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Research papers are assigned to students from the very middle school, through high school and in college; they become an essential part of the academic curriculum. To present a research paper, one must be aware of the format in which it has to be written, for not only the content of the paper, but the presentation also matters while being marked. It is to the student's credit if he can impress the reader with his style of writing as well as his effort in making the paper attractive with the correct usage of formatting options. Following are some points required to be kept in mind for research paper formatting:

· Margins

While laying out the format for research paper, leaving a minimum margin of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) is essential from the top, bottom, left and right of every page. This helps the page to be neat instead of being cluttered and is favourable to look at. For inserting page numbers, they should ideally be 1/2 inch from the top, flushed to the right margin. These settings can be easily adjusted by page formatting options available in any word document.

· Title Page

Not every research paper is required to have a title page but it makes the work appear professional as thus is recommended by many institutions. Usually, as the MLA Handbook prescribes, the title of the paper should be placed at the top, the subtitle just underneath it. Informative research paper topics help the grades to be in favour of the student. The author's name, professor's name, name of the institution and the submission date are to be written at the bottom, placed centrally. The page number is inserted at the top-right; if the teacher does not allow for page numbers on the title page, it may be omitted. Same applies for the running head which is placed at the top-left of each page.

If there is to be no title page, the first page of the paper should contain the name of the author, name of the professor, course code, name of the university and the due date in this order, followed by the title of the essay, flushed to the left. Sample research paper format for such a page:

Elizabeth Brown

Dr. Prof. Mellissa Townsend


St. Benedict's College

January 15, 2012


Some tips to be kept in mind while preparing the format for research paper:

· Page numbering and paragraphs:

In a standard research paper format, all pages should be numbered to avoid confusion for the author as well as the professor. As already mentioned, page numbers should be situated at the top-right corner of every page 1/2 inch from the top. Page numbers should be in Arabic numerical and should not be preceded by "Page", "P" or "Pg." or even closed by quotations, parentheses, asterisks or periods. The page number should simply be a number and never followed by a period.

Sometimes, if a paper is to be submitted via electronic mail, professors prefer if each paragraph is numbered such as [1] before the first paragraph and [2] before the second and so on.  A similar style should be maintained while aligning paragraphs and bullets. Either they should be all left-flushed, if not, equal space should be left from the margin for all paragraphs beginning and body. Bullets and numbering should also not have varying margins.

· Spacing:

Traditionally, in research paper formatting, the essay should be double-spaced between lines and paragraphs. There should be one space between words and sentences and after every punctuation mark. The choice of indentation is up to the author and should be consistent all throughout the paper.

· Names of person or books:

All the first letters of all the words in a proper noun should be capital. If abbreviation is used, the original name is required to be used at the first occurrence indicating its abbreviation. All pronouns, prepositions, articles and conjunctions within a proper noun, unless it is at the beginning, should be in the lower case. It is preferable if proper names are either in bold or underlined to highlight them.

· Ending the paper:

No special sign or word is required to indicate the end of the essay. A period after the last word is enough.

Research paper outline formats are easily accessible to everyone on various websites which are of great help to get a sample research paper format. Finally, while handing over the essay physically, it is advisable to do as instructed by the professor. Using ribbons, scented paper, spraying perfume or decorating the sheets with colourful paints is not at all encouraged and grades are deducted. Before the submission one must revise it thoroughly and rectify any minor mistakes for, after all, it is the research paper which will be judged and marked and will remain as a proof of one's own work.