Vital Things To Remember About The Format Of A Research Paper

Coming up with really good content with a lot of relevant supporting evidence is just one part of writing a great research paper. The other part, ensuring the document is properly formatted, is just as important and is the biggest reason keeping you from earning a top grade. Here are some vital things to remember about the correct format of a research paper:

Page Specifics

The most common research paper requirement is to use high-quality 8 ½” x 11” pages for single use. Generally use 1” margins all the way around. The only exception is the space used for page numbers which is generally placed ½” from the bottom or top margin.

Title Page Content

Having a title page isn’t always required but it is often a nice touch in assignments of these types. Put the title about one third of down the page, followed by your name. About two lines above the bottom margin add the course information, institution, and date.

Numbering Pages

There are several different styles for numbering pages; the most important thing is that you choose one and remain consistent throughout your document. Page numbers should be written in Arabic numerals (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.) and contain no fancy decorations. Don’t underline numbers or precede them with the words “Page,” “Pg.” or anything similar to this.

Line Spacing

Your entire work should be double-spaced in addition to having the 1” margin all the way around. This allows for more effective editing and revising, as well as makes it easier for your instructor to put in responses or comments.


Be sure to start each paragraph with a half-indentation (or five space) indentation from the 1” margin. Most writing programs have a preset tab feature that gets you to the right spot to start each paragraph.

Paragraph Justification

Never right justify your paper. In most cases, left justify is the standard accepted format, but in some cases a fully justify is acceptable for stylistic affect. However, it’s a good idea to check with your instructor before deciding on any one style or another.

Cited Works

When including resources like books, journals, websites, etc. it’s important that you put short quotations around material of three lines or less and include a block quote at material that is four lines or more. Be sure you also include the author’s name and page from the original resource.

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