation marks.
- Use ellipses (…) to indicate omitted words from a quote, and brackets ([…]) to indicate added words.
Works Cited Examples
- Book: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.
- Journal Article: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, publication date, page numbers.
- Website: Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Title of Website, publication date, URL. Accessed date.
Here is an example of how a works cited entry for a book should look:
Smith, John. The Art of Writing Research Papers. Penguin, 2021.
MLA Research Paper Example
MLA Research Paper Format Example is as follows:
Your Professor’s Name
Course Name and Number
Date (in Day Month Year format)
Word Count (not including title page or Works Cited)
Title: The Impact of Video Games on Aggression Levels
Video games have become a popular form of entertainment among people of all ages. However, the impact of video games on aggression levels has been a subject of debate among scholars and researchers. While some argue that video games promote aggression and violent behavior, others argue that there is no clear link between video games and aggression levels. This research paper aims to explore the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults.
The debate on the impact of video games on aggression levels has been ongoing for several years. According to the American Psychological Association, exposure to violent media, including video games, can increase aggression levels in children and adolescents. However, some researchers argue that there is no clear evidence to support this claim. Several studies have been conducted to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels, but the results have been mixed.
This research paper used a quantitative research approach to examine the impact of video games on aggression levels among young adults. A sample of 100 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 was selected for the study. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that measured their aggression levels and their video game habits.
The results of the study showed that there was a significant correlation between video game habits and aggression levels among young adults. The participants who reported playing violent video games for more than 5 hours per week had higher aggression levels than those who played less than 5 hours per week. The study also found that male participants were more likely to play violent video games and had higher aggression levels than female participants.
The findings of this study support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to note that the study only examined the impact of video games on aggression levels and did not take into account other factors that may contribute to aggressive behavior. It is also important to note that not all video games promote violence and aggression, and some games may have a positive impact on cognitive and social skills.
In conclusion, this research paper provides evidence to support the claim that video games can increase aggression levels among young adults. However, it is important to conduct further research to examine the impact of video games on other aspects of behavior and to explore the potential benefits of video games. Parents and educators should be aware of the potential impact of video games on aggression levels and should encourage young adults to engage in a variety of activities that promote cognitive and social skills.
- American Psychological Association. (2017). Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/violent-video-games
- Ferguson, C. J. (2015). Do Angry Birds make for angry children? A meta-analysis of video game influences on children’s and adolescents’ aggression, mental health, prosocial behavior, and academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(5), 646-666.
- Gentile, D. A., Swing, E. L., Lim, C. G., & Khoo, A. (2012). Video game playing, attention problems, and impulsiveness: Evidence of bidirectional causality. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(1), 62-70.
- Greitemeyer, T. (2014). Effects of prosocial video games on prosocial behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(4), 530-548.
Chicago/Turabian Formate is as follows:
- Margins : Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the paper.
- Font : Use a readable font such as Times New Roman or Arial, and use a 12-point font size.
- Page numbering : Number all pages in the upper right-hand corner, beginning with the first page of text. Use Arabic numerals.
- Title page: Include a title page with the title of the paper, your name, course title and number, instructor’s name, and the date. The title should be centered on the page and in title case (capitalize the first letter of each word).
- Headings: Use headings to organize your paper. The first level of headings should be centered and in boldface or italics. The second level of headings should be left-aligned and in boldface or italics. Use as many levels of headings as necessary to organize your paper.
- In-text citations : Use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources within the text of your paper. The first citation for each source should be a full citation, and subsequent citations can be shortened. Use superscript numbers to indicate footnotes or endnotes.
- Bibliography : Include a bibliography at the end of your paper, listing all sources cited in your paper. The bibliography should be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, and each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication information, and date of publication.
- Formatting of quotations: Use block quotations for quotations that are longer than four lines. Indent the entire quotation one inch from the left margin, and do not use quotation marks. Single-space the quotation, and double-space between paragraphs.
- Tables and figures: Use tables and figures to present data and illustrations. Number each table and figure sequentially, and provide a brief title for each. Place tables and figures as close as possible to the text that refers to them.
- Spelling and grammar : Use correct spelling and grammar throughout your paper. Proofread carefully for errors.
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Template is as folows:
Title of Paper
Name of Student
A. Background Information
B. Research Question
C. Thesis Statement
II. Literature Review
A. Overview of Existing Literature
B. Analysis of Key Literature
C. Identification of Gaps in Literature
A. Research Design
B. Data Collection
C. Data Analysis
A. Presentation of Findings
B. Analysis of Findings
C. Discussion of Implications
A. Summary of Findings
B. Implications for Future Research
B. In-Text Citations
VII. Appendices (if necessary)
A. Data Tables
C. Additional Supporting Materials
Chicago/Turabian Research Paper Example
Title: The Impact of Social Media on Political Engagement
Name: John Smith
Class: POLS 101
Professor: Dr. Jane Doe
Date: April 8, 2023
Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. People use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with friends and family, share their opinions, and stay informed about current events. With the rise of social media, there has been a growing interest in understanding its impact on various aspects of society, including political engagement. In this paper, I will examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, specifically focusing on how social media influences political participation and political attitudes.
II. Literature Review:
There is a growing body of literature on the impact of social media on political engagement. Some scholars argue that social media has a positive effect on political participation by providing new channels for political communication and mobilization (Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1996; Putnam, 2000). Others, however, suggest that social media can have a negative impact on political engagement by creating filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue (Pariser, 2011; Sunstein, 2001).
To examine the relationship between social media use and political engagement, I conducted a survey of 500 college students. The survey included questions about social media use, political participation, and political attitudes. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.
The results of the survey indicate that social media use is positively associated with political participation. Specifically, respondents who reported using social media to discuss politics were more likely to have participated in a political campaign, attended a political rally, or contacted a political representative. Additionally, social media use was found to be associated with more positive attitudes towards political engagement, such as increased trust in government and belief in the effectiveness of political action.
The findings of this study suggest that social media has a positive impact on political engagement, by providing new opportunities for political communication and mobilization. However, there is also a need for caution, as social media can also create filter bubbles that reinforce existing beliefs and discourage political dialogue. Future research should continue to explore the complex relationship between social media and political engagement, and develop strategies to harness the potential benefits of social media while mitigating its potential negative effects.
- Delli Carpini, M. X., & Keeter, S. (1996). What Americans know about politics and why it matters. Yale University Press.
- Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. Penguin.
- Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster.
- Sunstein, C. R. (2001). Republic.com. Princeton University Press.
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Format
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Research Paper Format is as follows:
- Title : A concise and informative title that accurately reflects the content of the paper.
- Abstract : A brief summary of the paper, typically no more than 250 words, that includes the purpose of the study, the methods used, the key findings, and the main conclusions.
- Introduction : An overview of the background, context, and motivation for the research, including a clear statement of the problem being addressed and the objectives of the study.
- Literature review: A critical analysis of the relevant research and scholarship on the topic, including a discussion of any gaps or limitations in the existing literature.
- Methodology : A detailed description of the methods used to collect and analyze data, including any experiments or simulations, data collection instruments or procedures, and statistical analyses.
- Results : A clear and concise presentation of the findings, including any relevant tables, graphs, or figures.
- Discussion : A detailed interpretation of the results, including a comparison of the findings with previous research, a discussion of the implications of the results, and any recommendations for future research.
- Conclusion : A summary of the key findings and main conclusions of the study.
- References : A list of all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to IEEE guidelines.
In addition to these elements, an IEEE research paper should also follow certain formatting guidelines, including using 12-point font, double-spaced text, and numbered headings and subheadings. Additionally, any tables, figures, or equations should be clearly labeled and referenced in the text.
AMA (American Medical Association) Style
AMA (American Medical Association) Style Research Paper Format:
- Title Page: This page includes the title of the paper, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and any acknowledgments or disclaimers.
- Abstract: The abstract is a brief summary of the paper that outlines the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions of the study. It is typically limited to 250 words or less.
- Introduction: The introduction provides a background of the research problem, defines the research question, and outlines the objectives and hypotheses of the study.
- Methods: The methods section describes the research design, participants, procedures, and instruments used to collect and analyze data.
- Results: The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and concise manner, using graphs, tables, and charts where appropriate.
- Discussion: The discussion section interprets the results, explains their significance, and relates them to previous research in the field.
- Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the main points of the paper, discusses the implications of the findings, and suggests future research directions.
- References: The reference list includes all sources cited in the paper, listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
In addition to these sections, the AMA format requires that authors follow specific guidelines for citing sources in the text and formatting their references. The AMA style uses a superscript number system for in-text citations and provides specific formats for different types of sources, such as books, journal articles, and websites.
Harvard Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title page: This should include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date of submission.
- Abstract : This is a brief summary of your paper, usually no more than 250 words. It should outline the main points of your research and highlight your findings.
- Introduction : This section should introduce your research topic, provide background information, and outline your research question or thesis statement.
- Literature review: This section should review the relevant literature on your topic, including previous research studies, academic articles, and other sources.
- Methodology : This section should describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including any data collection methods, research instruments, and sampling techniques.
- Results : This section should present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables, graphs, and other visual aids if necessary.
- Discussion : This section should interpret your findings and relate them to the broader research question or thesis statement. You should also discuss the implications of your research and suggest areas for future study.
- Conclusion : This section should summarize your main findings and provide a final statement on the significance of your research.
- References : This is a list of all the sources you cited in your paper, presented in alphabetical order by author name. Each citation should include the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and other relevant information.
In addition to these sections, a Harvard Style research paper may also include a table of contents, appendices, and other supplementary materials as needed. It is important to follow the specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or academic institution when preparing your research paper in Harvard Style.
Vancouver Style Research Paper format is as follows:
The Vancouver citation style is commonly used in the biomedical sciences and is known for its use of numbered references. Here is a basic format for a research paper using the Vancouver citation style:
- Title page: Include the title of your paper, your name, the name of your institution, and the date.
- Abstract : This is a brief summary of your research paper, usually no more than 250 words.
- Introduction : Provide some background information on your topic and state the purpose of your research.
- Methods : Describe the methods you used to conduct your research, including the study design, data collection, and statistical analysis.
- Results : Present your findings in a clear and concise manner, using tables and figures as needed.
- Discussion : Interpret your results and explain their significance. Also, discuss any limitations of your study and suggest directions for future research.
- References : List all of the sources you cited in your paper in numerical order. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the article or book, the name of the journal or publisher, the year of publication, and the page numbers.
ACS (American Chemical Society) Style
ACS (American Chemical Society) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
The American Chemical Society (ACS) Style is a citation style commonly used in chemistry and related fields. When formatting a research paper in ACS Style, here are some guidelines to follow:
- Paper Size and Margins : Use standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper with 1-inch margins on all sides.
- Font: Use a 12-point serif font (such as Times New Roman) for the main text. The title should be in bold and a larger font size.
- Title Page : The title page should include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the date of submission. The title should be centered on the page and written in bold font. The authors’ names should be centered below the title, followed by their affiliations and the date.
- Abstract : The abstract should be a brief summary of the paper, no more than 250 words. It should be on a separate page and include the title of the paper, the authors’ names and affiliations, and the text of the abstract.
- Main Text : The main text should be organized into sections with headings that clearly indicate the content of each section. The introduction should provide background information and state the research question or hypothesis. The methods section should describe the procedures used in the study. The results section should present the findings of the study, and the discussion section should interpret the results and provide conclusions.
- References: Use the ACS Style guide to format the references cited in the paper. In-text citations should be numbered sequentially throughout the text and listed in numerical order at the end of the paper.
- Figures and Tables: Figures and tables should be numbered sequentially and referenced in the text. Each should have a descriptive caption that explains its content. Figures should be submitted in a high-quality electronic format.
- Supporting Information: Additional information such as data, graphs, and videos may be included as supporting information. This should be included in a separate file and referenced in the main text.
- Acknowledgments : Acknowledge any funding sources or individuals who contributed to the research.
ASA (American Sociological Association) Style
ASA (American Sociological Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title Page: The title page of an ASA style research paper should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation. The title should be centered and should be in title case (the first letter of each major word should be capitalized).
- Abstract: An abstract is a brief summary of the paper that should appear on a separate page immediately following the title page. The abstract should be no more than 200 words in length and should summarize the main points of the paper.
- Main Body: The main body of the paper should begin on a new page following the abstract page. The paper should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins on all sides, and should be written in 12-point Times New Roman font. The main body of the paper should include an introduction, a literature review, a methodology section, results, and a discussion.
- References : The reference section should appear on a separate page at the end of the paper. All sources cited in the paper should be listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Each reference should include the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication information, and the date of publication.
- Appendices : Appendices are optional and should only be included if they contain information that is relevant to the study but too lengthy to be included in the main body of the paper. If you include appendices, each one should be labeled with a letter (e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.) and should be referenced in the main body of the paper.
APSA (American Political Science Association) Style
APSA (American Political Science Association) Style Research Paper format is as follows:
- Title Page: The title page should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, the name of the course or instructor, and the date.
- Abstract : An abstract is typically not required in APSA style papers, but if one is included, it should be brief and summarize the main points of the paper.
- Introduction : The introduction should provide an overview of the research topic, the research question, and the main argument or thesis of the paper.
- Literature Review : The literature review should summarize the existing research on the topic and provide a context for the research question.
- Methods : The methods section should describe the research methods used in the paper, including data collection and analysis.
- Results : The results section should present the findings of the research.
- Discussion : The discussion section should interpret the results and connect them back to the research question and argument.
- Conclusion : The conclusion should summarize the main findings and implications of the research.
- References : The reference list should include all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to APSA style guidelines.
In-text citations in APSA style use parenthetical citation, which includes the author’s last name, publication year, and page number(s) if applicable. For example, (Smith 2010, 25).
About the author
Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer
You may also like
Figures in Research Paper – Examples and Guide
Delimitations in Research – Types, Examples and...
Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing...
Ethical Considerations – Types, Examples and...
Research Paper Introduction – Writing Guide and...
APA Table of Contents – Format and Example
- Words with Friends Cheat
- Wordle Solver
- Word Unscrambler
- Scrabble Dictionary
- Anagram Solver
- Wordscapes Answers
Make Our Dictionary Yours
Sign up for our weekly newsletters and get:
- Grammar and writing tips
- Fun language articles
- #WordOfTheDay and quizzes
We'll see you in your inbox soon.
Basic Research Paper Format Examples
- DESCRIPTION Student doing research in library
- SOURCE PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images
- PERMISSION Used under Getty Images license
Formatting a research paper shouldn’t take more time than the research itself. Knowing the most important parts of a research paper helps you outline your paper quickly. It can also help to guide and frame your research. Follow the sample research paper outline here to get started.
Formatting a Research Paper
Before you start your paper, it’s important to know what style guide to use. Style guides regulate your paper’s typography, grammar, citation , and bibliography . Different fields use different style guides in their research studies.
The APA style guide, named for the American Psychological Association, is used in behavioral and social science research, including educational and psychological studies. Here are some basic tips for formatting an APA research paper.
- Paper should be on 8 ½ x 11-inch white paper, with 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
- Font is 12 point Times New Roman.
- Lines are double-spaced.
- Cover pages are required in APA papers and are center-aligned.
- Each page needs a left-aligned running header with the title of your study.
- Right-align page numbers at the top of each page, including the cover page.
- Indent the first word in each paragraph, except in the abstract.
- The title itself is not bolded, but individual section headings (e.g. Background, Methodology) are.
- In-text citations of other studies, reports, and articles include the author’s or organization’s name, as well as the year of publication.
Other Style Guides
The other two most prominent style guides are primarily used for liberal arts subjects:
- MLA Style (Modern Language Association)
- CMOS (Chicago/Turabian Manual of Style)
Other style guides are used for scientific and medical studies. These include:
- AMA (American Medical Association)
- CBE (Council of Biology Editors)
The style guides are similar in some ways, but have important differences as well. Your teacher or professor will typically tell you what style guide to use.
Parts of a Research Paper
Research studies begin with a question in mind. A paper that describes a particular study clearly states the question, methodology, findings, and other relevant information. Read below for descriptions and examples of research paper sections.
The main sections of a typical APA research paper include:
A more straightforward version of a research paper is the IMRAD format (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion). However, all of the following sections are typically present in a formal research paper.
Title or Cover Page
Just like any other paper you write, your research paper needs a cover page with your study’s title. It also needs your and any co-writers’ names and institutional affiliations (if any). Here is an example of a basic APA cover page.
The Effects of Food Insecurity on School Performance Kayla Yang and Nicole Brighton University of California, Davis
An abstract is a detailed summary of your study. It should include a broad overview of the paper, your research question, the significance of your study, methods of research, and findings. Don’t list cited works in the abstract.
Here is an example of an abstract for a paper on food insecurity.
Poverty affects more than 41 million Americans every day – most of whom are children. Food insecurity and undernutrition have a confirmed correlation to slower cognitive development for children under three years of age. Hungry children cannot form skills as quickly as their peers due to both deprivation of vital nutrients and poor concentration. But, there has been little focus on how these effects scale up in terms of school performance past kindergarten. Public schools have several programs in place to mitigate the problem of food insecurity, including free breakfast and reduced lunch. We surveyed 100 students at Arbor Elementary School over the course of one school year to see how effective these programs were in improving their academic performance and general contentment in school. The results of these surveys reveal how long children are academically affected by systemic food insecurity, even when their stomachs are currently full.
The introduction section tells the reader what problem your study is attempting to solve. You can address the study’s significance and originality here as well. Clearly state the research question in the form of a thesis statement.
Poverty and poor school performance are two problems that keep Americans from reaching their full potential. Alongside poverty is food insecurity, which affects millions of households – and children – every day. But could focusing on one problem help to solve the other? We wanted to find out whether programs designed to reduce food insecurity for targeted children would improve their school performance, and therefore, give them a more successful start in life.
What inspired you to take on this study? What has previous research stated or revealed about this topic? The background section is the place to add historical data or define previous theories that provide context for your study. It’s also a helpful place to consider your audience and what information they will need to understand the rest of your paper. Read on for an example of a paragraph from the background section of a research paper.
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of regular access to food due to one’s financial status. According to the Department’s report “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016,” 12.3 percent of American households, or approximately 41 million people, experienced food insecurity at some point in 2016 (USDA 2017). The Right to Food was included in the United Nations’ 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, while the Food and Agriculture Organization measures food insecurity on a scale from mild (uncertainty about obtaining food) to severe (no access to food for an entire day). (FAO 2019).
Knowing whether you used qualitative or quantitative methods is an important part of understanding your study. You can list all the ways you collected data, including surveys, experiments, or field research. This section is also known as “Materials and Methods” in scientific studies.
We used qualitative methods to gather data about students who may experience food insecurity. These methods included surveys with various questions that assessed whether students felt hungry, insecure about their next meal, and/or distracted from classwork due to hunger (Appendix A). The surveys were distributed to 100 students in fourth and fifth grade (10-11 years old) at Arbor Elementary School, 50 of whom were recipients of Title 1 funding via free and reduced lunch. The remaining 50 were a control group of students who were not identified as socioeconomically disadvantaged. The students completed these surveys at the beginning of the school year, then once every two months until the end of the school year, for a total of five survey periods.
What does your study find? State your findings and supply the data in this section. Use an objective perspective here; save the evaluation for your conclusion section.
The survey results indicated a strong correlation between school performance and food insecurity (Appendix D). Students who answered affirmatively in the surveys were consistently among the lower performing members of their class. Contrasted with their peers who were not identified as socioeconomically disadvantaged, these students identified anxiety about their next meal as one of the top three concerns in their minds. Their participation in programs like free breakfast and reduced lunch helped to assuage daily hunger and general happiness, but their concern over food insecurity remained.
Explain why your findings are significant in the conclusion section. This section allows you to evaluate results and reflect on your process. Does the study require additional research?
The problem with systemic food insecurity goes beyond distracting hunger for young students. Even after they’ve had a nutritious breakfast and lunch at school, concern over dinner was distracting from their school performance. The final survey period, taken just before the beginning of summer break, indicated how much food insecurity can dictate a child’s anticipation of a long period without school – and therefore, regular meals. Having a lower school performance later in life could place these children as future parents in food-insecure households, thus perpetuating the cycle. Solving the cyclical problem of poverty and school performance requires participation from all stakeholders, including schools, city governments, and state and federal legislation that works to move following generations out of the cycle.
If you have information that is too dense for the paper itself, include it in an appendix. Appendices are helpful when you want to include supplementary material that is relevant but not integral to the paper itself.
Appendix A Arbor Elementary School Survey Questions - September 2019 Did you have breakfast at home or at school this morning? Did you buy lunch or bring lunch from home this afternoon? Do you feel hungry now? What time of day is it hardest for you to concentrate? Do you know what your next meal will be? Do you ever worry about food? Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough food to eat at your house? Are you hungrier on weekends than on school days? Is it harder to focus on schoolwork when you’re hungry? Are there issues that are more important to you than food?
Sample apa research paper
Other parts of a research paper.
If you’d like to go into more depth than the sections above, consider including additional parts of a research paper.
- Limitations of Study: Found after the Introduction section, the Limitations of Study section lists any factors by which you limited your research. These can include age, location, sex, and education level. This section can also list the ways that your study was impacted by shortcomings such as limited resources or small sample sizes.
- Literature Review: The Literature Review section takes scholarly articles or books out of the Background section for a more focused investigation. You can usually find this section between Background and Methodology.
- Discussion: A more concentrated section for evaluating results is the Discussion section. This section is a helpful place to consider the process as a whole.
- Acknowledgments: This is a place to thank anyone who helped you complete your research. It can include colleagues, focus group participants, fellow researchers, mentors, or family members.
More Tips on Writing Research Papers
Now that you know how to structure your research paper, it’s time to find the perfect question to answer. Read our article on the differences between good and bad research questions so you’ll know what common pitfalls to avoid. No matter what you choose to research, you’ll be prepared!
- UGC-CARE Journals
How to Write a Research Paper? Research Paper Format
Research Paper Format
Table of contents
How to write a research paper, introduction, methodology, results and discussion, acknowledgment, how to write a thesis phd thesis format.
Writing and publishing a research paper is important for an/a academician, researcher, and scientist. Publishing the article in a reputed and high impact factor journal may fetch you a scholarship, funding to carry out R&D projects and makes your profile strong. Here, in iLovePhD you can find out everything you need to know to write an effective research paper with a sample research paper format.
The first step is to select your target journal before start writing your article. It could be easy to shape your manuscript according to the journal’s requirement, which would increase the chance of accepting your manuscript. After choosing your target journal, start reading the research papers relevant to your work, which are already published in that journal. This can help you to get an idea of the editor’s expectation and guide your writing.
Also Read: 6 Steps to Select a Right Journal to Publish your Research Paper
The strongest research papers generally have one or two strong points to make. The authors register those points powerfully with results and suitable evidence. ilovephd.com
Use clear and simple language which helps the reader to read and understand easily. Ensure that your present research work is unique and novel from already published works, though your concept is existing. Write your article with full confidence to give your reader certainty in your work. Relate your research with key work which is reported already and show how you are working to eliminate the research gap. Plan a logical sequence of the manuscript, and develop ideas succinctly and precisely.
The structure of the research paper is as important as the content itself and helps the reader to get a clear understanding of your work. The format of a research paper is presented below.
Good Research Paper Format
The title of a manuscript should indicate the theme of the research work. It should be clear, specific, and attractive to the readers to read the article.
- In addition to the title that grabs the reader’s attention, a well-written abstract is important.
- The abstract is what researchers/scientist reads first to identify whether the article is worth reading.
- It is suggested to rewrite the abstract after finishing writing the entire manuscript.
- Superfluous sentences and irrelevant statements should be eliminated.
- The authors must highlight the novelty of the work. The abstract should be focussing on the following points.
- What was investigated in the study (State briefly the specific objectives of the study)
- Why was it done
- How was it done
- What are the important findings of the study
- What is the significance of the study
The abstract can also be represented in a graphical format. Some journals mandate to submission a graphical abstract. The procedure to create a graphical abstract can be found in HOW TO CREATE GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT .
The keywords should be relevant to the work and it should be easy for the readers to search for the manuscript. Five to seven keywords are essential.
- The introduction should clearly address the significance and impact of the manuscript.
- The research on a particular area may be intensively published so that describing novelty is of significance.
- It should have a clear point regarding the advancement or improvement and a motivation to carry out the research work.
- Discuss the literature pertaining to the work and identify the research gap.
- The literature review should take into consideration the current state of the literature.
- Frame the objectives of the study clearly based on the research gap.
- It is suggested to write the introduction and conclusion last, once the skeleton of the manuscript becomes clear.
- The methodology should elaborate on how the research study was conducted.
- It includes experimental procedures/steps followed, preparation methods, instrumentation used, and formula.
- The readers should get a clear vision of how the research study was carried out by reading the methods section.
Also Read: How to get Published in High Impact Journals?
- The results and discussion section of any manuscript are discussed in detail the research findings.
- The discussion needs to be beyond the findings and emphasize more on the claims.
- The interpretations of the experimental results should be explained scientifically, and logically in line with fundamental science and principles.
- To support the findings, the results can be expressed in any format (plots, models, expressions, etc.).
- The results reported in your manuscript should be original, reliable, ad reproducible.
- The results obtained in the present study may also be compared with the results reported in the literature.
- It includes the summary of the research findings and the overall impression of the study.
- A good conclusion will complete the article’s arguments, research outcome, and further scope of studies.
- It should be strong enough to convince the researchers.
- Citing references in appropriate places in the paper is necessary and important to avoid plagiarism .
- When you cite a reference, make sure that you understand its relevance to your research work.
- The references should be listed at the end of the manuscript and each journal has its own referencing style.
The authors can submit a brief acknowledgment of any financial, instrumentation, and academic support received pertaining to research work.
Hope, this article helps you to learn how to write a research paper for your research work with a good research paper format.
11 Differences Between a Thesis and an Article
5 Types of Manuscripts- Journal Publications
- how to structure a research paper
- How to write a research article
- how to write research article pdf
- research article
- research paper structure
- research paper writing tips
- Structure of a manuscript
Indian Researchers Spent $17 Million in 2020 for OA Journals
Diary of a phd student, top 15 scopus indexed journals in english literature.
[…] The most common mistake done by many researchers in recent time is, hiring a writer to write a thesis or research manuscript. […]
[…] How to Write a Research Article? Good Manuscript Structure […]
[…] How to Write a Research Paper? Research Paper Format […]
[…] Also Read: How to Write a Research Paper? Research Paper Format […]
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
iLovePhD is a research education website to know updated research-related information. It helps researchers to find top journals for publishing research articles and get an easy manual for research tools. The main aim of this website is to help Ph.D. scholars who are working in various domains to get more valuable ideas to carry out their research. Learn the current groundbreaking research activities around the world, love the process of getting a Ph.D.
Join iLovePhD WhatsApp Channel Now!
Contact us: [email protected]
Copyright © 2019-2023 - iLovePhD
- Artificial intelligence
- Search This Site All UCSD Sites Faculty/Staff Search Term
- Contact & Directions
- Climate Statement
- Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Adjunct Faculty
- Non-Senate Instructors
- Psychology Grads
- Affiliated Grads
- New and Prospective Students
- Honors Program
- Experiential Learning
- Programs & Events
- Psi Chi / Psychology Club
- Prospective PhD Students
- Current PhD Students
- Area Brown Bags
- Colloquium Series
- Anderson Distinguished Lecture Series
- Speaker Videos
- Undergraduate Program
- Academic and Writing Resources
Writing Research Papers
- Formatting Research Papers
Research papers written in APA style should follow the formatting rules specified in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Most research papers that are written for psychology courses at UCSD, including the B.S. Degree Research Paper and the Honors Thesis, have to follow APA format. Here we discuss the formatting of research papers according to APA style.
How to Format a Research Paper in APA Style
For the most accurate and comprehensive information on formatting papers in APA style, we recommend referring directly to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Reputable online sources (e.g., the official APA Style website and the Purdue University Online Writing Lab’s guide to APA style) are also recommended.
According to the Publication Manual, the major sections and components of APA style research papers should adhere to the following guidelines. Note that how closely these guidelines are followed may vary depending on the course and instructor.
General Formatting Rules
- Papers should have at least 1-in. margins on all sides. 1
- All text should be double spaced . 1
- Times New Roman, 12 point font is preferred. 1
- All lines of text should be flush-left and should not be justified, except where noted in the Manual. 1
- The first line of every paragraph should be indented. Exceptions to the indenting rule are the Abstract, quotations, titles and headings, as well as Tables and Figures. 1
- Pages should be numbered at the top right, with the title page numbered page 1, the Abstract numbered page 2, and the text starting on page 3. 1
- An abbreviated title called the Running Head should be placed at the top of each page, flush-left in uppercase letters. 1
- Two spaces should be used after punctuation marks at the end of each sentence (in other words, there should be two spaces after the period that ends each sentence). 2
Formatting the Title Page
- The title should be typed in the upper half of the title page, centered, and with the first letters of all but minor words capitalized. 3
- The name(s) of the author(s) should be typed below the title and followed with the institutional affiliation(s) of the author(s). 3
- An Author Note should appear below the aforementioned items. The Author Note can have up to four paragraphs. These respectively describe the author(s)’ departmental and institutional affiliation, any changes in affiliation, acknowledgments, and contact information. 3
Formatting the Abstract
- The Abstract typically should not exceed 250 words. 4
- The Abstract should be placed on a separate page, with the label Abstract appearing at the top center of that page and followed by the text of the Abstract. 4
- The Abstract should not be indented. 4
Formatting the Main Body of Text
- The main body of text should begin on a separate page after the Abstract. 5
- It should begin with the Introduction section. 5
- The Introduction section should be titled with the title of the research paper and not the word “Introduction.” The title should appear at the top of the page, centered, and should not be bolded. 5
- The remainder of the text should be flush-left, with each new paragraph indented except where noted above (see General Formatting Rules ). 5
- Each of the subsequent sections of the paper should be prefaced with a heading. APA guidelines specify different heading formats (for more information on Levels of Headings , see below). 5
- The references section should begin on a separate page after the main body of text. 6
- It should begin with the word “References” placed at the top of the page and centered. 6
- All references should be listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the first author of each reference. 6
- All references should be double-spaced and should use a hanging indent format wherein the first line of each reference is flush-left and all subsequent lines of that reference are indented (with that pattern repeating for each reference). 6
- All references should use the appropriate APA reference format (for more information, please see the Citing References section of this website). 6
Levels of Headings in APA Style
As of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (released in 2010), the five possible levels of heading in APA-formatted manuscripts are: 7
- Level 1: centered, bold, on a separate line, and the first letters of all but minor words capitalized.
- Level 2: flush-left, bold, on a separate line, and the first letters of all but minor words capitalized.
- Level 3: indented, bold, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
- Level 4: indented, bold, italicized, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
- Level 5: indented, not bold, italicized, as a paragraph heading (the first part of a paragraph; regular text follows on the same line), and in lowercase letters ending with a period.
Depending on the structure of your research paper, some or all of the five levels of headings may be used. The headings have a “hierarchical nested structure” where Level 1 is the highest and Level 5 is the lowest. For example, you may have a research paper which uses all five levels of heading as follows:
- How to Write APA Style Research Papers (a comprehensive guide) [ PDF ]
- Tips for Writing APA Style Research Papers (a brief summary) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – empirical research) [ PDF ]
- Example APA Style Research Paper (for B.S. Degree – literature review) [ PDF ]
- Writing Research Paper Videos
- APA Style Guide from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- APA Tutorial on the Basics of APA Style
- EasyBib Guide to Writing and Citing in APA Format
- Sample APA Formatted Paper
- Sample APA Formatted Paper with Comments
- Tips for Writing a Paper in APA Style
1 VandenBos, G. R. (Ed). (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) (pp. 228-229). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
2 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 87-88). , 3 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 23-25). , 4 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 25-27)., 5 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 41-49). , 6 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (pp. 37-38, 49-51). , 7 vandenbos, g. r. (ed). (2010). (p. 62). .
Back to top
- Research Paper Structure
- Using Databases and Finding References
- What Types of References Are Appropriate?
- Evaluating References and Taking Notes
- Citing References
- Writing a Literature Review
- Writing Process and Revising
- Improving Scientific Writing
- Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Writing Research Papers Videos