Many young scholars in universities as well as students in college are passionate about doing research, but hate writing research papers. That sounds strange, since people are normally eager to share their thoughts and ideas (and social media is great proof of that). Yet the answer is simple: scientists are creative people, and they hate formatting as much as writers or painters.
You always have to think of such irrelevant things, like “Are research papers double spaced?” or “Are research paper titles underlined?” There are dozens of tiny details and if you miss something, you’ll be given a lower grade. Sounds rather discouraging, but here is some advice on how to master academic text formatting.
How to Format Easily
- Find the right format. There are two main types of academic text formatting—MLA and APA. Find out what is used in your educational institution. Though these two types have minor differences, it’s important not to mix them up.
- Take some time to carefully read the formatting instructions you will be using the first couple of times. Read thoughtfully and try to remember the rules. Yes, sounds hard and boring, but this will help you format you paper much faster, and easier.
- Before you start reading, it’s also useful to write out questions for which you want to find answers. One of the most popular, for example, is “Are research papers double spaced?” You may or may not write answers beneath the question, but this technique will help you to concentrate on the information you are looking for in the long list of formatting rules.
How to Check Your Formatting
Not every teacher will give you a lower grade for one minor mistake, but such people do exist. And it’s not only about the grade, but also about the impression. Just imagine the situation: you are applying to your dream college or for a scholarship, and you make a formatting mistake. It’s not that your chances are zero now, but you’ll ruin the first impression. If you are already scared, then find out how to avoid those tiny, annoying mistakes.
- Proofread your work several days after you have written it (or at least several hours after, if you are lacking time). If you have the opportunity, give it to someone else. You can be certain that this person will notice more mistakes than what you could find.
- Write a special formatting check-list. While going through the list, you can easily find things you’ve omitted. Also, it’s useful to have a list of things you’ve done wrong, especially when you commit them unconsciously. Here, it’s best to include correct answers to your questions. For example, this question: “Are research paper titles underlined?” The answer is “no.”
Note: While checking your paper’s format you should be concentrated. Find out How to Stay Concentrated When Writing a Research Paper from our article.
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