All research essays must be documented in certain ways in order to avoid plagiarism. Depending on the topic of your research and your field of study, you will have to use different styles of formatting. MLA, APA, and Chicago are the three most common citation formats and determine the way in-text citations or footnotes should be used, as well as the order of information in your paper.
Generally, speaking, there are two types of research paper: an argumentative research paper or an analytic research paper. Each requires a slightly different focus and writing style which should be identified prior to starting a rough draft.
Once you’ve gathered all your research, print it out (if it is an online source) and gather post-its or anything you need to mark notes in the books/magazines you are using. This step is very important: read through your research, take notes on what you think is important, and highlight key facts and phrases. Write directly on copies you’ve made, or use slips of paper tucked into pages to mark places of importance.
MLA format is typically used for literary research papers and uses a ‘works cited’ page at the end. This format requires in-text citations.
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