Understanding The MLA Dissertation Format: 8 Useful Tips

As you may already know the ML formatting style is largely used within the humanities and liberal arts disciplines and provides students with a standard system of formatting written works, making in-text citations, including footnotes and endnotes and creating a works cited page. If you are working on a project within any of these disciplines – no matter the length of the project – there are a few useful tips you should know about. Here are 8 of these tips you should know to understand the MLA style format for a dissertation:

  1. General Stuff
  2. Use a standard 8 ½ x 11” white paper for your document. Use a standard font set at 12 pt. Leave a single space after periods or other kinds of punctuation marks in a sentences. Indent each paragraph using the tab key (five spaces).

  3. Line Spacing
  4. All text in MLA is double spaced, except footnotes used within the text of your work.

  5. Dissertation Title
  6. Generally, documents in MLA do not require a separate title page, this kind of project, though, usually does. Place your title about a third down the page, centered and double spaced. Place your name immediately below this with the course information at the bottom of the page also centered.

  7. In-Text Citations
  8. All quotations and paraphrases should include a citation that includes the author’s name and page number in which the information is found. Put this information in parenthesis unless you include the author’s name in an identifying phrase within the sentence, in which case the page number is the only extra information to be included in the parentheses.

  9. Footnotes
  10. These should be placed within the text body on the same page as the notation. They should start two double-spaced lines (four lines) below the main text. Footnotes are single spaced but have a double space between each separate note. Use Arabic numbers throughout with each one corresponding to the same number used within the text.

  11. Endnotes
  12. Endnotes should go at the end of your work and before the works cited page. Use Arabic numbers throughout, each one corresponding to the same number used within the text. Endnotes should be double-spaced with the first line of each indented using the tab key (five spaces).

  13. Works Cited Page
  14. Your works cited should start one a separate page and marked by this title placed at the top center. List each resource alphabetically by author’s last name. Include all publication information including, title of work, publisher’s name, city and year.

  15. Section Headings
  16. You can use a number of different styles for section headings, but this standard one will always be correct: Use Arabic numbers (1.2.3…) Followed immediately by the section title. Sub-sections should employ a 1.1, 1.2., 1.3, etc. system.

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