How To Format A Research Paper

The first thing that will hit your mind when you are assigned a research paper is the manner in which it should be formatted. Note that you must meet all the formatting requirements for you to be awarded the respective points in your overall GPA. It might interest you to know that formatting carries a significant number of points, hence the need to get everything right. In the interest of ensuring that your paper is adequately and rightly formatted, you need to identify and understand the key elements of the electronic or rather digital word processer. Note that you will be required to format your paper in a digital or printed format; hence, you will have to use Word Processor. Here are integral steps you must follow to rightly format your research paper:

Use Standard Font

It is highly recommended that you use standard font size when writing your research paper. In most cases, you will be required to use Times New Roman, as featured in your Word processor. Moreover, you must ensure that the font size is equally standard. In this case, it is recommended that the font size should be 12pt, especially when using Times New Roman. In a different case, you might be required to use Arial font type, whereby the size should be 11pt. Either way, it is your obligation to ensure that a standard font size and type is used.


It is important to note that all margins in your research paper are consistently formatted as per the respective academic requirements. In this case, a research paper should have 1-inch margins. In other words, the top, bottom, right, and left margins should be set at 1 inch, which should apply across the entire paper.

Spacing and Indentation

Line spacing is basically the space between one line and the other. In the case of a research paper, you will be required to apply the double-spacing feature. Word Processors usually have the double-space feature denoted as 2.0 or simply ‘Double.’ Make sure that all your content is double-spaced.

Aside from line spacing, you must ensure that your content is indented to the right by 0.5 inch. That is, the first line of every paragraph should be indented to the right. However, first-line indentation does not apply in the case of list of references. In this case, you will be required to apply the hanging indentation.


In a majority of cases, you will be required to apply a header on each page of your research paper. This depends on the style that you are required to use. There are instances whereby the header may not be required though. However, research papers meant for publication must have a header in all the pages. The cardinal element that should feature in the header section irrespective of style is the page number. All pages should be numbered at the top-right corner of your paper.

The List of References

Any research paper must feature information from secondary sources. This, however, does not mean that you should plagiarize your work. It is a cardinal requirement that you apply the respective acknowledgements to the authors of the sources that you used in the form of in-text citations and list of references. The list of references should be double-spaced and in hanging indentation. As usual, indentation should be ½ an inch from the left margin. Only the first line should be normal, while the following should be indented.