Your Ultimate Research Essay Formatting Guide

Research Essay Formatting

For many students who are just transitioning from their high school days, adjusting to the new form of writing in college can be a bit challenging. The reason is that they are used to the usual five-paragraph English essay that does not require them to master the usage of any of the established academic writing styles. The biggest challenge here is not per se the content, but rather, the way they format and present it to their tutors at college. If you are one of them, you have no reason to beat up yourself since we have provided this guide to help you to sharpen your skills so that you can master them. Read on to discover the best way you can utilize the MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago styles.

Research essay APA format

We start our guide with the APA format. When using this academic style, you will be required to abide by these instructions to format different parts of your papers.

  • Margins: It is mandatory to utilize them on every side of your essay and give them a single inch measurement from every side of your essay
  • Font size and type: Even though the Times New Roman is favored by this style, it is still right to use any other equally legible font like Arial or Calibri with a size of between 10 and12 points
  • Spacing: It is mandatory to use double spacing in all the sections of your papers. When you want to punctuate a sentence using commas or semicolons, it is mandatory to give it a single spacing. However, you ought to double space it after all the punctuation marks that end every sentence
  • Alignment and indents: You should align all your papers to the left to create an even right margin or flush them to the right
  • Using active voice: Initially, the active voice was forbidden in this style. However, modern trends in the world of academia have now allowed the use of the active voice. It is now allowable to use it in your formal presentations

Research essay MLA format

The MLA is a leading academic style when it comes to styling non-scientific papers. Here are the guidelines to abide by when formatting your essays using this style:

  • Printing of papers: When submitting a printed assignment, you should use white 8.5 x 11-inch sheets of paper
  • Spacing your lines: When spacing your essays, double-space all their sections
  • Font type and size: Write using legible fonts like the Times New Roman, 10-12 points large
  • Spacing after punctuation: Leave out a single space after every period unless your lecturer directs otherwise
  • Margins: Give all your margins a single-inch spacing on every side of your papers
  • Indenting: The style requires students to indent every opening line of their paragraphs with a 0.5 inch space from the left margin
  • Page numbering: The style requires you to number all your pages in the upper right-hand corners ½ an inch from the top using headers. You can only skip this requirement if your professor says so
  • Italics: Use them in every title of your essay’s titles when dealing with long works and when you have to emphasize some points
  • Endnotes: You are free to incorporate them in your papers but on separate pages before your references

Research essay Chicago format

You need to follow these rules when formatting your papers using the Chicago style.

  • Margins: You should give them a one-inch margin on every side
  • Fonts: The style requires the usage of formal fonts that are easy to read such as Times. Also, it is beneficial to make them between 10-12 points to facilitate legibility
  • Spacing: Double space your papers throughout
  • Indenting: When beginning your paragraphs, it is necessary to give them a ½ inch indent from the beginning of the pages
  • Justifying: Justify your paper’s text to the left
  • Numbering: Begin numbering your essays at their opening pages of your texts. Position your numbers at the top right corners of your essays
  • Printing the paper: It is advisable to confirm from your tutors before printing your papers on both sides

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Research essay Harvard format

These are the guidelines you will abide by when writing your essays using this formatting style.

  • Fonts: The preferred font of this style remains Times New Roman with a 10 to 12 point size even though you can still use other fonts as well as long as they are easy to read
  • Spacing your essay: The style requires you to double space all your texts except when making long citations where you can single space and indent them
  • Direct quotes: When quoting an author directly, you should distinguish the quotes with quotation marks
  • Bibliography: When drafting bibliographies, it is mandatory to list your sources alphabetically

Research Essay Writing Guide

Research essay citation

Before using any writing style, it is to your highest advantage to consult relevant style guides to ensure that you do everything as per its requirements. After settling for a specific writing style, you can now go forward and use it consistently in an entire paper.

Academic writing styles are some of the requirement you ought to adapt your writings to when you join college. By so doing, you will align yourself with the principles of academic writing and excel in your assignments as per the guidelines our guide has shared regarding APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago.