Guidelines for Writing an MLA Research Paper with Secondary Sources

Many post-graduate and dissertation students, especially in the field of literature, will be required to write a research paper using the MLA style and with the use of secondary sources. The below are the rules that they have to follow to accomplish this task.

1. At the top left hand corner of the page you have to write down your name, the professor who is going to supervise your project, the name of the course that you have taken, and the date that on which the report has been prepared.

2. The title and the sub-title come next and these will have to be centred.

3. The opening lines of the report name the story and establish the context in which it has been written. A particular situation should be described in the content that would highlight the main theme of the story, and what the author had in mind when he wrote it.

4. Present tense should be used to describe the details of the story. Use words that would make it look like all this is happening in the current time.

5. Quotations from the story add credibility to the report. They help you emphasise a point and get your analysis across to the reader in a much better way. If you want to explain why the author took a certain stand in the story then having a dialogue spoken by one of the characters acts as a mirror to the thoughts and ideas of the author. Of course, it is essential that the proper citations are given, and the page numbers in which the dialogues were written is also given.

6. Towards the end of the report, the entire list of sources used should be given in the bibliography.

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